I’m no stickler for etiquette,
but I’ve always been impressed by good manners;
witness our numerous books on the subject.

So after visiting with friends,
and hearing their son say, “Yes, Mam” and “Yes, Sir,”
I tried to get you to do the same.

Maybe I hadn’t started early enough
or you didn’t hear others with the habit,
but those words didn’t stick.

More than a dozen years have passed.
Imagine my surprise, then, to find that
you are becoming a Southern gentleman.

Though your bow ties amuse me,
I love that you honor tradition by
writing a stanza for the school sesquicentennial.

Who else makes sure my glass is full,
knows when to put an arm on my shoulder,
or asks about one of my projects?

When you were little,
you calculated how to get what you wanted.
That scared me.

Now you are exploring what makes you happy,
learning the power of gestures and words in the world,
and giving to others.