Today I’m re-running my first post in this blog, from May 3, 2012, for a few reasons: (1) in my inexperience I created a new blog rather than posting to this blog and have suspected that the post didn’t get published completely, (2) there are new subscribers since then, and (3) hey, that’s what Carolyn Hax and Amy Dickinson sometimes do in the summertime.
When I was a little kid, 8 or 9 maybe, so this would have been about 1946 or 47, I went to a large outdoor barbecue at the home of a classmate. My parents were not there, and I didn’t know anyone but my friend Pat. He and I might have been the only children there among 20 or so adults. Soft drinks were in quart bottles, a new thing to me, and I didn’t pay attention to what others were doing, which was of, course, pouring into cups of ice. So I opened one and was walking around drinking from it, when presently I was confronted by some adult – man or woman I don’t recall – who said rather sharply “I hope you’re going to drink all of that.” Only then did I realize I’d made a mistake. I’ve no further recollection of the afternoon. Did I stay? Did I finish it? Did I discard it and run off? Throw it away and hope no one else noticed and try to enjoy the party? I’ve no idea. I do seem to recall that it had lost all taste to me, and I wanted it to be no longer in my hands. I felt that everyone was looking at me and that I just wanted to disappear. Of course it wasn’t wrong to correct me, and nothing really wrong about the way it was done, I suppose, but the incident has stayed with me and made me mindful when dealing with young people – indeed in dealing with just about everyone – of not causing embarrassment over social mistakes. And the awareness at my age now of how long memories last has made me regret the bad memories I have caused others. One doesn’t know when one is young that which is common knowledge to everyone later in life, that some experiences will be with one — and with others – forever. Perhaps you have something in your memory bank that makes you careful as you go though your daily round; if not, perhaps this one of mine will fill that gap for you.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC. 16-July-2013