Receiving an invitation to dine with Mrs. Fletcher was akin to receiving an invite to feast with the Queen. For, so rarely did Mrs. Fletcher invite a commoner to sip tea poured into her porcelain cups and partake of scones served on her gold-embossed plates that procuring such an invite almost promp...
<p>Receiving an invitation to dine with Mrs. Fletcher was akin to receiving an invite to feast with the Queen. For, so rarely did Mrs. Fletcher invite a commoner to sip tea poured into her porcelain cups and partake of scones served on her gold-embossed plates that procuring such an invite almost prompted one to frame and hang it carefully on the wall.</p>
<p>Mrs. Fletcher was most fond of my older cousin, Isabel, who often brought her homemade cookies out of a desire to shower compassion on an elderly widow and pay homage to one of Warrenton County’s most distinguished inhabitants. So, although the yellow monogrammed invitation that bore the words “You are cordially invited to an afternoon tea” included my name and that of my cousin, Christy, it was Isabel’s attendance that Mrs. Fletcher primarily requested.</p>
<p>In anticipation of the event, I sat for an hour staring at my measly collection of clothes, wondering what could possibly be suitable to wear on such a notable occasion. Just when I settled on a red blouse and a knee-length, blue skirt, my cousin Christy sauntered into the room with a crisp, white shirt, flowing pink skirt, and a khaki stretch-twill jacket displaying a proud line of brown buttons the size of quarters.</p>
<p>I glanced briefly at her outfit. Trying to hide my jealousy, I casually asked, “Where’d you find <em>those</em> old rags?”</p>
<p>Christy snickered and, smoothing out her frilly skirt, said with the toss of her brown head, “Isabel gave them to me. They’re from last year and she said she can’t fit them in her closet.”</p>
<p><em>Figures. It would be a fashion faux pas for Isabel to wear clothes from “last year.”</em></p>
<p>Even though Isabel’s clothes showed little sign of use, she tossed them out like moldy grapes from a cluster. And every year Christy and I came to visit Isabel and her parents for the summer, Isabel’s “moldy grapes” landed in Christy’s drawers.</p>
<p>I let out what I hoped was an unimpressed “huff,” and as soon as Christy left the room, I started frantically hunting through my clothes to find <em>my</em> pink skirt that, although not the latest style, was at least no hackneyed blue one.</p>
<p>Since Isabel’s car was in the shop and my aunt was meeting with a horse trader who lived close to Mrs. Fletcher’s home, my aunt offered to drive us to our meeti...