Saturday morning was crisp and bright, and I wasn’t sure my south Alabama body was going to be able to handle the shock of 14 degree weather. But Ashley reminded me that I wasn’t an 85-year-old woman who couldn’t leave the house because of the weather, so I bundled myself and the girls and we headed to our first estate sale.

Ashley grabbed breakfast and coffee for our little group and we were on our way to the big event by 7:45am. Quite a feat for us on a Saturday! Have you ever been to an estate sale? I hadn’t. I thought I was going to walk up to an enormous house, with antique furniture scattered all over the yard, and hordes of people lined up since dawn–trying to be the first to plunder through the mess, looking for the diamond in the rough. What I got (at this particular sale, anyway), was a lot of people crammed in a small house, with a little old woman (who I at first thought was the unfortunate owner of the home being plundered before her eyes) collecting money on the couch. I almost turned around and walked right back out, it was so heart-breaking.

I’d left the girls in the car eating their breakfast (don’t come arrest me), and I knew I should not stay inside longer than five minutes. I walked past the people pilfering through the poor woman’s CLOSET looking at her clothes (still hanging there like she was just on vacation), and headed straight back to the kitchen where I was met…by this:I have wanted one of my own for ever-so-long. A silver tea service. Every time I give a birthday party or host book-club, I borrow Ashley’s or Lauren’s. I’ve looked at them on-line. Tried e-bay, but they were all $500 or $600…and that was just way too much for such a little extravagance. So, I tucked the dream in the back of my mind for another day, until I was accosted by the site of this old girl.

There wasn’t a price tag, and I was scared to even ask. I just knew once they told me, I’d walk away disappointed again. I found someone official looking and asked the price. Are you ready for this? $125!!!!!!!! Tray and all!! Still I hesitated. “We don’t have the money. I shouldn’t spend it. My heart’s beating really fast. It’s William Rogers silver. I know it’s the real deal. I know it’s a great deal. All the tea parties we could have….Aggghhh” Finally, I just did it. I stopped thinking and just purchased. I even got up enough courage (through Ashley) to be a haggler and offer $100. The little old lady nodded her agreement to my price, and I felt like I was absolutely robbing her.

As I walked out to the car, bearing my purchase proudly in my hands, with a smile spread across my face, I heard loud squealing from inside the car. I quickened my step, worried something was wrong with my little breakfast eaters, but when I got the door open (somewhat awkwardly with such a big rattling tray) I saw it was Pace, squealing in sheer delight, “Is it ours?!” she asked. “All ours,” I grinned back. “Can we have a tea party?” “Absolutely!”

We made Ashley our guest of honor, since she was responsible for getting us all to the estate sale in the first place. Then we spent the drive home planning exactly what we would serve at our tea party. I bore her proudly into our home and set her down on the dining room table, at eye level with two happy little girls, so that they could really inspect the shiny new wonder. “Momma,” Pace said reverently, “can we sing Happy Birthday?” I smiled at my little mini-me. I knew precisely what she meant. It was her birthday, even though she was born many years ago. It was her first birthday in our family.

All three of us sang and laughed at the silliness of it all. Then we made our grocery list and headed out to procure the vitals. We made chicken saladAnd cut out our sandwich bread, since little ladies never eat crust 🙂We made our favorite fruit saladAnd what would a tea be, without scones?Sadly, our guest of honor was on call, and the hospital was more demanding than we were. So, when night had just dipped her mantle over our little home, we gathered at a tiny white table in a room filled with the baubles of childhood, and we had our tea by candlelight.I delighted in serving my closest friends on our very finest, and we welcomed our new tea service with a maiden voyage that was the best we could dream together.And I determined, it was worth every single one of those hundred dollars we spent.

16 Responses to “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’…and Night”

  1. Kellie says:

    You are so great! I have one almost identical (a wedding gift from Will's mom)- just cleaned it the other day b/c it sits out on a piece of furniture and tarnishes QUICKLY – but I wouldn't have it any other way. I've never used it, so sad to say – but you have inspired me to have a tea party with Emma Claire sometime THIS WEEK – I'm gonna do it – even though neither of us drink tea – we'll have lemonade in it!!!!

  2. Benzoo says:

    OK – I think i have only left a comment once but I have to leave a comment today . I LOVE THE TEA SET ! If you could hear me oohing and aahing at the pictures. I love the tea party with your girls. It reminds me of something out of Little Women. Enjoy your most wise purchase !

  3. Lauren says:

    How fun! I went to an estate sale Saturday too! Maybe it was the same one. However, I was there at 2:45 (it ended at 3) and everything good was gone already. It made me sad to see clothes and wigs and hatboxes for sale. And cleaning supplies and toiletries? And it smelled. Maybe next time I can find a jewel like yours!

  4. mitzi says:

    I am thrilled for you. I got mine about 2 years ago at Highlands Antique mall for about the same price and at age 50 whatever, felt like Pace. I love polishing it and using it. Great investment, in more ways than $$$
    Loved seeing you yesterday.

  5. ~mott says:

    Abby, I love happy endings! Glad you and the little ones went ahead with your special evening! Sorry your hubs couldn't join his precious little family! But there will be other times. I really enjoyed your narration of the evening. It was lovely!

  6. Lydia says:

    That is a wonderful find! YAY for you! It is completely worth your $100. The food at your tea party looks yummy too. Do you have a recipe for the scones??

  7. Jenny says:

    I LOVE old tea sets!! My sis gave me one as a wedding present and i just adore it. it sits on our dining room table year round! what a great find and a special treasure! The girls are just beautiful!

  8. Stephanie says:

    oh my goodness – what a find! this is all so lovely – i've already read the post twice. sigh.

  9. Natalie McGough says:

    Sounds like a fairy tale: )!! Your silver service set is really pretty and what a great deal. Will you send me the recipes for the scones and fruit salad…they looked yummy! Hope you have a great week!

  10. Konie says:

    Yes it is a BEAUTIFUL tea set, but even more BEAUTIFUL was the excitement you had WITH the little girls over going to the store with your list, preparing, and having your tea party with them:) I know you realized that THAT was your greatest treasure on Saturday:) A shining (and silver :):) memory:)

  11. Susannah says:

    I think that it so wonderful! The tea set…and the tea party with the girl! Delightful! 🙂

  12. The Mize Family says:

    I laughed so hard at this blog post…I know it wasn't supposed to be funny but just thinking what if I attempted this dainty tea party with Jonathan. Did you know we are having another boy too…my days of tea parties are still far off. I guess I can dream about soccer half times and orange slices…that's a boys tea party right?

  13. Carly Winborne says:

    oh, i'm so envious. thank you for putting together this post. what a fun day that was, lasting memories for sure. i want a silver tea service just as badly as you did. maybe one day…

  14. andi says:

    Oh it is so magical to be a little girl at tea. You have given the gift of magical whimsey to them Abbey!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!! Fine china and silver are the pretties in our day to day that make it special.

  15. Kat says:

    That is the deal of the decade! I love how excited your girls were. I collect antique tea cups and saucers, I would love to add an antique tea service to my collection.

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