A Tribute to a Kindred Spirit

~Doris McFall~ 
 October 28, 1926 – May 8, 2011

I had always noticed Doris in church…she was this beautiful, classy woman who attended our Sunday School Class. One day after church, a family invited us over for dinner, and Doris was also one of the special guests. It was here that I learned about this classy woman’s career as a former boutique/dress owner from Spencer, Iowa…yes, even at 80, she dressed so lovely!!

Our family ended up moving 35 minutes south of Des Moines, so we began attending church in our little town...so I kinda lost touch with Doris. One day, Spenser and I had done a program for a Quester gathering; afterwards, up came this beautiful dressed woman…it was Doris. It was fun to reconnect; she was so excited about our tearoom!

In the Fall of 2009, I received a phone call from Doris letting me know she would be moving to a retirement center near her son in Oskaloosa, Iowa. She was looking for a good home for her lovely hats and wanted us to come take a look; she thought they’d be perfect for the tearoom. At this time, Don was unemployed, so extra funds were hard to come by. I tried my best to gently let her know I wasn’t in the position to purchase her hats right now. Well, from her past sales experience she graciously said, “Well, don’t worry about that right now…why don’t you come and take a peek.” So, Spenser and I agreed…at the last minute, before we left, we thought it would be fun to pack up a mini tea party in a basket. We had some spreads leftover from a previous tea and as we approached town, we made a stop at the store and picked up a few other pretties for our party.

You can only imagine our surprise when we opened the door to her apartment to find all kinds of tea “things!” It was breathtaking…here we were, kindred, tea party friends! Doris LOVED the surprise tea party and thought everything was so delicious…of course, I don’t think she would have said anything if it hadn’t been…she was much too gracious for that.  (We blogged about our visit here in Cup of Cheer)

We had such a wonderful day…she told us all about her career and how she taught fashion merchandise at the local college and how she later opened up her own boutique in Spencer, Iowa. (We liked the ‘Spencer’ connection – even though the town is not spelled the same way Miss Spenser spells her name!) When it came time to view the hats…she was like a mother with her children, so proud of them, and just as I had guessed, they were all so lovely! Again, her business experience came out when she began to barter with us…”How about we exchange my hats for you hosting a tea party for me and my friends.” She was really set on her hats finding a good home…

It was our honor and privilege to host that tea party for her last June…it was such a special day, I think she smiled the entire time, little did we know, this would be the last time we would see her. The Greek meaning of her name is ‘gift/bounty.’ I cannot think of a better character trait than that…she blessed Miss Spenser and I abundantly with the gift of her friendship and her lovely hats. Her legacy lives on here at the tearoom as others have an opportunity to enjoy and wear her lovely hats. I am sure that Doris smiles down from Heaven knowing her hats are lovingly cared for.

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  1. What a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Hi Donna and Miss Spenser...thanks for sharing this wonderful story about this dear lady. She is an example to us all. I just so admire a woman who is classy and gracious as she advances in age. A lesson for us all.
    Hope all is well in your world.
    Lady Linda

  3. What a wonderful lady and friend. I know you must miss her, but you have so many wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Oh my - I have tears! Such a wonderful tribute to a woman who touched your life!

  5. Wonderful story and great reminder to spread kindness. You were kindred spirits. It sounds like she was a lovely lady. I love the idea of taking a tea party to her! I live in Iowa (SW) too and hope to visit your tearoom some day. Connie

  6. What a special tribute. I do remember when you previously wrote about her. She sounds like she was beautiful inside and outside.

  7. Hello ladies,
    What a loving tribute to a lovely lady! Thank you for sharing with us.


  8. Doris was a beautiful lady, inside and out!

  9. SOme people come along and spread love, fellowship and cheer. What a blessing to have known Doris. Thank you for sharing your story so I got to have a glimpse of this sweet lady.

  10. What a lovely story. I'm sure she was happy to know you would take good care of her hats. How blessed you (and she) were to be able to have that last tea time together.

    Thank you for sharing this touching story.

    I have moved my tea things to a new blog. They are no longer at "For Such A Time As This" but at "Tea in the Garden." at www.teacupsandtestosterone.blogspot.com

  11. Hi Donna and Miss Spenser! This is a great tribute to a lovely lady. I really was touched by it. I want to let you know that me and my mom will be coming for tea on 8/5 and I look forward to seeing you again!!!
    xox, Beth


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