This Farm-Girl goes to Olympia ~
For those of you who are new readers, I’m Terry, owner and caretaker of Willowbrook Manor English Teahouse and Farm Stay. This is my ‘dance’ edition of The Willowbrook Word!
You are getting this email because you either signed up for this newsletter, made a reservation at Willowbrook Manor, are a friend of mine, or are a follower of my mother, author Liz Adair, who has her own corner here in The Willowbrook Word. There is a giveaway at the end of each newsletter so make sure to read to the end. (If any pictures come to you sideways click on the link at the top of the page to view this in your browser.)
Lobbying for Funding ~
This past month I was voice for small tourism businesses here in Washington State. It was my first time to visit the offices of our state representatives and senators as I joined forces with state and local tourism agencies and their affiliates.
I began with a full basket and throughout the day was able to share a bit of my story and Willowbrook loose-leaf tea.
As the chamomile mint tea was passed through office, I heard a voice say, “I was there last Saturday!”
I turned to see a familiar face. Samantha attended Seeding and Tea, our spring fundraiser for the Skagit Friendship House. I was amazed that my small farm was already known in one corner of the capital building.
Seeding and Tea ~
Thanks to the many volunteers who served tea and helped guests plant chamomile seeds into propagating trays. Kjaisa, Brandon, Marylou and Jeanie were the Willowbrook crew and Jen, Alex and Andrew were from Skagit Friendship House.
I was glad to learn that Andrew Vander Stoep is running for Mount Vernon City Council. He carries the essence of a public servant. From serving tea in a lovely pink apron to washing the seemingly never ending dishes, his help was invaluable.
Three things made Seeding and Tea especially sweet for me:
First, beautiful people came to my home for tea. Second, we were united in the purpose of helping the hungry and homeless. And third, I honestly loved that there was no monetary gain for Willowbrook. It was simply a feel-good day of tea and community.
Tea and Tulips ~
A great way to celebrate the coming of Spring is with Tea and Tulips at Willowbrook Manor. Some of our tea sessions are already full so get your reservation in soon. Click HERE to reserve your table.
The Tulip Festival Gala ~
This coming Saturday is the Skagit Tulip Festival Gala at the Swinomish Casino and as this year’s board president I invite you to come!
This year’s theme is ‘Swing into Spring’. It is a time to dress up, enjoy great food, and dance the night away to big band jazz.
For those who have always wanted to learn to swing dance, the gala is offering complimentary pre-event dance instruction to the first forty people who sign up.
We have brought in award-winning dance instructor Michael Kielbasa to guide you through the basics of East Coast Swing before the gala begins.
I have taken lessons from Michael. He is an incredible dance instructor and a wonderful person. Click on his picture to view his video invitation to this event.
Michael made an instructional video. Click HERE to practice at home!
Get your Tulip Festival Gala tickets HERE, and let me know if you are coming, so I can look for you!
Dance as Therapy ~
I have often said that doctors should prescribe Lindy Hop for grief-therapy.
I signed up for dance lessons as a diversion from the tears following the demise of my marriage. I chose Lindy Hop because it looked like great exercise, and you can’t be sad moving your body to big band jazz!
Dance is a language all on its own. Once you learn the basic steps and the rules of lead/follow, the rest is self expression and play. It is such a healthy form of recreation.
Dance carried me through my journey of grief.
I asked my mom (Liz) to share a dance story from her memoir entitled No Town Girl which will be coming out later this year.
So here is Liz:
Liz Sez ~
I’m so glad I grew up in the southwest in the era when learning to dance was one of the social norms. I think the 1960s—when “do your own thing” was the motto and people no longer embraced while they danced—was a real disservice to civilization.
Nowadays, when I watch a contemporary movie, and the hero and heroine dance—as they always do in a romantic moment—and I see them shuffle aimlessly from one foot to another, it totally destroys the mood. This is romantic? I’ll tell you what’s romantic. It’s Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, cheek to cheek, gliding across the dance floor, him leading, her following. Bound together by the music and their mutual magnetism, it’s an incredibly powerful, romantic moment.
When I was twelve and living in Palmer, Alaska, an Arthur Murray dance instructor drifted up from New Jersey. No doubt seeking adventure, he ended up working at Kosloski’s, Department Store. Parents of my brother, Ron’s, classmate got wind of it and hired him to teach weekly dance instruction to their son’s eighth-grade friends in their unfinished basement.
Though I was in the seventh grade, I got to tag along with Ron. Mother paid the five-dollar-each fee for us to learn the fox trot, waltz, tango, and swing. I don’t think my mother could have invested in anything that has given me more pleasure in my life.
Ron and I did lots of practicing and dancing for fun at home. We were big Glen Miller fans and would dance to “In the Mood” and “Pennsylvania 65,000.” When we went home to New Mexico to visit relatives, at least one night we’d spend in the ballroom at Aunt Elizabeth’s nightclub. She always had a live band, and country music is so easy to dance to. We were in such great sync that friends would ask us to dance together so they could watch.
I was grateful that I didn’t have to give up dancing for love. Derrill is a wonderful dancer, and though he doesn’t do the tango, he’s got all the others covered.
Dancing makes the years fall away. As the body grows frail and balance becomes a problem, two together in dance mode can prop each other up and become a stable unit. Add music and movement, and when you lean in to dance cheek to cheek and close your eyes, you’re not eighty anymore. I used to say that about sex—about age becoming immaterial—but there comes a time when age is very much material. Dance remains as the surprising, years-shedding blessing in a senior-citizen’s life.
Back to Terry…
The winners of of this year’s tulip poster puzzles are: Heather W from Roscoe, TX and Avanelle C from Nashville TN. I have to include Nancy’s limerick about puzzles:
I love a good tea, I can guzzle
While I happily work on a puzzle
With Tulips in Spring
Oh, what joy it can bring
In the tulips, my nose, I must nuzzle!
To the winners of last month’s giveaway, I haven’t forgotten about you, I just haven’t made it to the post office yet, too much galavanting. Will get there this week!
Liz’s Apron Giveaway ~
It’s time to give away three Spider Latham aprons! My mom’s (Liz) Spider Latham series are cozy murder mysteries with an edge. She has been compared to Tony Hillerman. (Click HERE for info.)
To enter to win a Spider Latham apron click HERE. And make sure to include a little note to let me know how you are doing.
Wrapping Up ~
I have a very special video clip to share with you to finish off this dance-themed newsletter. The quality is poor but the feeling is sweet. It is from Christmas of 2015 when all of my six kids were under my roof as well as my mom and dad. We were all making food in the kitchen on Christmas eve, big band jazz coming through the speakers. My folks started to cut a rug in the kitchen! It made a special memory.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end! Im grateful to have you as part of my newsletter family. I especially love hearing from you.
Sending lots of love from Willowbrook Manor.