Three little words

We are now into the season where we wish others, "happy holidays," "peace and joy," "love and good cheer," and of course, "happiness." Many of these are meant to extend into the coming year.

To me, though, there are three other words that we should wish for everyone we know and new friends we meet. Those simple words are courtesy, respect and manners.

How wonderful our lives would be if we not only wished these to others, but also if we practiced these ourselves.

As I have mentioned at other times in my column, my father was a stickler on manners. He always said that if you can't be anything else, you can at least be mannerly.

We were taught to say "please" and "thank you." We didn't dare let a door close if someone were coming behind us into a building.

We were to hold the door open for someone else to enter or exit. And we didn't dare make disgusting bodily noises at the dinner table.

I remember once at the dinner table, I think I drank my milk too fast. Suddenly, this huge belch came out of me so fast I didn't have time to hide it.

Dad gave me a hairy eyeball and told me to excuse myself. I tried to make light of the embarrassing situation by saying that, in Japan, a good loud burp is a compliment to the cook, so I was just complimenting Mom on an excellent meal. He told me to politely go thank a Japanese lady.

The second word, courtesy, goes with manners. One place where we no longer find much courtesy is on the highway.

It used to be if a slow moving vehicle like a school bus or some form of heavy equipment would get several cars backed up behind it, the driver would pull over and let cars pass them.

Now, the drivers of such vehicles like to see how many cars they can hold up. And, of course, the first two cars are afraid to pass it. I am always the third car.

The other day on the Miola Road, I got behind what looked like a tractor pulling a corn picker, followed by some other type of farm equipment, and a semi that is used to haul the corn from the picker bringing up the rear.

They were tight together so there was no way I could pass one and get back in my lane. And, of course, I was the third car in line.

From the Toby Bridge to near the stone church at Miola, we traveled at a whopping 7 to 15 miles an hour. Finally, I couldn't take it.

After all, patience has never been one of my strong points. I said to my car, "Come on Baby. You have the power to do this."

There was no one coming so I floored it and flew past the two cars in front of me, and as I was passing the semi, the mail man was coming at me.

I insinuated myself between the semi and this huge massive red thing with tires higher than me. The mail man passed and I took off again with my horn blasting.

I'm sure my horn had no effect on the two things I passed, but it made me feel better that I finally defeated the monsters that had me on the verge of road rage.

Those monsters could have pulled over at several different places along the road, but they were not being driven by courteous people.

I have no idea how long they held up traffic because there were no other cars in my mirror until I got onto State Route 36 and headed to Leeper, content with the fact that I beat the road hogs.

The third word I would like to wish everyone is respect. I have always said that to get respect you have to earn respect.

When I was teaching, the first day of school every year someone would ask me what my rules for the classroom were. I simply told them that I had no written rules.

I just told them that I knew they wanted to be treated as responsible young adults and to get this respect they had to act like responsible young adults. I never had any discipline problems that I couldn't take care of myself.

And so, to my readers, I wish you joy, happiness, love, and all the wonderful things of the season and for the coming year.

I also wish you to be treated mannerly, courteously, and respectfully, and hope that you will pay it forward and be mannerly, courteous, and respectful.

Maybe you could leave your quarter in the Aldi's cart like someone did for me yesterday.

The author is a retired English teacher. Originally from Rimersburg, she resides in Leeper. She can be reached at