Wednesday, May 29, 2013
A friend recently posted a beautiful beach photo on Facebook – actually, a before and after photo – with this caption, (paraphrasing): “Don’t you hate it when you’re taking a picture and someone drives up in their car and just sits there, oblivious to your picture-taking?” Why yes, Ted, I do! Geez Louise. Sometimes people can be so rude.
Similarly, another friend, Kalondia, in Texas, also posted a beach picture of a rude person. But, let me see – how can I say this delicately? The woman was quite large, wearing an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini and she stood right in front of them, walking back and forth, obstructing their beautiful view. How could she not know she was in the way?
Over the years, I’ve taken some really strange photos – some views were blocked by rude people and some didn’t come out because of stupidity. That would be my stupidity I’m referring to. Hey! It is what it is. As my hub-Russ’s ex-boss used to say, “Call a spade a shovel.”
I was taking a picture of an exquisite, upholstered, monogrammed bench (with cherry Queen Anne legs) that hub-Russ and I recently made. Don’t worry, y’all. No one is quitting their day job (he, a church administrator and me, an author), but we are looking to the future. We might get to retire in ten years if we’re lucky – and by then, we can build benches together.
But back to the picture taking. In the shop where we display our prototype bench, a mirror was placed just so next to the bench. I was aware of a young girl standing nearby, but I didn’t pay much attention. When I got in the car and reviewed the photo, there she was: the girl’s reflection in the mirror, right there beside my bench (within inches.) It was eerie and quite distracting. Now I know that wasn’t rude – see? It was my stupidity.
But thank goodness for people who do care about manners and are trying to eliminate rudeness. Right there in Pawleys Island, my friend, Flo Phillips – known to her students as Miss Flo – is teaching a class called Princess Etiquette and Tea Party camp. I read her post on Facebook and was so intrigued, I asked her to give me the details. I knew I’d want to write about it. Heck! I want to send some people to it. And though it’s really for children, don’t we all know a few adults who would benefit?
Flo’s been teaching school since 1973 and during those years, she sometimes noticed the lack of manners and respect. She started teaching in her classroom, then later, in camps and classes. The weekly camps during summer were called macaroni and please – for both girls and boys, ages 3-7. I love that title. On the last day, they even went to an upscale restaurant to show off their new skills. I think this is absolutely great and I know my granddaughters, Madison and Carly, would’ve loved these classes when they were that age (and if they lived closer.)
Flo also taught Manly Men Cooking and Manners class. Again, another great title, wouldn’t you say? The boys learned about table manners and cooking. The final night was a formal affair and they even had roses for their mothers.
Flo is back teaching now (after a very short retirement) at Lowcountry Prep. Her class is currently consisting of all boys that she calls her little pirates. Sweet. Again, she stresses manners. If a lady walks in the room, they stand up and say, “Good morning” (even if it’s 5 p.m., she said, which gave me a chuckle.) If a gentleman comes in, they shake his hand and introduce themselves.
And coming up soon will be Miss Flo’s Princess Etiquette Camp which will culminate in a lovely tea party, held at her home. It will be after the Fourth of July in order that many of her great nieces can attend. Nothing will be held back as they entertain with crystal, silver, linens and even fresh flowers picked from her yard. I am truly impressed.
I am honored that Flo has invited me to attend and I actually hope to be there. She told me to be sure to wear my white gloves and I definitely will – I have a pair of my mother’s from the 1950s or 60s that I treasure.
I’ll be the one taking all the pictures because that’s what I love to do. I’ll be sure to use my manners, saying “Yes, ma’am” and “No, ma’am” and “Please” and “Thank you!” But here’s a warning: if anyone gets in my way and blocks the view of my camera, I’ll have to use my strictest voice, saying, “I must ask you to move,” but I’ll be sure to add, “Please!”
For more information on Miss Flo's etiquette classes, please contact Lowcountry Prep at 237-4147, or go to their website at www.lowcountryprep.org
Ann Ipock – Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller
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