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David Baxter

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Etiquette Lesson
Erma Bombeck

On TV, a child psychologist said parents should treat their children as they would treat their best friends - with courtesy, dignity, and diplomacy. "I have never treated my children any other way", I told myself. But later that night, I thought about it. Suppose our good friends, Fred and Eleanor, came to dinner, and :..

"Well, it's about time you two got here! What have you been doing? Dawdling? Shut the door, Fred. Were you born in a barn? So, Eleanor, how have you been? I've been meaning to have you over for ages. Fred! Take it easy on the chip dip or you'll ruin your dinner."

"Heard from any of the gang lately? Got a card from the Martins, they're in Ft. Lauderdale again. What's the matter, Fred? You're fidgeting. It's down the hall, first door on the left. And I don't want to see a towel in the middle of the floor when you're finished. So, how are your children? If everybody's hungry, we'll go into dinner. You all wash up and I'll dish up the food. Don't tell me your hands are clean, Eleanor, I saw you playing with the dog."

"Fred, you sit there, and Eleanor you sit with the half glass of milk. You know you're all elbows when it comes to milk. Fred, I don't see any cauliflower on your plate. You don't like cauliflower? Have you ever tried it? Well, try a spoonful. If you don't like it, I won't make you finish it, but if you don't try it, you can forget about dessert. Now, what were we talking about? Oh, yes! the Grubers. They sold their house and took a beating but, Eleanor, don't talk with food in your mouth. And use your napkin!"

At that moment in my fantasy, my son walked into the room.

"How nice of you to come", I said pleasantly.

"Now what did I do?", he sighed.

Source unknown, other than the author's name.
 
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