As I was dropped off less than a mile away from my childhood home in a blue and tan Ford Bronco or perhaps a wine-colored Ford Explorer, I was always reminded to say “please and thank you”, “yes ma’am”, “no ma’am”, “yes sir”, and “no sir”. Every time.
Growing up in west Texas, manners are something that are completely expected. They’re not a courtesy, they’re a requirement.
I’ve been pressing on Emerson the same way my parents did me. It’s funny just how influential those days are to the way we raise our own. So anytime she doesn’t say “please and thank you”, I cringe. Yes, she’s 2. Yes, I have unrealistic expectations. But it’s how I am and how I will always be.
One thing that I am a stickler over is people entering into the parent’s bedroom. We had a kid run into our bedroom recently trying to pet our cat, and I about lost it. I have this internal struggle to be completely hospitable yet also follow the norms of the olden days.
My buddy growing up who lived down the block was Zane. At Zane’s house, I don’t think I ever went into his bedroom. In the nearly 30 years I’ve known him, I may have entered his parent’s bedroom once.
But as we got older, I would insist that my friends didn’t knock before coming into my home. It was literally an open door policy. Come in. Be happy. Drink freely. Eat whatever we have. This home is yours because you are family.
But you bet your pretty little behind I expected a “thank you” and a polite request if you were doubling up on Dr. Peppers (yes, Tyler, that’s directed at you).
So to continue this Horn tradition of proper 1950’s manners, I bought Emerson this book.
Oh, you noticed the coffee stains all around it? Well as Jess and I ate at the kitchen island with Emerson sitting atop eating her egg yolk with a spoon and her jelly with her fingers, Jess ripped the computer off the plug and smashed a full coffee mug all over the kitchen. Maybe we don’t need manners in this house. We just need a maid.
I read through the Tiffany’s Table Manners book at work on Friday with analysts entering my office and questioning my intentions. But it was a fantastic reminder of how to act at the dinner table or at a luncheon, which I attend often.
One day Emerson will read this book, if I don’t read it to her beforehand, and I’m hoping it’ll stain her like a broken coffee cup on a kitchen bench too.