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  • Writer's picturePangur's Teacup

Welcome to Pangur’s Teacup !

July 21, 2021

As T. S. Eliot wrote, “Home is where one starts from” (Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot ( One’s definition of home, whether it be geographical or metaphorical, says so much about an individual, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In every sense of the word, my home is Maine. Therefore, I will start with selections that will reflect just a little bit about the place I love so much.

Tea: State of Maine from Jacqueline’s Tea. Several years ago, Jacqueline’s Tea Room offered a quintessential British tea experience in Freeport, Maine. Although, sadly, the Tea Room is no longer there, Jacqueline still offers her exclusive teas through a mail order website. This tea combines two of Maine’s best flavors, blueberries and maple syrup with a Ceylon black tea. When just opening the package, the dominant scent is blueberry, but once brewed the maple sweetness and “just a hint of smoke” comes through. This tea is good in any season, just on its own, or as I like it best, with a little cream and sugar.

Fiction: Cordelia Underwood: Or the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League by Van Reid is the first of a five book series set in Maine of the 1890s. While hard to categorize exactly, I think it is best to describe it as a mystery. A bit choppy and disorienting at the beginning as the author attempts to acquaint us with the many characters that populate the entire book, the charm of the narrative quickly takes over. Set over just the month of July in 1896, the action takes us from Portland all the way up to Bangor and Millinocket. The features that make this book so enjoyable (and actually the whole series) are 1) the likeability of all the characters who despite dealing with some dark situations never lose their optimistic view of life; 2) the Maine legends and folk tales that are interwoven with the mystery (such as the legend of the Dash); 3) the “deja-vu” effect of familiar places only in another time; and 4) the humor. Throughout the reading of this book and the others in the series, I really wanted to drop everything and tour my own state.

Nonfiction: Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler as told to Joseph B. Egan is really shelved in the junior fiction shelves of the school and local libraries in Maine. Almost every Maine student has read this book at one time or another. However, having just reread it as an adult, it is thoroughly enjoyable at any age. In July of 1939, Donn Fendler, a 12 year old boy from New York got lost while hiking on Mt. Katahdin. Despite the search parties, Donn remained lost for nine days, and only his grit and determination spurred him on through rough and lonely terrain. One of my favorite quotes in the book actually comes from a newspaper article about Fendler’s experience: “‘For at no time in human life will men find a greater courage in their hearts and in their weary bodies than when in youth, like Donn, they are returning home’” (Boston Transcript July 27, 1939).

Children's Book: Miss Rumphius story and pictures by Barbara Cooney was first published in 1982. As a young child, Miss Rumphius adopts two goals for herself: go to faraway places and live by the sea. Her grandfather adds a third: make the world more beautiful. Miss Rumphius takes the third goal literally, and in order to accomplish it, decides to scatter lupine seeds wherever she goes. A winner of the American Book Award, the setting of this book is not definitively identified as Maine, but a drive around the state in spring and early summer, even along I 95, will pass many a patch of beautiful blue, purple and rose colored lupines.

Personally, I find all three of these books inspiring and challenging - to be optimistic and think well of others regardless of the circumstances, to have courage and perseverence despite the inevitable difficulties that come my way, and personally to make the world a more beautiful place.

In the words of C. S. Lewis, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."


Artwork credited to Aurora Draws - contact for more details

All photographs by the author

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