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Laurie Nienhaus

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Brimming with More Than Tea
by Laurie Nienhaus   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, January 13, 2008
Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2008

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Cringing at the Bag
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How far should a collector go?

   Collectors are a passionate lot. They also have a rather warped sense of space, leading them to believe that "there's always room for one more." Collectors of salt and pepper shakers may lead the pack in this regard (and granted, the deceiving diminutiveness of the S&P shaker must shoulder some responsibility here), but the teapot collector runs a close second.

   As founder of The Ladies' Tea Guild, I've heard through the grapevine that the name of our organization has been thrown about by husbands wailing as the space around them begins to close in, or brim if you will, with teapots. Presumably the conversation begins something like this: "Before you joined that x#/*√ Ladies' Tea Guild, there wasn't a x#/*√ teapot everywhere I turned!" It's always so amusing to hear of another's excesses. 

   However, this subject came up in my own household just the other day when my daughter dryly mentioned, "It's looks like you're decorating with teapots."

  "Don't be silly," I replied. "It's not décor. I use all my teapots." The fact that I had just poured her a strong cup of Assam from my newest acquisition I felt only lent weight to my position.

   "Have you looked around lately?" she countered. "I think you must have over sixty."

   "I'm sure there's no more than 30…or so. More tea?"

   Later I decided a head count was in order and had to move through four different rooms, past three lengthy shelves and along thirteen different surfaces before arriving at a complete tally. I was as aghast as if a teabag and a cup of tepid water had been thrust at me. There were sixty-two, some of which had yet to see hot water and a tea ball. It did, indeed, seem excessive.

   I then recalled, with a decided measure of guilt, that when my son had moved into his own apartment only months ago, he had asked if he could take one of my teapots with him. As generous as I had been with my dishes and towels, my pots and pans, and a number of others things that technically belonged to my husband, I visibly shuddered at his request. You'd have thought I'd been served a tea sandwich slathered only with Miracle Whip. I had faltered a moment before finally suggesting that perhaps a mug and a new package of disposable tea filters would be a better choice for a young man starting fresh.

   What kind of mother couldn't honor such a simple request from her first born? Who on earth needed sixty-two teapots? Clearly I had a problem. But how had I come to this? I prided myself on my moderation and I certainly wasn't one to purchase teapots wily-nily. Yet here I was with more teapots than one woman could possibly need.

   Over a cup of tea - always the best time to ponder upon any dilemma - I decided the best way to right my limping sense of style and to clear my own conscious would be to do something constructive with my teapots. I sat stirring my tea, lost in thought and forgetful of the fact that clanking your teaspoon against the inside of your teacup is terribly rude. I remembered my manners and hit upon an idea at the same time. Perhaps my local library would be interested in a display. Better yet, maybe libraries all over the country would be interested.

   A traveling exhibit. What a fabulous idea! After quickly jotting down a few notes, I moved to my computer to discover how best to transport a large number of teapots.

   It took only one mouse click for my plan to crash about me like so many dropped teacups. All of Google's links led to The Artful Teapot, which was, sadly, a traveling teapot exhibit owned by a California couple, the Kamms. The exhibit had finished early in 2006 after a five-year tour. 

   Who were these people who stole my thunder?  A second mouse click took me to their website. The Kamms were the proud and unabashed owners of over 10,000 teapots - many of which were completely non-functional. 10,000!!! Here I was with merely sixty-two and feeling badly about it. For heaven's sake, I wasn't even in the game! I poured myself yet another cup of tea and went straight to E-Bay.

   There are currently seventy-nine pages of teapots on Ebay. I'm now the current high bidder on no less than twelve pots.

   I've also left a message on my daughter's cell phone telling her I'm leaving her a legacy and pointing out that one cannot, in all fairness, be accused of decorating with teapots until a teapot wallpaper border is slapped upon the wall. 

   I'm simply a passionate collector...whose husband is mumbling something incomprehensible even as I write. 

   He's hanging another shelf.


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Reviewed by Connie Faust
This is a delightful teatime tale! Although I am a tea-drinker since childhood, I own a mere three teapots. However, I have one tiny tea set, and about nine teabag holders. I love your little story for its humor, the very believable attitudes of daughter and husband, and for your sipping tea throughout, which has made me very thirsty to go and have a cup of tea.
I want to welcome you to Authors' Den, even if I am a little late.
If you care to read some other tea writings, I have some tea poems on my den: Teatime - Just Right! - Teatime with Jesus
I'll be back for more of your tea another day.

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