Listen and Learn

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By Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

In my early twenties, I worked briefly for an insurance company in a small Northern Colorado farming community. On my lunch break, I often walked the length of a tree-lined street, past a beautifully maintained Victorian home at the corner. The house was surrounded by well-kept lawns and sidewalks, and an older woman with a white Katharine-Hepburn topknot was usually sweeping those sidewalks.

Her name was Abbie Winnie.

We became friends, and she liked to say we met over her broom.

Abbie invited me to her upstairs apartment in the old Victorian and introduced me to Constant Comment tea – an acquaintance I had not yet made.

Her cozy residence was furnished from bygone years with things she loved, including a small black-and-white framed picture of herself as a child and one of her son. She said he looked nothing like the image that sat atop an antique bureau in her tiny living room. Reconstructive facial surgery had altered his appearance to accommodate travel behind enemy lines during the second World War.

But she didn’t know exactly what he did in his military service. He never told her.

Over hot tea in delicate china cups, I learned important things from Abbie. Like how to find joy in menial tasks, or meet the day with gentle faith, and what it looks like to have trusted the Lord with the smallest challenges as well as the greatest.

She has long since passed from my life, but she resurrects every now and then in my books, sharing her wisdom through a “truth-speaker” character. Her Constant Comment has become one of my favorite teas, and each time I tear open the red-and-black packet, I think of the vibrant little white-haired woman and our “May-December” friendship.

Curiosity prompted me to research the tea and discover that it was so named by its creator, Ruth Campbell Bigelow, because her friends constantly commented on their enjoyment of the spicy-citrus blend.

However, the name also prompts me to consider my own comments – over tea and otherwise. Am I constantly commenting? Jabbering away without listening to what others may want to share.

I hope not.

Abbie Winnie taught me a great deal about friendship all those years ago, and I pray that I will continue to listen and learn.

Recently, I introduced my oldest granddaughter to Abbie’s favorite tea, and I hope it becomes a treasured treat for her as well.

May autumn’s cooler weather find us sharing warmth and a companionable cup with family and friends as well as others we meet along the way who may someday become even closer.

The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking.
Proverbs 15:28


Continue to listen and learn. Share on X

ALT="An Unexpected Redemption book cover"Maggie dried her hands on her apron and poured them each a cup of tea before taking the other chair. “In all my years, I’ve learned several important lessons through repetition—as if the good Lord knew I’d not catch on the first time. Or the second or third.”

Betsy huffed into her teacup, rippling the surface of the amber chamomile. “I certainly understand that approach. Like training a green-broke colt in a round pen.”

“Well, I don’t know about any of that,” Maggie said, “but I do know that the great majority of the what-ifs I worried about never happened.”

Betsy met her landlady’s steady gaze across the table. The woman had unflappable faith. ~An Unexpected Redemption


Inspirational Western Romance – where the hero is heroic.

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(c) 2020 Davalynn Spencer, all rights reserved.

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