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A Manner of Speaking Sep/Oct '08

by Bonnie Neugebauer
September/October 2008
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5018303/

“Excuse me . . . excuse me.” I felt a gentle, eager tap on my arm and turned. “Excuse me, ma’am. What’s your name?”
“Well, hello. My name is Bonnie. What’s your name?”
“My name is Riley. I’m pleased to meet you. Have you met my brother, Jack?”
Riley immediately turned to his older brother. “This is Jack. And that’s my dad, Scott.” Riley pointed and Scott gave a salute.
“ . . . and my mother Debbie.” Debbie offered a cheerful wave and turned back to the game.

We were at the Mariners/Tigers game and well into the 4th inning; the Tigers were ahead. The polite response, of course, was to introduce my companion. “Riley, I’d like you to meet my husband Roger.” And then I heard my most polite self carrying on a lively conversation with 4-year-old Riley. He brought the manners to our relationship; I tend to be less formal with most everyone, especially with children.

Until he had a 7th inning meltdown over a baseball card, Riley continued to be well-mannered and engaging. I had a great time, because Riley was a real kid and his manners felt real. He had obviously learned how to behave and interact with others within the context ...

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