Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No More Guilt Trip

I've lived long enough to have seen the changes in the makeup of toothpaste tubes. As a child my dad's advice, always given at the appropriate time, was "Squeeze the tube from the bottom and roll upwards, ALWAYS, VIVIAN". Why that was such a difficult job, I don't know. Pinching in the middle was the only sin I willfully committed with glee during that age.

Now the tubes are plastic. Not one to submit quickly to new changes, I've struggled at every toothbrushing time to press at the bottom to no avail. I didn't want Dad's words to boom through the clouds so my neighbors could hear. Today I examined a new tube of Crest Vivid White to be sure I wasn't supposed to keep my mouth full of foam for at least 30 minutes for a whitening effect, when I saw the following:


My guilt slowly dripped through my pores. Now I have the ammunition needed upon greeting my dad at the Pearly Gates. As well as a photo of the directions. With a bit of effort you can read the words:

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Where Are My Manners?

I've noticed recently that when I receive a compliment I am so involved with the content of the compliment that I fail to say, "Thank you." What has happened to my manners? I tried the other day to think of a single reason for failing to be polite. There was none.

Living in the summer out of my environment where rarely one hears "Hello" or "Good morning" from one stranger to another, I've begun to imitate this behavior. Perhaps I'm so involved in remembering that I'm not to ask a lot of questions upon meeting , that my manners have taken a back seat. To my chagrin I've not handed out many compliments myself.

Being courteous and mannerly is a Southern tradition we like to brag about. We are open people, who will tell a stranger our life story if time is alloted.

Introductions are the likely way we'll first show our manners. Eating breakfast in a dining area we begin a conversation with the new face at the next table. Before we know it, we find commonality in family, friends, home and leave with a good feeling that another acquaintance on this earth has been made. We'll tell each other where we're heading, who'll we see, where we've been and exchange ideas about traveling. Some worthwhile tips are gained over coffee and grocery store rolls.

I remember the first summer I met new people in that part of New York I love, I introduced myself by giving my first and last name. The other person failed to tell me his/hers nor didn't reply "I'm glad to meet you", so I made a note to remind myself that is not a point of etiquette in early part of cultivating friendship. Neither is a hug on the second or third meeting. Fortunately, these awkward moments fade as we get to know each other.

I recall going to a senior breakfast once in Maine. I sat down next to a gentleman and introduced myself, saying that I had accompanied my daughter to the meal and she lived in the area. After a few moments of silence, the old gentleman leaned towards me and in a low voice said, "We Mainers don't take kindly to strangers. Since your daughter lives here, I'll tell you my name is William." Not William Smith, William Jones. Just "William." I realized when repeating this incident later that most anywhere outside the South where we are perhaps appear too familiar with strangers, that hesitancy in revealing one's self is probably a safer move. Especially, now when telling that stranger too much can lead to a possible criminal act.

My new year's resolution, beginning now is to remember to say "Thank you." I do like those compliments. But I must give the other person a compliment so I'll receive the same reply.