Tuesday, January 29 was Amelia Bedelia’s 50th birthday. For the unfamiliar, Amelia Bedelia is a children’s book character and the star of a series of books. Amelia’s claim to fame is that she takes the English language literally.

In the first book, Amelia is hired to be a maid. When she arrives at the home, her employers are not home, but have left a list of tasks for her to finish. The first thing she has to do is dust the furniture. She thinks it’s strange, but she goes to the bathroom and gets the dusting powder and distributes it over the furniture. Then she is supposed to draw the drapes. She finds crayons and paper and does her best to replicate the curtains on the paper. In another book, she pitches a tent and hits the road.

You get the picture.

In honor of her birthday, I decided to serve T at the university library where I work. With the aid of student workers, we cut a bunch of Ts out of construction paper with the Ellison machine. On Tuesday the table in the lobby, near the bread machine and water cooler, was peppered with colorful Ts and a couple of copies of Amelia’s adventures.

When students walked in, I explained that I was serving T in honor of Amelia Bedelia’s birthday and pointed toward the table. Most students didn’t seem to understand and were obviously looking for something to drink other than the water cooler.

I’d come over and point out the letters and suggest perhaps they’d like green T or black T or perhaps orange (pekoe) T. Someone did pick up a blue one and ask what flavor it was. Blueberry?

A couple of people didn’t even look at the table and shrugged me off, “I have to get to class.” There was no convincing them they had time.

I started out offering T to everyone who walked in the door, but that changed after one of our regulars, one of our international students, required a little more of an explanation.

The student, from China, seemed surprised and eager to have tea. So I explained and showed her one of the books. She did seem to “get it” by the time she went to study. When she left the library, she flashed her T at me with a high wattage smile.

I decided after that not to trouble the international students who may not have grown up reading Amelia Bedelia.

Unfortunately, we made too many Ts. I’ve been carrying the remnants in a gallon Ziploc bag for the rest of the week – my T bag.

I guess that makes me a bag lady.

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