DEAR ABBY: After Thanksgiving in 1972, my mother, Helen Buckles, sent a letter to all her children. She was unhappy about the way we had behaved. I thought your readers might want to "review it" before this Thanksgiving! -- BOB BUCKLES, DOWNEY, CALIF.
DEAR BOB: Thanksgiving? They might want to review it before dinner tonight! Your dear mother did you "kids" a big favor. Read on:
"It was brought to my attention Thanksgiving Day that I had failed to teach you, my children, certain rules of table manners. Lest you go through life in such a state, I will now try to rectify my gross error by setting down for you a few simple rules:
"Remember, table manners, as all other kinds of manners, have as their basis consideration for others.
"1. Come to the table promptly when the hostess calls you. Food tastes better when it is hot.
"2. Sit at the table with the four legs of the chair flat on the floor. Sit straight, with your feet in front of you.
"3. Sit quietly with your hands in your lap until after the blessing or until the hostess starts passing the food.
"4. Wait for the food to be passed to you.
"5. As soon as the food is passed to you, take some and pass it on. Never leave a serving dish beside your plate. Wait until all of the food has been offered before you begin to eat.
"6. Never butter your bread directly from the butter dish. Put butter on your butter plate, break the bread apart, and spread.
"7. Do not talk with your mouth full.
"8. Do not make biological noises or blow your nose at the table.
"9. Keep your elbows off the table and one hand in your lap.
"10. Never wave silverware around while you're eating.
"11. Do not use your finger to push food onto your utensil.
"12. Do not lick your fingers or wipe your hands on the tablecloth.
"13. Don't stuff your mouth with food. Make use of your napkin so you don't offend others with half-chewed food oozing out the corners of your mouth and down your chin.
"14. Keep the conversation pleasant.
"15. Allow your hostess plenty of time to finish her meal before serving dessert.
"16. After the main meal is over, help clear the table before dessert is served. Leave the water glasses, cups and saucers.
"17. Never pick up a dessert dish and hold it in your hand while you eat.
"18. Never eat and run. Remain at the table until the hostess suggests you go elsewhere. Children may ask to be excused.
"19. Offer to help with the dishes. In a very formal atmosphere this would not be true, but in most cases it's acceptable. Don't insist on helping if the hostess doesn't want help.
"20. Always thank the hostess for the invitation. If you can honestly do so, compliment her on the cooking.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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