Monday, April 22, 2013

Saying Good-bye to Nova Scotia's Queen of Hearts

Rita MacNeil
Arms outstretched in welcome
Looking like the down-home royalty she was, in her gorgeous red frock!

In just under 15 minutes,(2:00 pm EST) folks back home will bid their fondest farewell to Rita MacNeil at St. Mary's Church in Big Pond Nova Scotia.  I am there in spirit.  It is just so hard to say a final good-bye to her  but given all the music she has left us, I suppose we don't have to, thankfully.



She embodied all that we as Nova Scotians hope the world sees in us; honesty, humility,  a passion for hard work, respect for others, love for family, community, a good ceilidh , and the ability to let down our hair, kick off our shoes and testify to the goodness of God! One news report noted that Rita's cremated remains have been put in a white teapot that bears her name.  It seems appropriate and I think she would have smiled demurely and loved the simplicity of it. Something tells me it might even have been her idea! A woman after my own heart, was our Rita!

In my research over the past few days, I came across an on-line video of a young Rita, perched on a rock at a beach somewhere ( I am assuming a Cape Breton beach) singing away like the song bird she was, accompanied by a lone guitarist.   It was truly something to hear, not the Rita of her famous later years, (her beloved voice tempered by experiences, many of them painful and heartbreaking).  The vibrato was  untempered, the quality na├»ve, youthfully hopeful, and full of potential.  A beautiful, buxom lass,  her dark hair in two braids, her complexion like polished porcelain, and always the shyness reflected there, but not as yet OUR Rita. Ah, girl, you aged well m' dear and we all were the better for it. 
Thank you, generous lady, for sharing your life and your beautiful music with us.  We were hungry and you gave us bread, we were thirsty and you gave us drink.  God has noticed.  Rest now in the bosom of your beloved homeland, you queen of Nova Scotia's heart.  RIP Rita.                  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Farewell Rita! Saying Goodbye to An East-Coast Legend and a Canadian Icon.

I received news today that Rita MacNeil died yesterday in Sydney, Nova Scotia, not far from her beloved home of Big Pond, Cape Breton. 

It was one of those moments when your reality shifts and is never the same again.  Rita, gone!  I took the news like I had lost a dearly beloved friend, and I guess that in a way I did



The Celtic lilt of Rita's voice was hauntingly beautiful. It poignantly bespoke the brokenness we all share.    It chronicled the disappointments, longings and triumphs of a life of  inner struggle and hard work. She sang from her heart and testified to her honest truth; she was happiest in the place where she drew her first breath and her last. 

As an expatriate Nova Scotian I was moved to tears each time I heard her sing of our beloved province. A passion for the rugged shores of our east coast homeland was a cherished obsession that we held in common.  It bonded us as sisters even though we never met officially.  Knowing that she had not only managed to make it home, but was well-beloved there, I pray that I will one day do the same.  I have often thought that if it happened for Rita, it might just happen for me someday.  Here's hoping.

"Drop by for a cuppa tea.  The kettle is always on!"  This common Nova Scotian  invitation was  one which Rita took to heart with great success. Several years ago, Eric and I stopped by for a cuppa at Rita's Tea Room while in Cape Breton visiting with Eric's recently widowed mom.  It seemed not at all unusual that the grand dame was there that day, greeting patrons, having her picture taken with all and sundry and chatting amiably to anyone who approached her.
I viewed the scene, feeling great affection for this gentle soul, but chose not to impose upon her myself, as like the great lady, I suffer at times with shyness.  I trusted there would be another time, but of course now there won't be; however I have no regret.  It seemed right at the time, it still does and  I wouldn't change a thing.  I loved her and enjoyed her company from afar; my awkward conversation would have gilded the lily. 

Farewell sweet lady.  I miss you already. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Healing Tea Cup




A beautiful cup and saucer filled to "just below the brim" with a steaming spot of splosh contains a balm for the spirit and the body, regardless of the type of tea it cradles.  Oh, when will I learn to turn to this simple act of healing when in the midst of my life's many stresses and strains? Slowly, slowly the realization dawns upon me.  It is MY choice to embrace the healing which will lead to a  beautiful and creative life , and nothing and no one can keep me from it but myself.   "Calm down, dear one, make yourself a cup of tea and think on good things." says the friend who truly knows and loves me.  God, who loves beyond all measure, says it in another way if only I would heed the call of Scripture.
".... whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8).  
For me there are  few better postures in which to ponder this sagacious principle than sitting comfortably with a  teacup in hand, sipping a full-flavored tea and abandoning myself to worshipful thoughts of our wonderful God who has filled this life with many honorable, lovely and commendable realities to focus our rapt attention upon. Even in the midst of all that is wrong in my life, when I view things from this blessed vantage point, I am inspired to look beyond the insignificant ugliness.   I am strengthened to strategically plan  how I can be part of the solution to whatever upsetting circumstance is vexing my soul and body.  I am emboldened to respond lovingly to whatever life hands me and not to merely react in fear or anger.- 

-copy write Darlene Rose Hominick  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An Inadvertent Embarassment of Riches


Footed Cup & Saucer Set in the First Love pattern by Paragon
First Love by Paragon


....A Steaming Spot of Splosh from a Gleaming Silver Teapot
into An Old Country Rose Cup!  What a delight!

Wedgwood Royal Homes of Britain

My Newest China !  The Royal Homes of Britain by Wedgewood

When my husband Eric and I announced our intention to marry some twenty years ago, we were not exactly your average engaged couple.  While all of our friends had married at relatively young ages, I was 36 and Eric was nearly forty when we "tied the knot".  I felt pressure to be "mature" about our wedding plans, so we had a small, simple ceremony and a minimalist wedding reception that was nice but not in any way extravagant. Even though I loved dishes, I didn't choose a china pattern and didn't put our name on a wedding gift registry.  I felt that all that "hooferah" was meant for younger couples and might be construed as inappropriate for people of our advanced years.  I don't know where I got these silly notions, and had I to do it over again, I would throw caution to the wind and indulge in whatever nuptial celebratory fancies  we might take a shine to.  However, I married the man of my dreams and have no intention of trading him in for a younger, richer or more handsome model and I suspect he feels the same way about me, so that ship has definitely sailed. My desire to "act my age" meant that we started off our married life with very few material possessions.  However, as we look forward to our 19th wedding anniversary this coming July, I am grateful that we have been blessed with not only a strong marriage but with a great many beautiful "things" along the way, not the least of those including not one but THREE beautiful sets of dinner china!

 I can't explain why in my mid forties my preferences changed so drastically, but for whatever reason, be it altered taste, or just missing my mom, I fell in love with Old Country Roses  with inexplicable passion.  I was over the moon when at Christmas time Eric gifted me with a setting for four, including dinner, bread, and side plates, cups and saucers and rimmed soup bowls.  I received the self same set the next Christmas giving me a setting for eight, and the teapot, creamer, sugar bowl and coffee pot followed shortly thereafter.  For our fifteenth wedding anniversary my dear friend, June gifted us with a matching platter, and I have picked up a few smaller pieces here and there at garage sales and second hand stores.  To my mind I was all set.  I used my OCR for special occasions like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Birthdays.  Determined that they would not just sit and look pretty I also used them to serve afternoon tea to friends, or even when I was by myself sipping a solitary spot of splosh over the reading of a good book.  What I soon realized is that the using of my OCR made the occasion, whatever it might be, special and memorable for my guests as well as for me, so I used it more and more, and to date, have yet to break or chip any of it.  In fact I was told by a friend who knows a lot about these things, that using china makes it stronger, because as the dishes are washed , they are hydrated and made more durable. She encouraged me to use my China at least three times a year, and I am committed to do so, both to enjoy and protect them.

Two years ago a friend arrived at my door with several cardboard boxes filled with china. She was the executor of an estate that included a not-quite complete set of Royal Albert  White Dogwood . I had never seen this particular pattern before.  It boasted a spray of ( you guessed it!)  white dogwood flowers with green leaves and a gold border.  I couldn't decide if I like it or not, so I left it out on my coffee table until I could make a decision on it.  Meanwhile another friend showed up at my door with ANOTHER incomplete set of china, Royal Albert American Beauty. (pale pink roses on white china with a gold rim)  Comparing the two sets, I soon decided that I preferred the White Dogwood .  I offered the American Beauty to a friend who was more than delighted to take it and add to it so as to give it to one of her grand daughters.  Meanwhile, I now had two sets of china, one for the summer and one for the winter, and was always on the look-out for occasions to use each set at least three times a year to enjoy and protect them.

Vintage Royal Albert American Beauty Pink Rose China Teacup Trio

...American Beauty china pattern

Last summer, while with hubby on one of our many Saturday garage sale excursions, I came across a lady who was selling her gorgeous blue and white Wedgewood China, The Royal Houses of England .  I acknowledged them as being beautiful, but I passed them by quickly thinking that I could never afford to pay what she was PROBABLY asking for them.  After all, we are talking WEDGEWOOD, and that said one thing to me.  It would be way too expensive for me. to even consider.  I did buy a lovely blue and white Sadler Tea Pot from her that would certainly coordinate with my everyday Blue Willow and which cost me the paltry sum of $5.00, but I would not ask about the price of the  Wedgewood, as I just knew her answer would break my heart and probably my bank. As I was perusing other finds, Eric asked me if I had seen the Wedgewood.  Of course I had, but it was out of the question.  So, he inquired, did I think that it was not worth her $50.00 asking price?  Well, it surely was, but with 6 place settings at $50.00 per setting that would be $300.00 dollars and that was certainly more than we had to spend.  Fact was however, she was asking $50.00 for the entire 6 place settings!  I couldn't believe my ears!  Surely there was some mistake.  This WAS Wedgewood, after all.  There was no mistake.  She was an elderly woman who was going into a nursing home.  Her only daughter  was not interested in the china, although she had had it  overly- conservatively appraised for $800.00 at a local antique store that would take it and sell it on consignment.  She decided to just put it in the garage sale and see if she could get $50.00 dollars for it.  I tried to tell her  that it was worth much more than $50.00 dollars, but she explained that it was getting late in the day and that I was the ONLY ONE who had shown any interest in it at all.  She was sure that I would enjoy it  and use it, and she really wanted it to go to someone who would value it.  She was sure I was that person.  If I would pay her $50.00 dollars for the set, she would GIVE me the blue and white Sadler for free.  Now I  have three sets of china, all of them lovely  I have one for Winter (Old Country Roses) one for Spring (The Royal Houses of England)  and one for Summer (White Dogwood) I am bound and focused to use them each three times per year for my enjoyment and their protection.

Last week I was sad to learn that my dear friend Kristin had lost her beloved Dad quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  Her mom had died some years earlier. Kristin and her younger sister are lovely  women but with no interest in china. As Kristin was in the process of packing up her parents' home, she thought of me as she looked at her mom's china collection.  She has no idea what the name of the pattern is, but she knows I will love it.  Would I be interested in having it?  Well,  there is always Fall to be considered.  What an embarrassment of riches I enjoy!                

I am also joining these ladies for...

~ Metamorphose Monday @

~ Teacup Tuesday @

~ Tabletop Tuesday with Marti @


~ A Return to Loveliness with Kathy@

Teatime Tuesday and also Home blog party on Wednesday with Sandi @

~ Friends Sharing Tea (on Wednesday) @ 

~ Wow Us Wednesdays @ and also @

~ Home And Garden Thursday @

~ Tablescape Thursday  @

... and also @

 ~ Show And Tell Friday @

~ Feathered Nest Friday @

~ Festive Friday Fiesta @

~ Saturday Show Off / Easter Show Off @

~ Seasonal Sundays @

Regards, Scone Queen Rose



  1. So enjoyed reading your story. Sometimes God just blesses us because he loves us. Enjoy your china. Have a great day!


    1. Thank you Graceful Rose for your very kind comments. I have been on a rather long blogger nap for the past two years or so and it was wonderful to have you respond to my first post in many a year! I look forward to seeing what you are up to on your lovely blog! thank you from the bottom of my heart!