When I was about 15 my mom, sister and I took a big camping trip across the US. It was amazing, and left me with some very special memories. One in particular was when we were eating at a very fancy place called “Chateau Lake Louise“.
The food was great, it was a beautiful restaurant with an awesome view. The other people eating there were surely vacationing in the Chateau, not rolling up from their campsite at Banff National Park in a station wagon with a cargo carrier on top. We looked like we had been camping for a month because, of course, we had.
I was embarassed. I announced to my mother in an adolescent huff that, “Everyone in here has more class than we do.” She told me to take a good look around. Our fellow patrons looked the part; with their nice clothes and enviably clean hair. On closer inspection I saw that they were shovelling in their food with the wrong forks, rendering them more a gardening tool than a utensil. Food was chewed loudly, in large bites, and with open mouths. Napkins were still on the table, or worse, tucked into their shirts. My Mom said, “You know your manners. You could eat with the Queen (we were in Canada, after all); money doesn’t buy you class.”
I recently took Maybelle to a local place called “Etissentials“. Wanting to get her started on the proper footing, etiquitte wise, we attended the “Nutcracker Suite” Tea. She was one of the youngest people in the place, but behaved herself beautifully. She knew that her little napkin went on her little lap, and was quiet when the hostess was speaking. I was so proud, and know that my mom would have been too.
We have one area we need to work on however. The food is brought to the table on something like a cake pedistal, and Maybelle ate every morsel of food on our table and even borrowed a cupcake (she had only had two, after all) from a neighboring table. At least she won’t be the girl who orders a salad just to appear dainty on a date.
I enjoyed our tea time together, but found it very expensive. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I didn’t eat anything, but I was disappointed in the food. I’ve had tea in Germany, and they don’t mess around with these little tiny crustless sandwiches. It’s like Taco Bell’s “Fourthmeal”, except it comes at a much better hour – around 10:30 AM just when breakfast is wearing off and lunch is dangerously far away.
I don’t know how much kids pick up in a few hours about etiquette, so I guess it’s like everything else – if you want your kids to learn good manners you just have to teach them yourself. Sigh.