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Friday, November 18, 2011

The Social Report

Four weeks of etiquette lessons drew to a close on Sunday evening, culminating in a five course, seated dinner for the large group of previously unmannered 6th-graders. The esteemed Augusta Country Club on Milledge Road hosted the affair. Students eagerly entered the dining room and checked their seating assignments.

Young men wore sport coats, khaki pants, polished black shoes, and crisp white oxfords. Many added personality with colorful ties and dippity-do in their coifs. The girls looked gorgeous in dresses in a variety of styles and closed toe shoes with modest heels. Appropriately, all hems fell below the knee.

Over the course of the class, students received instruction in proper greetings, introductions, table settings, writing thank you notes, responding to invitations and other common niceties that modern society often discounts as unimportant. The evening provided practice of many new skills in an elegant atmosphere.

The meal began with a first course of salad followed shortly thereafter by a serving of seasonal pumpkin soup - probably put on the menu by an adult who would also expect 12 year-olds to eat aspic - and ended with an ice cream sundae. An adult stationed at each table guided his or her charges in napkin placement, silverware selection, and bread plate possession.

Pleasant banter between table mates, who reluctantly sat boy-girl-boy-girl at circular tables draped in white cloths, was encouraged. At the end of the evening, the children were complimented on their fine manners.

One gap in their mentoring became painfully apparent, however, as the boys and girls exited the building. My son did stop and hold the door for a young lady retreating with him, and I must admit I swelled with pride when her parents asked, "Who is that nice boy?" But as quickly as that happened, I prayed that the little girl would shrug her shoulders and dismiss her parents' intrusive, prying questions.

A loud voice yelled, "Hey preppy kid with the ears!" in my son's direction.

My son turned and loudly replied, "Say it one more time and I'm gonna come over there and bust your face!"

Four weeks of etiquette classes and no one taught these kids how to say polite good-byes.

4 comments:

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shelly said...

Very funny. Kids do and say the darndest things at the most unexpected times.

Mike said...

So close........and yet so far!
Great story Lucy.

William Kendall said...

And with those words, defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory!

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