Saturday, February 16, 2013


As a young kid, I have memories of almost dreading dinner time. I love eating and I love my family so it was not the food or the fellowship that soured my soul. It was the manners. My dear mother had her work cut out for her when it came to me and my eating habits. I would argue that I wasn’t the most slovenly person around the dinner table, but clearly my manners were not up to my mother’s standards. She was bound and determined to make a lady out of me. I don’t really remember a dinner with my mom where she wasn’t giving me discrete (or not so discrete) visual and verbal cues to sit straighter, lift my hand higher, chew quieter, or sit farther away from the table, or (my personal favorite) to stop playing with my food. Every time she would flash me a signal I would think, “Shoot dang! I really should remember this by now. Why can’t I have one dinner where I get it right?” Perhaps I was taking the “Einstein approach” by not committing to memory the information that is readily available. I knew her commands would haunt me at any dinner table, so why bother actually learning to follow them without cues. Regardless of the reason, dinners were a challenge for me.

All these memories of dinners with my mother came flooding back to me this afternoon as I ate lunch. I’m not sure what it was about lunch today that sparked the memories, but it occurred to me that I was handling my food rather well.  I had mastered the art of eating with my hands. My plate was clean, my face was clean, and I didn't have food residue above the proximal interphalangeal joints of my right hand. 

If my mother could read this now I would thank her for the years of perseverance in trying to sculpt me into a perfect lady. But I would also tell her, in my stubborn and slightly defiant way, that my years of playing with my food as a kid have paid off. Maybe I was born to experience life in India…


  1. Perfect blending of memory, anatomy and emotions!

  2. Em, your mom would be so proud of you.

  3. Ha, ha, ha!!! This brought a huge smile to my face!!!