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Letter to the editor

May 29, 2010

Annual Girls Tea a wonderful day at the Miller House Garden



To the editor:

The fifth annual Girls Tea, sponsored by the Washington County Historical Society, took place on a blustery Saturday, May 8. A surprise awaited the girls immediately when the butler for the day, Mr. Roger Fairbourn, greeted them at the door attired in a tuxedo. The 37 guests, some first-time attendees and others who have enjoyed the tea for the past four years, mingled in the front parlors, admiring each other's lovely, colorful spring dresses.

Mrs. Susan Peterson welcomed all the girls, and introduced them to Miss Maryland, Ms. Brooke Poklemba, the only attendee in a crown. Mr. Fairbourn also greeted everyone, and informed them about the historic place where their afternoon would unfold. The guests then were split into groups to participate in three activities.

Each year, the girls have the opportunity to make a lovely floral creation. This year was no exception. Mrs. Denise Pennington demonstrated how to make a tussy-mussy, and then the girls made one of their own from beautiful pink tea roses, daisies, babies' breath and greens. The beribboned nosegays made a wonderful gift for the girls to take home to their mothers for Mother's Day.

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Mrs. Crowell-Smith, back by popular demand, instructed the girls in a dynamic, arm-swaying, leg kicking, "disco swing." Girls partnered with each other to dance to "Dancing Queen." The youthful participants were stepping out, and rocking the Miller House to Abba's lively rhythm. No doubt, the familiarity with the musical "Mamma Mia" made for some lively moments as everyone bopped joyfully to the music.

To the girls' great pleasure, Miss Maryland provided an informal lesson on pageant etiquette. Brooke told the girls of her experiences winning the title and honor of Miss Maryland and competing in the Miss America pageant. She said that the pageants are far more than beauty contests; they are about talent. She urged each girl to articulate one of their talents and something special about themselves. She then turned the Miller House dining room into a pageant runway, and each girl strode gracefully, yet energetically around the room, and stopped at the end to strike their very best pose. After demonstrating her own "silly" talent, which was a comic imitation of Elle from "Legally Blonde," she sang to the girls with her incredible voice the song with which she won the judges' hearts in qualifying for Miss Maryland.

The afternoon was coming to a close as the girls filed in to the picturesque Miller House Garden for a cup of tea. The tables in the garden were wonderfully ornamented with flower arrangements donated by the Assembly Club. Mrs. Flossie Murdock, Mrs. Susan Peterson, Mr. Bill Beard, Mrs. Jan Rinehart and Mrs. Katie Hershey provide the sweets and sandwiches. Mrs. Tracey Bowman and Mr. Roger Fairbourn worked tirelessly to make sure that everyone had a full cup of tea or lemonade, and plates of sandwiches and cookies. While some of the girls chose to sit and chat, others went to go get their picture taken with Brooke, as well as try on her crown and sash. Before the girls left, Miss Maryland sang an a capella song from her repertoire. It was a beautiful ending to a marvelous day.

For many of the eighth-graders in attendance, myself included, it was a little bittersweet, since it was our last tea at the Miller House. I hope that I will be able to attend as a volunteer for next year's tea party.

Cate Hershey, 13
Keedysville

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