I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge one of my huge supporters, Barbara Walker. Barbara and I have shared our love for the way of tea for more than 30 years. She and I studied with Minako sensei for 20 years, before she passed away. We help each other with Chado presentations, classes and she is my substitute teacher when I am out of town. And she is an excellent Shokyaku.
Working with Barbara is like having someone who can read my mind. I’ll tell you a story: We put on a chakai for Minako-sensei’s seven year memorial. The first seki was supposed to be at 10:00. We were going to meet at 8:00 am to prepare the tea house. Barbara was bringing most of the special utensils we had picked for the occasion. She also was bringing the sweets.
I arrived at the Japanese Garden tea house a little after 8:00 am and started cleaning. I put on the hot water, swept, mopped and wiped down the mats. 8:30 no Barbara. I hung the scroll and arranged the flowers. I put out the tsukubai and watered the garden. 9:00, still no Barbara. I unpacked the furo, and filled the kettle with hot water, 9:15 and no Barbara. I wiped down the koshikake machiai. Guests were due to arrive in 20 minutes.
Finally at 9:30 Barbara arrived with the utensils and the sweets. The two of us got to work unpacking, arranging, filling, preparing and had everything else ready for the chakai in time to greet our first guests. Not a word was spoken between the time she arrived and the final “Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu” before she opened the door to the tea house and stepped into the garden.
This wonderful lady with a true tea heart, donated to Issoan Tea School kaiseki dogu that had previously belonged to Minako-sensei. She wanted my students to be able to use these things and pass on to them some part of Minako-sensei. Thank you Barbara, we all appreciate everything you do. We will use these things and think of both you and Minako-sensei. She would be proud to know how well we work together and support each other.