Mister Brumley’s Emily Post

I learned a lot from Mr. Brumley. He tried his best to be a surrogate grandfather for a boy growing up without a father in the home. He was great at teaching me music appreciation, the value of working hard, and being respectful of my elders. He was really a wonderful grandfather. I miss him a lot and think often about the many lessons he tried to teach me.

Mr. Brumley was unbending about proper table manners. He quoted from his own copy of Emily Post’s “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home” He would read a snippet or two at every meal we had at his table. We had to take seriously his lectures on napkin placement, order and use of eating utensils and proper dinner conversation. Those of us at the table were usually more interested in Mrs. Brumley’s fried chicken; which brings me to the scar on my right index finger.

After one of the lengthy lessons on etiquette my childish patience was drained. My stomach was growling in opposition to its emptiness. After the lecture and the amen to the prayer I greedily reached across the table for the juicy drumstick calling my name. Before I could pull back my prize, Mr. Brumley jabbed my hand with his fork. I yelped more from surprise than pain. The real pain came when I had to read 100 pages from Mr. Brumley’s Emily Post. I was forbidden to eat until I had consumed every letter of the 100 pages.

I guess I learned my lesson; I don’t reach across the table anymore. I still know to work from outside to inside on the eating utensils. So Mr. Brumley instilled some of the etiquette pretty deep into the fabric of my life. Even more important than all those lessons learned I’ve come to know that Mr. Brumley really loved me enough to care about what kind of person I would become. All that time he invested in me was a selfless act. I’m privileged to have had this kind grandfather in my life.

Today it is my turn. I need to love someone enough to help them. My Jesus taught us to help the less fortunate. James spent a goodly portion of his writing on taking care of the poor, the fatherless and the widow (James 1:27; 2:2-6, 2:14-16). I guess Mr. Brumley’s real Emily Post was his Bible because he lived it even more than that book on good manners.

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Explore posts in the same categories: christian living, Kindness

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