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Friday, June 24, 2005


We mostly use those for stabbing

When my Grandmother the original Margaret, died at the ripe old age of 92,we ended up using my parents house as a home base for family members who were travelling in town for her funeral.

A little bit about my Grandmother Margaret:

Margaret was a home economics teacher for many years. She was a great cook, and a master of ettiquitte. She knew how to set a flawless table, and was a member of the most prestigious Minnneapolis ladies social club for decades. In addition to all of this, she could pull off telling a story about how she drove 100 miles in a car sitting on a pillow because she had a boil on her ass. She would then elaborate into the gory details of its subsequent velocital rupturing and the foul odor henceforth emitted.

I actually asked one of my cousins at one point if they had actually heard the same story, because I was convinced I had conjured it up in some strange dream. Nope. It was just as I remembered. Grandma relaying the boil story up at the cabin, lit romantically by kerosene lantern, expounding on the scourge of ass-boils. Only Margaret could tell stories like that and still be remembered as a lady. I still have no idea how she did it. I would consider myself proud to manage walking that line as finely as she did. She was the master of the delicate balance between being gracious, polite, funny, gossipy, irreverent and most of all human. God I miss her.

Visiting for Margaret's funeral was my mothers cousin, who happens to have a habit of behaving maybe just a wee bit holier than thou when it comes to social graces and general decorum.

We were preparing to leave for Grandma's funeral in Winona Minnesota. It was November, cold, snowy and I was tired and sad and just plain not in the mood to be polite.

As the family congregated to leave for the funeral procession, I reached for a strawberry from a fruit plate on the dining room table on our way out the door.

I fumbled and dropped it on the floor.

My mom's cousin looked at me and tsk tsk'd.

"You know," she said looking down her nose "that's what forks are for."

I shrugged.

"Oh. We mostly just use those for stabbing."


Blogger JB said...

Etiquette never mattered much to me either, but like your grandma, my nanny was extremely concerned with manners. Perhaps it’s a generational thing?

I remember my nanny used to tell me that “You can judge a person’s character by their carriage.” For the longest time I thought she was bonkers--who uses carriages to get around?. Finally, when I was seven years old, I took pity on her and replied, “But nanny, people ride in cars now.”

She loved this story and used to tell it all the time, to my utmost embarrassment as a teenager.

7:29 AM  
Blogger missjackie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:25 AM  
Blogger missjackie said...

Jeff had a business colleague and his wife/girlfriend visit from Denmark recently.

I about starved to death trying to eat properly with the knife in my right hand and the fork in my left, a technique that I use when certain social occasions merit it.

To their amusement, I finally said halfway through dinner, "Okay, I am just hungry. I'm eating American style and am going to shovel food in my mouth with the fork."

With that, I put the knife down, made the switch, and happily completed my dinner.

Honestly, I could see all the benefits of one eating his/her dinner properly (e.g. you'll never have too much food in your mouth and so can talk at a moments notice), but sometimes you just get hungry.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

So... did you stab her???

9:31 AM  

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