There was a table set under the pavilion in Houston’s Herman Park and the mad hatter was having tea at it. No sleeping doormouse sat beside him. Plenty of squirrels scurried about the park, which are quite close to mice, but alas he didn’t try to put a squirrel in his teapot.
Along with the mad hatter, I and about forty other Houston area Steampunk enthusiast came to tea.
Including Alice, complete with the white rabbit on her necklace.
We bought teapots and tea cups and, though the Queen of Hearts didn’t make tarts for us, we had yummy cucumber finger sandwiches, luscious blueberry scones, crisp ginger biscuits, grapes, cheese, brownies, and more. We even had a fancy parasol center piece and a Steampunk sign. Though it was a lovely day the pavilion offered nice shade. It was much like standing under a large mushroom.
Though Alice was curious about the March hare’s watch, which didn’t keep time but told the year, here in the 21st century many of us have watches which do both, but we didn’t spread the best butter on ours or dunk them in our tea like Lewis Carroll’s march hare did. Still we had a great time drinking our tea.
The day was gorgeous and every time the little train in the park went by all the riders, parents and children, waved at us.
We smoked the hookah like Lewis Carroll’s large blue caterpillar and we played croquet like the Queen of Hearts court.
There were no cries of off with your head from the Queen but my croquet ball was smacked out by other balls several times. We used regular wire wickets, not soldiers doubled up and standing on their hands and feet to make the arches as they did at the Queen of Hearts’ croquet game. We also didn’t have to try to manage live flamingos for mallets or live hedgehogs for balls.
Which is fortunate, as the chief difficulty of using a flamingo as a mallet is by the time you get its neck straightened out it twist itself round and looks up in your face with a puzzled expression. And the hedgehogs have a habit of unrolling themselves and crawling away.
Of course in Wonderland it is always time for tea since the mad hatter quarreled with Time last March it stays at six o’clock, but our tea party ran until 4 o’clock. Though somewhat sad, it’s good it came to an end so we could take our teapots and teacups home and wash them out rather than moving all the tea-things around as they get used up like the mad hatter, march hare and the doormouse did. After all, they couldn’t find time to wash them when it’s always tea time.
I had such a pleasant day at the Mad Hatter tea party, I half believe I went to Wonderland rather than Herman park. Though our Houston tea party get together has ended there will be many more events. In the meantime I will entertain myself with a large cup of tea and a long book, one with pictures and conversions. For as Alice would say, what use is a book without pictures or conversations. If you live in the Houston area and are interested in Steampunk meet ups and events visit Territories of Houston Steampunk and 42nd Airship Battalion
Maeve Alpin is the author of four Steampunk/Romances: Conquistadors In Outer Space, To Love A London Ghost, As Timeless As Magic, and As Timeless As Stone.