Friday, March 7, 2014

Gloria and TRM explore footwear, envelopes and tea, always tea

"I would like to know you in the tropics," Gloria said to The Reading Man, "away from woolens and layers.  See your hands tucked into the pockets of linen pants, a collarless lawn shirt.  Would you wear espadrilles?"

"Even if I had to import them," he said.  "I consider them manly footwear.  Possibly eccentric yet still manly footwear."
Sara Midda watercolor of espadrilles from her charming "South of France - A Sketchbook."
Robert and Gloria sat in the shop's kitchen before she opened for the day.  He was on his way to the hardware store, tool kit set near the back door.  He had his reporter's notebook out, seeing how many house calls he needed to make that morning, then checking his pocket and finding that yes, his paperback DAVID COPPERFIELD was there.  Reading at the library that afternoon, come one, come all.  One thing he loved about the book was the way it erased dividing lines of age, education or circumstance.  He especially loved how it ensnared his heart with each reading as though it was the first time.

They reached a contemplation of other climes when TRM said he'd written to Jack Guscott at an address the friend had given for an estate in Darjeeling.  If he was off wandering about, they'd hold his mail, he'd said.  Mr. Apotienne showed Gloria the envelope, filled with an eclectic assortment of commemorative stamps for sufficient postage and enhanced with a color pencil drawing of James' tool box, highlighting the hammer.  "Illustrated envelopes seem to belong to another universe, not just another time," he said.  "Small anachronistic acts keep me on my toes."
Hand-illustrated mail by Sir Henry Thornhill.  Click on the "Send a card" link at the blog and you can share facsimiles of Sir Henry's envelopes with anyone who will appreciate his unique, delightful mail art.
"More Graham Greene than India," Gloria had said.  "'Our Man in Havana,' though perhaps sultry plantation days would call for a similar look.  Actually, and maybe I've carried it over from our aloha shirts, an island.  I would like to see you on a South Sea island.  My imagination might have overdressed you."

"Then we'll hope for another heat wave.  Costumes encouraged." 

To  his new job Robert took the shopping bag Gloria filled with cellophane packets of cookies and scones.  He thought he could see a boxed lunch beneath the sweets and mouthed a second, silent "thank you" after he thanked Gloria and said goodbye with a kiss on her cheek.  She was slow to close the door, watching after him as he stepped smartly into the foggy morning, a man about his work.

Footnote:  Not unlike Jack Guscott's fictional Teas of the World, Amazon (and I'm sure a number of other places) carries products from Steven Smith Teamaker.  A friend shared some Big Hibiscus with us.  It was fragrant, soothing and carried a subtle, spicy aftertaste.  In looking it up, I found the flavor called Bungalow 47, from which I borrowed some of Jack's travel details.


Kass said...

Lovely, charming.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. These people are my imaginary friends and essential self. xo

Antares Cryptos said...

Or merely an extension of your self.
I have tea shelf envy.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - Yes, I believe I am they, etc. A tea shelf deserving of envy. xo

Erin in Morro Bay said...

Espadrilles - to see them sprawled on the floor of the closet, waiting for warm weather, that siren call of sea breezes and sun kissed sand. Sara's illustration is a candy store view of all the colours and styles we could ever dream of.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - I cannot even remember how long I've had the Sara Midda book, the espadrilles being my favorite page. Then Gloria and TRM sauntered into my life, bearing gifts I could never have imagined. There is something more carefree and holiday-esque about espadrilles than sandals. I can't explain. Happily, I don't have to with you. xo