Cherish the work of those with The Pretty Me Tea Society

Published 4:29 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

Saturday, The Pretty Me Tea Society will hold its annual Ball, and like both others I’ve attended and to which I proudly belong, it will be magical.

Under the leadership of its remarkable founder, Hope Evans, it will present 11 of our girls to Vicksburg with a practiced critical intelligence, a collaborative work ethic and a lifetime of cultural habits and pursuits, this last of which is the contribution of our own Debra Franco whose own love of the arts is now transformed into their own.

Long before debutante balls and presentations become part of their expectations, these young women will have become practiced in the habits and lifestyles that then become the communities we want.

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Hope loves tea parties and has or hosts them where she lives. She owns an exquisite collection of teapots and sets all her own. And she passes this love on, not just in practice, but in habit too; not just in being, but in becoming as well. Many of the young girls she mentors have no other place than this to live apart from fast food and videos. Many have no practice in being served or serving others. You cannot do what you do not know. So in this void steps Hope, by name and otherwise.

You can’t imagine the fun I had eating out in public when I first found out that the proper and correct way to eat asparagus is with your fingers. While all the other “culturally deprived” folk in the restaurant around me were using knives and forks. It’s true. Look it up.

Some friends and I would go out and do this all the time. And I don’t even like asparagus. But the looks were worth the money.

Still, we value culture for a reason. It enables us to interact — and act together without assumed superiority or presumed inferiority. It makes our friends our peers. It puts us all on equal footing. It’s easy then to work together.

Teatime is like that. It invites collaboration over which disagreements may be settled or even sometimes sharpened. It invites laughter and discussion even in the disagreements. Its background is always beautiful. It’s always of the arts.

That’s what Hope and Debra are doing for these girls. Hope singularly finances the activities of her girls. She crowns them with tiaras, symbols of their grace and womanhood in a world largely indifferent to them. Debra gives them movements of grace and music that go with it. And conversation comes so readily with tea.

The Pretty Me Tea Society does all of these good things. And it does it for children, for girls, normally without access to any of those things.

Saturday those young ladies will be escorted by young men who are beginning to know their value, learning to treasure it, and seek it out.

Honored by parents and grandparents and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. as well. And Saturday by all of us.


Yolande Robbins is a community columnist for The Vicksburg Post.