It was about 9 a.m. today, as the P.E.O. Sisterhood was setting up for our annual Green Tea to raise money for women in education, when everything just stopped. Some of us were setting up the tables and some of us were still bringing in food when we heard a crash in the kitchen. And I don’t mean like dropping a pot on the kitchen floor. I mean like someone had taken a bowling ball and hurled it through the wall. We all froze and then we ran. And there was Clara Dean Finley on the floor. Flat on the floor.
We are a group that is accustomed to injury. Especially at the tea. Last year, Kathy Ulezelski went to the store to get the mixed nuts she’d forgotten and slipped and broke her arm in the parking lot. That girl came back and went all the way through pouring tea and fixing tea sandwich trays before she told anyone.
So we get Clara Dean up and into a chair and get some ice packs for her head and her leg. She’d gone head first into the ice maker door and, of course, the linoleum floor was not forgiving when she fell on her leg. But here she is, looking pretty beautiful for someone who’d just smashed into an ice maker. I mean really. Just look at her. A true Southern belle, striking the pose. Only the hand behind her head is holding a baggie full of ice and the hand on her hip is doing the same. That’s why they call us Steel Magnolias.
The thing about my Sisters is that they’ve always, always, got your back. Just like Kathy, Clara Dean declared that she was just fine and could jump right up and get to arranging tea sandwiches. But we would have none of it. We called her husband and packed her off to the emergency room for an MRI. The last thing she said as Wayne was carting her off was to make sure we warmed up the silver teapots for ten minutes before we put the tea in them. That girl’s a trooper.
Well, the tea turned out fine.
Here’s the tea committee just before we opened the doors. That’s Kathy to the left of me, the one who broke her arm last year. Carole’s right in front of me. Talk about injury. She walked through an open basement door in the dark a few years ago. You don’t even want to think about that.
You know that thing about blood being thicker than water? Well, that may be true but I can tell you that the devotion of P.E.O. Sisters is a pretty close second.
So now I’m going to give you the recipe to the number one tea sandwich we served today. We probably ate more of them in the kitchen than we served to the guests. Clara Dean, I’d like to say we saved one for you. But, honey, we didn’t.
Smoked Turkey Tea Sandwiches
12 thin slices firm white bread, crusts trimmed
10 ounces smoked turkey, thinly sliced
Spread one side of each bread slice thinly with arugula mayonnaise. Layer ½ of the bread slices with equal portions of the turkey and top with remaining bread slices mayonnaise side down. Press lightly to adhere. Cut each sandwich diagonally into quarters. Makes 24 sandwiches.
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup packed coarsely chopped arugula
1 tablespoon minced shallots
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the mayonnaise, arugula, shallots and lemon zest in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.