PHIDELLIA'S TEAHOUSE AND ANTIQUES
121 Peel St
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tues-Sat
There, you're here, but it was inevitable
that we would rewrite the plan. Loose leaf tea
has such allure, pulling us from our table
at Phidellia's. Those shelves are as giddy
as girls, all dolled up and flaunting cups. Blends
pester affectionately, brood like sisters
seeking attention. You sniff jars, find a friend
in Sweet Almond, but a look almost lists
for I've dwelled overly long on Alcott
and we haven't yet touched on Millay, Sapho
or Bronte! Two a-mused by more than pots.
"You see haiku. Well, I see Meg and Jo-"
"-Love, Et Cetera," You tease, such soft praxis,
so I kiss those cheeks with tender ekphrasis.
It was so hard to leave Waterloo ... Heaven was there... Distinctly Tea, a shop which offered hundreds of wonderful blends and quality black loose leaf tea. They had originally been in an old Victorian House that had been converted into two shops and a restaurant. The tea shop was tiny, then, but shoppers enjoyed the creak of the old wood floors and we’d chat with each other as we’d seek new treasures. The fact that we would at times literally bump into each other was part of the charm. The new shop is in a posh new condo… lovely yes, larger, yes, but so much character was lost.
But low and behold, the town of New Hamburg actually has a wonderful tea shop. Though the selection is slightly less than Distinctly Tea, Phidellia’s is the stuff of dreams for tea connoisseurs. It has more than character. It has an air of the magical. Think CS Lewis and a certain wardrobe type of magical
Phidellia’s is in a heritage building and from the moment you walk through its doors, time doesn't just stand still, it moves backwards. On a recent trip there, I was in a rush. The proprietor gave me the kindest, calmest look and gently tut-tutted me with a "One simply does not rush in a tea shop." How wonderful…. How completely wonderful.
This vintage photo show's the owner's mother-in-law, Phidellia, as a very young girl. The shop is named for and after her These personal touches are seen everywhere
There are small tables, wearing proper attire of course, white linens and dainty cups. Above hang real chandeliers. Antiques and other delights share space with jars of tea. Hello, bliss, where have you been?
About Debbie Guzzi
Debbie is the older sister I was not born with but was blessed to find…and adopt.
We have that honest connection which means… (see her eyebrow? It just went up) … we don’t see eye to eye on everything, can lightly spar on occasion and would step in front of a barreling train to save the other. We celebrate the big and small things, worry about each other and we chat off and on soup.
Debbie is a poet in the truest sense. I truly think that she wakes, goes about her day and all she does is with poetry. She explores a variety of forms, easily, but free verse speaks the language of her heart. Haiku is almost an act of faith, for her, and she treats the form reverently, seeing in it more than verse, but a culture. She has studied with one of the masters of the form for some time now, happily.
Debbie carefully edits her work… seeks perfection with everything that she writes She takes advice, gives advice and loves to share what she has picked up in all her years of writing. Teaching is one of her passions, as many soupers know.
Her verses usually involve more than one sense. The sense of smell, taste, touch are often a part of her works, not only the two more commonly used, sight and sound.
She has created her own form, The Et Cetera, which is a form that involves writing the first stanza and then using the words from that stanza to create the stanzas which follow, in a kind of brainstorming, free verse extravaganza. If you’re a fan of free verse, try on a Et Cetera and you’ll soon see what I’m talking about. You are creating your own inspiration… best way I can explain it.
About my poem
I wanted to start off playfully, somehow toy with the idea that she is, in a sense, always near by, but there is so much physical distance between us. This is why I began the sonnet, There, you’re here. Also, we tend to mother each other (lol) in a there, there, it will all get better sort of way.
Inevitable means it was inevitable that she and I would meet. And it is inevitable that one day we will meet face to face.
Rewrite…lol… I could not write a poem for Debbie without including this word. As I mentioned, she is harder on herself than anyone else.
I wanted to stress how we are like true sisters, become as giddy as schoolgirls, on occasion. And like all sisters, we expect more from each other, I think. What she says is important to me and carries a different weight than a new acquaintance…
I made sure to put in the sense of smell and if this had been a free verse poem, I would have focused more on this aspect. Sweet Almond is lovely blends, here, one I recently purchased since my favourite blend, Winter Punch, was not available.
I can’t think of a single woman writer who as a girl, having read Little Woman, didn’t imagine herself Jo. And yet we truly have a little of each character in us… Jo, the impetuous, Beth, the sweet, Meg, the motherly and Amy, the romantic. As a teen, I often wished I was one of the Bronte sisters, as hard and tragic as their lives were.. I’d wondered what it would be like to write beside someone, in comfortable silence and then share that story… Now, I have that! Here on Soup!
Millay, I admit, was snuck into this sonnet because I love the way she wrote them. She’s one of my favorite classic poets.
I am so enjoying these sonnets… I am happy writing them. Completely happy.
Hugs and love, Cyndi
A special thank you to the owner of Phidellia's for letting me snap photos at my leisure in his shop
all the above pictures were taken by yours truly
I was careful to not take pictures of the tables, as charming as they were, as patrons were enjoying scones and tea