Melinda Meador proposing a toast to the women who have become like Knoxville sisters to her.
Melinda Meador turned 60 earlier this year and her friend Sheena McCall offered to have a party for her. Sheena was thinking Melinda would like a cocktail party in Sheena’s stunning Cherokee Boulevard home.
But Melinda surprised her. She asked, instead, for a Sunday afternoon tea party. So that’s what Sheena arranged — for about 50 of Melinda’s girlfriends.
The day was beautiful — just what one would want for a tea party. It was one of the first warm spells we had this year, and Sheena loaded the living and dining areas with tons of colorful flower arrangements. All the food was hand prepared by some of the guests. And it was delicious. A piano player provided background music on Sheena’s big baby grand.
After folks had indulged in the repast and taken their fill of tea (and Port wine and sherry), everyone gathered in Sheena’s sunroom for a champagne toast to Melinda. And Melinda responded with one of her own.
“I didn’t have any sisters,” Melinda said. “I only have a brother. And mother was an only child herself. So I have always wondered what it would be like to have sisters.”
Melinda said that wherever she has moved in her adult life, she has managed to acquire a circle of women friends that fulfilled the role she imagined sisters would occupy. “And you,” she said, “are those women to me now.
“Here’s to sisters!”
It was a sweet toast and a sweet afternoon.
Sheena McCall’s fabulous home high on a hill on Cherokee Boulevard.
Sheena and her beloved dog, Caledonia (Callie, for short), welcoming guests.
Melinda and her mother, June Meador, who was visiting from West Tennessee.
Margie Nichols had a fantastic hat!
The table was loaded down with perfect accompaniments for tea.
Like these finger sandwiches.
These cookies reminded us that Easter was just around the corner.
Nora Robinson looked great in her hat.
So did her sister, Ellen Robinson, left, with Jackie Wilson, center, and Susan Sgarlat Fels.
Margaret Samples and her daughter, Annie.
Mr. Teapot, the star of the show. (Except for Melinda, of course.)
Tea cozies doing their job — keeping the tea warm. Melinda orders her tea from the company mentioned on the left cozy — Fortnum & Mason in London.
A plethora of pretty cups.
And dainty plates with cloth cocktail napkins.
Carol Pierce helped with the tea service.
Ellen poured Port.
Sheena has a great picture window view of Cherokee Boulevard and beyond.
Mickey Mallonee with Margie.
Melinda with her daughter-in-law, Sara Blair McNally, and granddaughters, Lucy, left, and Josie.
Jennifer Holder, left, and Gay Lyons.
Jennifer got the prize for best shoes!
Marnie Page, left, and Robyn Askew.
Sometimes you just gotta sit down! That’s Margaret Samples on the left.
Kim Trent, left, and Julia Bentley.
Cupcakes and flowers. Perfect.
Another beautiful arrangement.
Geoffrey Dean making perfect music for the occasion.
It was a lovely start to spring in Knoxville. Now, I find myself asking, “When’s the next tea party?”
I want those teacups. Beautiful!
Alan: They were GREAT hats, weren’t they? There’s just something about them that is so festive.
Maria: They were awesome teacups!
It was such a lovely day, and the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of a new era in my life. Thank you, Cynthia, for being part of it. And thanks to all my friends who could be there. It made turning 60 a breeze! I just wish we had a photo of your own stunning hat. It was the best!
Thanks, Melinda. What a great idea to have a tea party! A perfect way to greet a new season – in the weather and in life.
The green teacups and plates were hand painted by my mother, Agnes McCall, and she would have loved Melinda’s birthday tea. Thank you, Cynthia, for giving us such a special memory of the day.
Oh, wow, that’s awesome, Sheena. They are beautiful. What a wonderful keepsake. Great party! Thanks for hosting. Great start of spring. And great way to ease our friend Melinda into her own new season. Hopefully, the best ever.
What a sweet. lovely party. Privileged to be part of the sisterhood.
Happy Birthday Melinda!
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