Samantha Parkington was practicing her piano one day in
the music room as Teresa sat happily on the floor playing with her many dolls.
Teresa had set up a doll table and was
carefully setting it for tea the way her book "A Doll's Tea Party" told her to.
Samantha was practicing her latest
song. It was common for the ladies of her time to be so accomplished that they could sing and play the piano to accompany
themselves at the same time, so Samantha worked long and hard every day to improve her singing voice.
Hitting a very satisfying A major chord, Samantha noticed
that Teresa's dolls were no longer just having a tea party. All of them had arrived and were taking seats facing her!
come to hear you sing and play!" Teresa said, continuing to set up her chairs as if all the dolls were watching a concert.
was very pleased, so she tried even harder to make her singing beautiful.
As Samantha triumphantly finished her piece, she rose from
the piano to thunderous applause from Teresa and various cries of delight in different voices from her many dolls.
took a deep bow, holding onto the corner of her piano. As she did, an idea struck her. Wouldn't it be lovely to
hold a real concert, right here, in her own music room for her closest friends?
The next day, Samantha sat down at her desk and decided
upon a guest list for her event. She would have to invite Felicity Merriman, because of her very accomplished musicality
on the guitar and flute, and of course she would invite the Montoya girls, who were very elegant and could both play the piano
a little. She also sent an invitation to Kirsten, who was a virtuoso fiddler.
After she'd written and
sent these flowery invitations, Samantha began to devise a program for her concert. She chose all her best current pieces,
and also picked some that she played several years before that she enjoyed and thought were quite beautiful. After putting
the finishing touches on this list, she realized something very important.
She needed to practice. A lot.
That day Samantha put in a good four hours of practice,
took a break, and then did another four. She decided to memorize all of her pieces, because that would be much more
impressive, so she spent a long time practicing without music.
Everyone in the house kept poking their heads into the
music room to see if she was alright, and the maids kept bringing her drinks and snacks to keep her going.
For the rest of the week, Samantha practiced for hours and
hours every day. She was determined to be so perfect and beautiful at her performance, that the amount of time she needed
to practice kept growing.
Her hands were sore after playing all day, and she needed
warm tea and lots of water to keep her throat dry, but she didn't have time to go and get some for herself.
The day of the concert arrived, and Samantha silently woke
up and started brushing her hair. She got into her best dress, and spent several hours getting her hair just right.
was so nervous, she didn't trust herself to speak.
Then the doorbell rang, and she heard Megan scurry forward to open
There were all the elegant, accomplished, beautiful ladies
she'd invited. They all gracefully entered her music room and talked softly to each other as they took their seats.
down from the second floor landing at them making their way in to see her perform made Samantha shiver. They looked
much more elegant, accomplished, beautiful and scary now that she had to perform for them!
She walked into the room to polite applause and took her
place at the piano. She raised her hands to the keys and began to play the introduction to her first song.
in, she tried to sing. But nothing came out but a wheezy breath. Where was her voice? She couldn't have
laryngitis on this day of all days!
She coughed and cleared her throat. Maybe she needed to try again.
She began the introduction once more and tried her entrance over again, but still nothing came out.
turned to her audience (who were all whispering to each other) and tried to tell them with sign language that she couldn't
sing because she didn't know where her voice had gone.
Samantha didn't know what to do. After all this planning
and practicing, she couldn't do anything without her voice!!
However, she noticed a disturbance in her audience.
Josefina was making her way to the front of the room, clutching her big embroidered leather bag. Setting her fan and
shawl on the piano, she briskly took out her remedy book and started flipping through.
"Don't worry Samantha, all that
is happened is you have lost your voice. You probably practiced too much, that's what usually happens in these cases,
according to my Tia Magdelana. Just wait here while I fix your remedy."
Josefina fished around inside her bag and brought out a
clay pot covered in a bright yellow cloth.
"Por favor, where is your kitchen? I need to make some tea."
jumped up to show her the way, and Felicity tagged along, saying something about knowing "everything there is to know about
tea" because her father sold it in his General Store.
Josefina got out her old remedy book.
some hot tea from the chickweed plant that grows near chicken cages. Add peaches if you can get them.
"I have chickweed here, I just picked it this morning out
by the goat shed. Teresa, could you put that hot water on? We'll just have to make do without peaches today, I
don't have any of those around the rancho."
"No, look! I've found a whole bowl of peaches in the
pantry!" Said Felicity, stepping back into the room.
"Bueno!" Josefina said, grabbing the bowl of
peaches and cutting them up to add to the tea on the stove.
"Now Teresa, could you go and fetch Samantha and bring
her to the kitchen?"
As she ladled the steaming hot tea into a beautiful teacup,
Josefina told Samantha what she had to do.
"Now, all you need to do is have this tea. It tastes wonderful but-"
tried to say "Oh but I love tea!" But nothing came out.
"-but you don't get to actually drink it. I'm supposed
to have you gargle it." Josefina finished.
"Now, take your tea and come back into the music room.
I need to be able to use your piano for this cure."
the tea in a cup and have your patient gargle the tea.
Josefina sat down at the piano while Samantha gargled her
tea, slowly and carefully.
Play this song on the piano while she gargles.
sing the following words:
"Words and melody flow,
singing helps you let go,
when this tea flows out,
will return from doubt."
Samantha continued to gargle obediently, while Josefina
repeated these words over and over again.
As soon as all the tea had been gargled, Samantha felt her
throat start to loosen up and she tried singing a scale. Her voice was shaky at first, but it was definitely back!
"Thank you Josefina! Thank you so much!" Was all Samantha could say, as she happily felt her cured throat.
then took a deep bow as Josefina returned to her seat, and took her place once more at the piano. She played the introduction
to her first song once again, and this time when she reached her entrance, her voice came in loud and strong.
Everyone in the audience was captivated by her performance.
It wasn't perfect, but it was very close because of all the hard work Samantha had put into learning her pieces.
the hour-long performance, all of the proper ladies in the audience jumped to their feet to applaud.
"Bravo!" they shouted as they clapped and cheered.
(Politely, or course.)
Samantha beamed at them and took another bow.