On a small boat in the middle of Cayuga Lake, in the middle of October, I am drinking tea with my friends. In real china teacups. With saucers. We are a motley crew: me and my friends, Barb and Liz, and their fathers and one daughter, not mine. I no longer have a father or a daughter. At this moment it is easy to pine over this. But I’m the only one of the three of us with a living mother. And, I remind myself, my son comes home from Afghanistan in two days. Still, I watch the fathers sitting together and can’t help but think how my own father would have fit in perfectly. How my own daughter would have loved to be out on the lake in October.
The boat gently rocks as Barb pours the hot gourmet-blended tea into fragile cups with floral designs. It is our second annual teatime honoring the memory of her mother.
“These are lemon apricot scones from Collegetown Bagels and chocolate chip scones from Greenstar,” says her daughter, passing two bags around.
“To mom,” we all toast.
For a minute I wonder what I am doing here. I never even met my friend’s mother. I’m the only one without a relative on the boat.
But everyone here knows loss. Along with good and bad times, we build rituals into our individual life patterns to share the memories of the ones we lost. Today it feels like fathers and daughters are being shared too. I joke with the fathers and try to photograph the red fox the daughter points out on the shore.
Clouds rolling over the sky hide the sun. I am having teatime in the middle of the lake in October because of the twists and bends my life path has taken. And because of the good friends I have found along the way.