It seems that my mother and stepfather witnessed some lackluster behavior while dining at a “very nice ress-trunt” in Baton Rouge. After describing the way that the offending parties gripped their knives and forks, had elbows on the table, wore caps indoors, and chewed with their mouths full, my mother took a long audible inhale, paused, and said, “it makes me think of the time we took you girls to Disney World…”
Flashback: When my sister and I were 5 and 7 years old, our parents drove us down to Orlando with our aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins. This particular family vacation includes several tales that get recanted from time to time: The monorail was still under construction. Pros and Cons of the Polynesian Resort vs The Contemporary, the novelty and significance of Epcot Center, and the story of how my sister earned her nickname Granny.
Fast Forward: Today, 32 years later during an Agendaless Butt-dial Conversation, a whole new legend emerges:
“Before we went to Disney World, you girls had never left Alabama, and you’d never been to a fancy ress-trunt. I started training you months in advance so you would know how to behave when the waiter came to the table, and which forks to use. I had to coach you a little bit, but y’all knew what to do, and you performed beautifully. I wish I had captured that moment on film.” And then she sighed blissfully as if her life was complete.
She needed to recharge her phone, so the conversation was cut short, but it packed a punch that stuck with me for a while. It had never occurred to me that a trip to Disney World could make a significant imprint on someone’s sense of self-worth as a mother, but now I can see where maybe it’s not just her. I bet there are tons of moms who leverage Disney World as a power tool for enlisting full cooperation during Table Manners Boot Camp.
PS: Today’s visual aide is an actual family photo from the legendary Disney World trip. My sister had gotten separated from the herd, probably because she saw something sparkly or maybe she needed to stop and sing backup on Supercalifragilistic. Nobody knows how it happened, but she got lost, and the adults were freaking out. Uncle Henry named her Granny because no one could stop my 5-year-old sister from absorbing The Full Glory of Disney World at her own pace.