Callis tea continues in Suffolk

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The women of the Callis family have had a Christmas tea tradition for eight years running, and they decided to have it in Suffolk this year.

The tea started when the men of the family would go hunting around Thanksgiving and leave the women to themselves. Lu Bowman suggested to her mother, Midge Callis, that the ladies get together and have a tea near Christmastime.

“I was very excited when she called me and said, ‘Why don’t we do a Callis tea?’” Midge Callis said.

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The tradition has lasted eight years now and includes Midge as well as her daughter, daughters-in-law, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. Eight ladies and young ladies in all attended the tea held Saturday at the Stillwater House Tea room.

The tea, which includes women from all over eastern Virginia, has been held at tea rooms in Williamsburg, Norfolk and Richmond over the years, but the family decided to come back home to Stillwater House Tea Room.

“We’re staying local and helping our local small business,” Debbie Callis said.

The ladies munched on chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, with sweets like scones and petit fours, and had a selection of tea to drink as they enjoyed each other’s company on Saturday.

The youngest and newest participant was 10-year-old Zoey Negron, Midge’s great-granddaughter.

“I’ve never been to a really fancy place, so it’s kind of different for me,” Zoey said. But she got to the heart of the matter when asked what she enjoyed about the event: her family.

“I really like it, because I barely see them,” she said.

Laura Callis has been coming to the tea every year, and she also said she appreciated the tea because she got to see family members she doesn’t always get to see.

Bowman said she thinks the tea is a good time for the ladies to get together without the responsibilities of home.

“I think it’s wonderful to get all the ladies in the family together,” she said.

“And we don’t have to cook or clean,” Midge Callis added.