Whether we think of them as rules, wisdom, or advice, most of us can probably recall a list of such items that our parents or elders recited to help shape our manners and even, perhaps, our worldview. My father had three favorites that were repeated at meals: chew with your mouth closed, put your napkin on your lap, and keep your elbows off the table.
It was with some delight that I came across this list on Pinterest espousing those same bits of ettiquette, with a few others thrown in. With less regularity we also heard the good counsel to sit up straight and refrain from playing with our food. We learned early on to ask to be excused from the table, and I never did manage to eat my vegetables.
What's interesting to me as I hear these instructive bits in my head is that images of where these meals took place pop into my mind. The triad of fatherly advice puts me at the kitchen table at the home to which we moved when I was 9. I'm sure Dad used those words earlier, but for whatever reason I trapped them in my memory at a particular time in that particular place. I have no doubt that the chewing and elbow portions were directed to my brothers. I can't say one way or the other if I might have been guilty of breaking the napkin code.
I'm absolutely grateful for stumbling across the cornerstones and staples of other peoples lives to evoke my own. I'm not good at recalling memories out of the blue. For me a "memory keyword" is necessary to go delving into my brain to return with a slice of my earlier life to remember or share.
How about you? Are there phrases of advice and counsel that have followed you from childhood? Is your memory like mine, needing a catalyst to release its riches, or do you have stories to relate that don't require evocation? Do tell!