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Monday, August 13, 2012

Thank You Lord


Over the last 78 years, I have been thankful for so much in my life and I think, have actually tried to thank the LORD for a lot of it. You know, we are always thankful for our family, for health, for chocolate, for being Americans etc.

But recently, I’ve been thinking about smaller, even very insignificant things for which to be thankful. I’m talking about things that either make my life easier or just give me joy.

Now, take the color, blue. It is just beautiful to me and actually  gives me some comfort at times. I have a couple of blue shirts and a dress that help me feel good when I wear them. When possible, I like to have something outside the house, painted blue. In the past, a blue door or two has helped the looks of our home and right now, the upstairs of our house is blue. Dee tells people our house is the only blue one on the block. The downstairs is brick.

My husband loved red so I tried always to have red carpet in the family room with white walls. It went well with the blue I used everywhere else.

I think dogs are the sweetest “people” on earth. Few days go by that I don’t thank the Lord for Coco. Coco truly communicates and with a little speech therapy, could talk. She does not stand around and beg: she grabs my skirt tail and tugs. Tons of words have been written about dogs and their goodness.

Now, automatic gearshifts were a miracle when they became available. My first one was in a Plymouth I inherited from my mother-in-law, in 1959. I had been driving about ten years at that time. My dad taught me to drive in Atlanta’s five o’clock traffic because that’s when he came home from work. Atlanta is fairly hilly and we lived on a hill. One afternoon, coming out of Piedmont Park, on a slight upgrade, we’d stopped for a traffic light, leading into 10th St. Dad’s blame big Buick cut off on me. Then it would roll back when I tried to start it; the nut behind us would blow his horn; soon there was a line of cars behind me blowing their horns. Couldn’t help it, I started crying. I turned off the motor, got out of the car and walked home. It was only three or four blocks and worth every step to get away from all those horns blaring at me. I was 15 years old.  Oh, yes, thank the Lord for automatic gear shifts and kind dads.

How do you feel about Teflon? We use it in frying pans etc. but the place I most appreciate it is in muffin tins. Back when I made tons of Lewis Grizzard cornbread muffins for the church bake sale, it was really helpful.  I remember the first time we saw a Teflon pan. My mother was not feeling well so her sister brought a casserole to us in her brand new, and expensive, Teflon pan. Trying to be helpful, Dad washed the pan so he could return it.  He told me later that he was disgusted to find the inside so black and burned, he really had to scrub hard to get it clean. My poor aunt nearly cried when she received her beautiful, new pan, shiny clean, all that ugly Teflon removed!

After an awful fall, several years ago, in the house alone, I got a bracelet that summons help. I don’t understand how it works but then I never have understood electricity either. I just know that if I can manage to mash a button, I will receive help – very comforting.

All the electronics are mind boggling for a person my age. As I sit here, in my bedroom, my computer, printer, and portable phone are all on my desk. Oh, and the paper shredder is next to it. Across the room is my music system and directly opposite is my TV, a battery operated radio etc.  I don’t use any of those hand held things except my Kindle for which I am also thankful. Within five minutes, I can hit a few keys and tell Amazon to send me any one of about a million books. I can be happily reading five minutes later.

Sadly, I don’t have a slave to stand here and fan me -----  or another one to peel me a grape. But I do have a lovely overhead fan plus a Hershey bar in my desk drawer! I can turn down the AC and play like fall has arrived, my most favorite season.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Good Manners

Recently, a sweet, cute friend of my grandson, had dinner with us. It was Mike’s birthday dinner and was special. 

We had other guests as well and all ate in the dining room. The young man kept his baseball type cap on his head throughout the meal. I did not mention it to him and would not have embarrassed him for anything. But, my mother used to say, if you don’t use good manners at home, you’ll forget to use them in public. Thus, we were expected to use them at home, especially good table manners.

My parents had beautiful manners and, if anything, my dad was much the stricter of the two. 

Some examples of the manners we were taught:

  • Wait for a gentleman to open doors for you. Wait at the car door.
  • Rise when an older person or lady walks into the room. Remain standing until the person either leaves or is seated.
  • Always place your napkin in your lap. A large,dinner napkin should remain folded in half. The smaller, luncheon size is opened fully.
  •  Never, ever, ever, place your knife in your mouth. Period!
  •  Chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with food in your mouth. 
  •  The words [?] naw or yeah are not used here. 
  • "Yes M'am" or "Yes Sir" work just fine. Be very careful when using the word’’what’’  to answer a parent or older person. If you forget, you may want to duck!

Well, as you can see, this list could turn into a book.

Growing up, I loved to ‘’eat out’’  - with one exception. People would stop at our table to speak to my parents or ask my dad for an autograph. He was never rude, always very courteous. He considered it rude to remain seated when  folks stopped to say hello. So our food got cold or the poor waiters had to stand ,waiting. Sometimes, the waiters got autographs as well. (I wrote about one such experience, in a New York nightclub, in a previous blog.)

All things considered, good manners are mostly about kindness.  One of our presidents, obviously a kind person, had several people for an important dinner. One guest, possibly from a northern state,  poured his coffee from the delicate china cup, into the saucer and then proceeded to “blow it." The guest then drank his coffee from the saucer. As the other guests smirked, the president calmly poured his coffee into his saucer and drank it that way the rest of the evening. 

Good manners? Well, yes. The president went out of his way to make his guest feel welcomed. The other guests followed suit and learned a little lesson about kindness.