I have to give thanks for the lessons my mother taught me. As the youngest child, most would think I got everything I ever wanted and could get away with anything I ever did. Ok, so maybe that’s true. But it doesn’t take away from things I learned from my mother along the way.
She’s a pretty special gal, my mom. Looking at some old pictures of mom and dad you have to appreciate the difference in what a photograph meant to them compared to what they mean to us today. Sunday best, or jeans and t-shirts. There was usually a car in the background, standing on the steps of the house or they were at an event or going somewhere. Today, we take pictures of everything but it usually isn’t choreographed. In most of these pictures my mom stands the same way. One foot slightly in front of the other, turned a little to the side and hands together. Very feminine and elegant, she always takes a very good picture.
But there was so much to the making of Jeff Maddox than meets the eye. From an early age I picked up on little things that made me who I am today. For instance, a man always carries the heavy packages. A very simple rule I know, but valuable to say the least. It IS my responsibility after all and I do it willingly. Also, a man should always hold the door for a woman. Of course! We should hold the door for anyone, agreed? But always for a lady. Another is walking on the “street side” of a woman. As you are walking down the sidewalk, it should always be the man walking next to the curb. I’m good with that. Alright, so far I’m walking along the curb carrying the heavy packages, hands full and getting ready to hold the door…
Next, it is the man’s responsibility to pay for the meal. This too is something I agree with. And while you’re there, the woman orders first. Always. So, where are we now? Walking, carrying the heavy packages, holding the door to the restaurant and then paying for the meal. I like it so far!
But there is so much more to it than that. Watching my mother and father dancing down the aisle at Gibson’s to the elevator music playing in the store is priceless. In her eighties, she still has a sense of humor and makes me laugh. And she knows that it’s good to laugh at yourself. I’m lucky as both my mother and father have a great sense of humor.
Through the years, these little things have stayed with me. I still believe in the lessons learned, but find them harder and harder to do. Mostly, because people just aren’t used to the way it used to be. People don’t make eye contact any more and if you hold the door they seemed surprised. Things have changed, people have changed and they look at me funny when I talk about this. But it’s who I am and I’ll never change. I have my mother to thank for that, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope my boys heard me when I spoke of these things. It is important to me that they uphold the gentlemen’s way. After all, it’s a dying art and as a man, we have our responsibilities. I love you mom!