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Cousin Rufus, Manners and Monkey Business

Dear Cousin Cletus,

What will folks do next?

Mah grandson Harley had an interestin’ experience last week at that big store ever’one goes to, shoppin’ for food and clothes and medicine.

He went there to buy his little boy a pair of pajamas. When he got to the kids’ section, a woman was stockin’ shelves out of a pile of things in a cart. When Harley reached in the bottom of the cart to get the pair of pajamas he wanted, that woman whirled around and snarled, “Don’t touch that cart!”

“What?” Harley gulped. He thought he did somethin’ bad, for the store worker to get so mean with him.

“You’ll upset the cart and I’ll have to pick up all that stuff off the floor,” she growled. So, he put ‘em back and walked outta the store.

Do you ‘member, Cletus, when somebody like that woulda been fired on the spot? It got me wonderin’ what ever happened to good old-fashioned manners.

Do you suppose manners got left behind when it became popular to be offended at ever'thing? Mebbe it went farther back than that.

Ah remember back in 1960, there was a woman named Madelyn Hurry O-Dare or somethin’ like that. She took her little boy’s lunch to school one day when he forgot it, and passin’ by a classroom, she saw kids startin’ their class with prayer and Bible readin’. Boy, was she mad!

That woman filed a case with the Supreme Court. She got ‘em to make a rule that teachers couldn’t read the Bible in classrooms and couldn’t pray. Said she wanted to protect her little boy ‘cause he wuz an atheist and had his rights. And that’s when most of the other folks started to lose theirs.

Ah think, Cletus, people started losing respect for one another back then. Granddaddy used to say people would rather be on top of a pile of monkeys than under a holy God.

That makes me think of a song Harley’s kids learned. They sang it to me last week.

It seems to unbelievable, and yet they say it’s true.

They’re teaching us about it in school now, that humans were monkeys once too.

I’m no kin to a monkey; the monkey’s no kin to me.

I don’t know much about his ancestors, but mine didn’t swing from a tree.

So, Cletus, as long as people think we’re all animals, ah guess they’ll keep actin’ like ‘em. Just between you and me, we’re still enjoyin’ good manners here in the holler.

Y’all come visit soon. Lem’s Gen’ral Store had a sale on orange sodee pop and ah stocked up.

Your cuz,


What about you? Ever find people in public with good manners? (I'm thinking of a certain fast-food chicken place where they still practice them.) Feel free to comment below.


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