Tea Pie, Love and Reality by Sally Petersen

Tea Pie, Love And Reality: A Collection of Memoir Essays

Author: Sally Petersen
Published by Petersen Publications

Reviewed by Marlene Howard

This little five by seven inch book is just the right size to hold in one hand while holding a cup of coffee or tea in the other. The attractive cover conjures up that idea with a picture of a man’s hands holding a coffee mug and a woman’s hand stirring a spoon in a tea cup.

The title, Tea Pie, Love and Reality brings up story questions. The author is smart, she knows the reader will have those questions. So, in the Contents pages she bolds three essay titles—”Reality”, “Love in the Afternoon”, and “Tea Pie”. I turned to those pages first to satisfy my curiosity. Each of these short essays catches the reader and makes us want to read more. My favorite piece in the book is the Tea Pie essay.

“Tea Pie or Word Recognition Disorder”

”Mom?” It was Charlie, four, inheritor of long, dark lashes and a way with women.

“Mom, can I have some tea pie?” Earnest, hopeful, blinking the lashes.

“Tea pie, what is that?”

His tone changed from supplication to firmness. A little louder as if she hadn’t heard, emphasis on each word—tea pie.

His mother squatted to his level, looked into his pleading brown eyes, then understood. She’d made coffeecake that morning.

It was fun going through the Contents reading the titles and trying to choose the essays that might focus on writers and writing. I came up with the following titles: “Resume”, “One Good Metaphor”, “Technology”, “Samuel Clemens & Me”, “Art & Craft” and “Dueling Computers”.

Petersen covers broad subjects about family, writing, travel, and nature. Some essays are pithy, some funny, but all are delivered with grace and best of all, finely crafted sentences and paragraphs.

Whether you read this book in one sitting, as a friend of mine did recently, or dip in and dabble with it over a few days, I predict you won’t be able to resist going back to read and re-read pages in this little gem. I keep it by my chair and when I want to be soothed, cheered, or maybe learn something, I open the book randomly and read a short essay.

I first became acquainted with Sally Petersen’s writing and editing talent in 1998 when she edited Seasoned With Words: Stories, Memoirs, and Poems About Food, the Colonyhouse cookbook. I credit Petersen’s sharp editing eye with the success of that book and the many accolades it has received. Sally Petersen is a journalist, but essays are what she loves to read and write. She’s given all of us a gift by sharing her essays with us in this book.

Here is one last short piece from the book.

“People Magazine in the Dentist’s Office”

Reading trash every now and then is good for my system. Like eating fiber, it keeps me from being stopped up with multi-syllabic words, significant ideas and above all, important facts.

There it is, now go out to the author’s website and purchase a copy so you can enjoy the rest of this rich treasure. www.petersenpublications.com.

Marlene Howard is the founder and past president of Oregon Writers Colony.