Here's my nomination for best gift this holiday season.
Joe and Carol Fletcher (he teaches history and art at Dora High School, and she's a budget analyst at ENMU) hosted 16 members of Dora School's chapter of the Business Professionals of America for an "etiquette dinner" in their home a few days before Christmas.
Carol, who has a passion for both gourmet food and good manners, visited the school ahead of time to give a primer to her guests, including tips on which utensil to use for each course, what should (and perhaps even more importantly…shouldn't) go into a cloth napkin, and how to properly wield a soup spoon ("just because it's shaped like a shovel doesn't mean it should be used as one").
In their home, the Fletchers converted their family room into a banquet hall with a king's table set for 20, illuminated by silver candlesticks, sparkling snowflakes and a towering Christmas tree.
Over two hours, and during six elegant courses ably served by the Fletcher's seventh-grade son, Lance, and his friend, Joey, the students got to put their freshly-polished skills to practice, rehearsing manners which may soon pay off in college and job interviews.
And what did the Fletchers receive?
"The joy of giving back to our community," said Carol, "especially our youth."
Betty Williamson pledges to never lick her soup bowl clean unless she is certain nobody is watching. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.