I’m at the bank. I’m standing in a line that is one hundred miles long. I’m in the rear. The line is not moving. I would rather have open heart surgery administered by Howdy Doody than to wait in line.
Through the doors, I see a woman, walking across the parking lot. I’m trotting toward the door to open it for her. This is because I was raised by women. Polite behavior was beaten into me with hairbrushes and unabridged King James Bibles. I believe in opening doors for anyone you’d refer to as ma’am, miss, or Mama.
But someone beats me to the door.
A boy in line. He is twelve, thirteen maybe. He’s here with his mother. He swings it open.
“Thank you,” the woman says, grinning.
Two more women are strolling through the parking lot. The boy flies into action. He opens the door.
They thank him. They even call him “sir.”
He likes this.
Here comes another. She’s waltzing toward the door, talking on her phone. You ought to see the surprise on her face when the kid pulls the Open Sesame trick.
She giggles. “Aren’t you sweet?”
Yes, he is.
And I remember a time when most men were. “Gentleman,” my granddaddy would’ve called them. “Polite,” Mama would’ve called it. I call it being considerate. And I believe in such things.
Long ago, we had men who raced to the door to prove that their mothers had raised them right. They were men who wouldn’t use a four-letter word in the presence of long eyelashes, not even if you threatened them with daytime television.
But those days are evaporating. And I don’t like saying it, but the world has changed. Still, some of us remember Mama, reminding us to treat every girl, woman, and granny better than the Queen of England.
I asked the boy’s mother how her son became such a knight in shining blue jeans.
“Oh,” she said. “Probably ‘cause he lives with a bunch’a women.”
Believe me, I get it. The boy is in a house full of estrogen. All he knows is Mama, Granny, and sisters. I grew up the same way.
“His nana’s taught him good,” the woman goes on. “She’s got him standing whenever a girl walks in a room, taking his hat off in buildings, offering his chair…”
Good old Nana.
While we talk, the kid darts toward the door. He opens it for a woman with silver hair. When she sees him, she’s four decades younger. I‘M starting to really like this kid.
I like him because I want to be him. I like him because I was reared by soft hands. My childhood home was nothing but scented candles, throw pillows, and “Guideposts” magazines. I believe in women. Just as much as I believe in Heaven. And in love.
I believe women are magnificent. I believe they deserve more than what they get. I believe that no matter what their height, weight, hair color, or dress size, they are precious.
And I believe we ought to demonstrate it. I believe in holding the door. I wish you could see this little boy hold the door with his puny arm. He’s young. And he’s blissfully unaware of what he’s doing. He’s not just being a man. He’s showing us all how to be one, too.
God bless that kid’s nana.
And God bless Mama.