When I was in college, there were a lot of rules. Especially the first year.
Meals during that time were quite interesting. Sit on only the edge of the chair, six inches in. Stare at the top of the plate. Request everything in a specific way. Have the menu memorized. Serve the upperclassmen. Don't speak unless you're utilizing the aforementioned request sequence.
It's been (ahem) several years and all of this seems like yesterday.
There was one other thing I remember vividly about lunches during Plebe year: grace.
Yup, the blessing of the food.
Because, in the midst of all this seriousness, we said grace.
Well, actually someone said it for us.
The Regimental Commander was quite the intimidating figure back then (as adults, we became friendly and I couldn't have been more proud when he was selected as a White House Fellow several years ago). He was tall and had a deep voice with an amazing accent that revealed his Haitian heritage.
He pretty much scared the crap out of me. But that's what he was supposed to do.
And everyday he would literally say grace. I found it hilarious. He yelled out so that every student in the dining hall could hear him, "GRACE! SEATS! Eat."
Never before had I considered saying grace as, you know, saying "grace."
I recount that story because not since then had I tittered at the blessing of food until Playette came along. She gets so much satisfaction out of it. She reaches out both hands to us (she sits at the head of the table and we're on either side), says whoknowswhat (hopefully, she's not praying that we'll choke on our Brussels sprouts) and then gives all of our connected appendages two pumps to the tune of "Ayyyy-Men."
We never know if this routine will occur before we eat or right in the midst of a mouthful.
And if that wasn't enough, she recently has acquired the habit of ceremoniously licking every finger before she reaches her hand out to be held. Usually it's on my side. Today BD got wet willied, too. It's so frickin' gross.
But I laugh every time.