I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my biggest supporter, my husband Mr. Sweetpersimmon, (AKA Craig) This is for all the unsung ways that he has allowed, supported and assisted me to pursue my passion of Chado.
I suppose he might be like other tea widowers who do the myriad of tasks to assist me to do what I do. From helping to load and unload the car before and after demonstrations to adjusting my obi before I go off to an event. He is always there to wash dishes, peel beans for sweets and drive me to and from events. He also stays at home to take care of things as I go jet off to yet another tea anniversary event or trip to Japan.
He has put the kettle on when I am late preparing for class, and helped me clean up afterwards. Three times a week he gives up our house and parks himself in the den with headphones on so as not to disturb my classes. On class evenings, he is considerate enough not to cook dinner with onions and garlic so the house doesn’t smell before and during class.
Beyond that, he never quibbles when I tell him I need a new utensil, nor how much it costs. He never complains about all those lonely weekends when I am involved with tea demonstrations, kagetsu classes, koshukai and tea events. He doesn’t even complain when I travel to tea events alone, even though he would like to travel with me to new cities and places because he knows that I won’t be sightseeing with him, but networking and drinking tea the whole time.
Recently, on our vacation to Canada, he asked me, don’t you have a tea friend in Ottawa? Would you like to spend a few days to visit with her? While he knew that probably he would end up reading as my friend and I would spend hours and hours talking and doing tea things.
This man understands my passion and is not jealous of how much time, effort and attention it takes to pursue it. Before we were married, he took two years of Chado study so he could understand what it was. He learned about the Chado aesthetic, so he could give me gifts that make me swoon (my very first chaire and a complete chabako set, to name a few).
Because he is a woodworker, he trained and applied himself to build things for me: A portable ryurei table set that folds up into two cardboard boxes and takes 10 minutes to set up and tear down, a unique tana with hidden compartments, a paulownia chabako that he had my calligraphy teacher write poems of the 4 seasons on it, and a furosaki byobu with unique “rain foot” decorations on it. He has also given up the linen closet and built extra shelves on both sides so I could cram more utensils into it.
He is also interested in the process, the preparation, and the practice of tea. He will remind me to write a thank you note after a chakai, or if it is time to buy more beans to make bean paste. He will do the laundry 2-3 times a week for mizuya towels and help me hang them to dry. He will take messages from students and teachers and check to make sure I have seen them. And he often asks me if I have written a blog for the site. “Your fans need to hear from you,” he says.
And in the most recent act of love and support, he spent more than 2 years, designing and building a beautiful tea room for me. It had such thoughtful features as easily accessible storage under the floor, mood lighting for the tea room and more storage in the cleverly designed closet. As one guest put it, “It is a love letter to Margie.
For everything you have done and do to support this passion that makes me whole, a heartfelt thank you.