Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 55

By | February 18, 2024

[February 18, 2024]  For the gazillionth time, my Mom told me to get my elbows off the table and to stop chewing with my mouth open.  Supper time was the most important meal of the day, and everyone in our family was to be there – like a rule – I was told to help by setting the table correctly.  Forks were set on the right, and knives on the left.  We were to pass bowls of food in the clockwise direction and, once done, clear the table.  And to wash and put away the dishes.

Not Hungary!  “Eat your dinner, ’cause people are starving in China.”  This was a typical one-way conversation at the kitchen table, Dad to Douglas.  “Eat or go to bed without eating.” I thought to myself that Mom and Dad were just making this up to make me eat my vegetables.  But starting in 1958, the greatest famine in recorded human history began in communist China.

Supper time was family time, and we all talked about our day; much to my Dad’s happiness, I would talk about my excitement of hunting, fishing, swimming, floating down the river, camping and frogging, throwing pebbles at bats and catching snakes.  The “girls” preferred other subjects so uninteresting to me that I can’t even remember them.  If you didn’t talk, both Mom and Dad quizzed you, and you had better answer in a complete sentence.

No matter where we lived, our supper meal time was sacrosanct; it was a window of time for the family, and little else was allowed. Occasionally, some off-topic subject would be brought up and quickly shot down, like how excited I was to see a movie.  They made an exception for the movie “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charleston Heston, Yul Brynner, and Anne Baxter because we were a dedicated religious family.

Dad educating us on religious beliefs was okay for table talk.  My brother and I sometimes, during very rare times, we’re allowed to see a film at the “cinema” – today known as a movie theater – by ourselves or see it on our black and white “tv set.”  Doing either required special permission from Dad.

Mom insisted we act “civilized” and did not tolerate lousy table manners.  By the time I was nine, I knew more about how to set a table, eat with a fork and knife, hold them correctly, sit up straight, and say, “Please pass the taters,” better than any kid today.  I quickly discovered that wiping my greasy fingers on my pants was a bad idea.  Those manners helped me get by later as an adult, and today, I find myself teaching Boy Scouts how to eat with utensils without embarrassing themselves or their moms.  And they remember.

“Don’t kick your brother under the table, Douglas Reid!” my Mom would say in frustration.  I knew how to behave right when she used my middle name.  Several times, I brought nightcrawler worms and set them on the table near my plate to goad my younger sister into screaming: it always worked.  I would laugh and laugh, even when Mom swatted me in the butt.  I was careful, only playing tricks when Dad was out of town, which was rare.

Mom must have pulled her hair out with the antics my brother and I played, but you would never know it.  She never yelled.  Nothing seemed to get her riled up, ever.  Lucky for Philip and me.  I dared my brother to put a frog on our sister Terri’s lap at supper.  He wimped out.  Maybe he was too smart, although it would have been a real screamer.

My favorite meal was fried chicken, mashed ‘taters, green beans, cornbread, and okra.  If watermelon was in season, all the better. But the best dessert was the pecan pie that Bigmama made.  I was not too fond of the taste of fried liver, spinach, pig’s feet, cottage cheese, and onions.  I ate them anyway and didn’t complain much.

But we all survived meal time.  My brother Philip and I did our best to eat as fast as possible so we could ask permission to be dismissed from the table.  Most of the time, it worked, but if either parent was in one of their moods, we had to sit there until everyone was finished; such torture, we thought.

Mom would say, “You can tell a good person by the manners their parents teach them.”


NOTE: See all my letters here: https://www.theleadermaker.com/granddaughter-letters/


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

35 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 55

  1. Nicholas Freedman

    Fantastic letter to your granddaughter. I only hope she reads it.

  2. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent job my friend. Your mom and dad taught you well with good manners. I preached this last year.
    Good manners will take you place in life. Bad manner is like having bad breath. No one wants to be around you. Lets used this in our comments.

  3. Emmanuel T.

    Once again, a beautiful letter to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter. Let us hope and pray 🙏🏻 that she reads these and is able to understand one path to future success like her grandfather. Today, that is a concern because of all the evil things being taught to kids and they are told this is normal. I hope that soon, Gen. Satterfield addresses those in his blog. Sir, keep writing your letters. They are more than lovely, they are a log of your life and a lesson to your grandkids.

  4. Maximilian Krämer

    Gen. Satterfield, altho I’m new to your blog, I find it hard not to read your daily comments and now this book review too. I went back to read some of your earlier letters and they are very very enlightening and, of course, loving. Your granddaughter will be proud of her letters you’ve written. ✉️

        1. Eddie Gilliam

          Welcome aboard ijore. My friend Gen Douglas Satterfield blog is very interesting
          My friend Doug you nailed it again.
          “Mom would say, “You can tell a good person by the manners their parents teach them.”
          My mom told us the same thing growing up. You maybe poor but your good manners will get you through life with great success.
          The table manner were crucial. I ran into some people who had bad table manners I correct this with my eyes of disapproval that fixed problem.
          My mom use the same words your dad used about eating your food. There are many people hunger overseas. Mealtime gets to share meals with family and share your thoughts. Doing this allows our parents to detach anything wrong with us that needed to address. It shows they care.
          Fried chicken 🍗 is a common meal for the southern states 😋. My mom and grandma fried chicken was the awesome.

    1. Eddie Gilliam

      Welcome aboard Maximilian. Feel free to make comments on the blogs.

  5. Patriot Wife

    Yes, another wonderful loving letter to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter. Thanks Gen. S. for sharing.

  6. Peigin

    Sir, well done. Another great letter to your granddaughter and a welcome addition to the many others you’ve published. Recently, I started sending your letters to my sister in California and she is now a big fan of them, as well. Together she and I have a small fan club and share such things we believe to be mostly entertaining and helpful to young women. Your letters are a breath of fresh air to us and are helpful beyond words. Please continue writing your letters and we will keep using them to help young women.

  7. Doc Blackshear

    Mom would say, “You can tell a good person by the manners their parents teach them.”
    Great philosophy by Gen. Satterfield’s mother … Mom. She nails it.

    1. Jerome Smith

      Ayn Jalut. Yes, indeed. Gen. Satterfield is giving us something more than mere entertainment, which these letters surely are, but he is giving us an idea of what it takes to make a moral, strong, resilient leader. It’s not just about being strong or competent but also moral. Let us never forget that non-moral leaders can be great at leadership but have no internal compass so they are highly likely to go wrong and never know it. This is what happens so often and we are seeing it today in American where the Democrats have lost their morals and are helping the evil elements of our society take over and yet they cannot see it for their own blindness.

    1. Pen Q

      Welcome to Gen. Satterfield’s “letters to my granddaughter.” Good to have you here. If you have questions or would like to have your ideas given a look, then this is the place.

    2. Hal

      Yes, welcome Abu. Good to have you writing and reading in this leadership forum. If you have any questions, please ask them here.

  8. The Observer

    Another wonderfully written and compassionate letter. Gen. Satterfield is doing wonders with his letters to his granddaughter. Let us hope that she reads them. At the very least, she will have with her an idea of her grandfather and will be able to open the book (if Gen. S. writes this book, which I hope he does) and anytime, peruse his ideas and his upbringing. Thanks all for their comments and support to encourage Gen. S. to continue writing his letters.

      1. Nick Lighthouse

        I was thinking the same thing JT. The OBserver, well done. We are all next anticipating another letter, No. 56. Can’t wait for it.
        Here is my favorite quote: “Not Hungary! “Eat your dinner, ’cause people are starving in China.” This was a typical one-way conversation at the kitchen table, Dad to Douglas. “Eat or go to bed without eating.” I thought to myself that Mom and Dad were just making this up to make me eat my vegetables. But starting in 1958, the greatest famine in recorded human history began in communist China.”

  9. Yusaf from Texas

    YES! Gen. Satterfield strikes again with Numero 55 in his letters to his granddaughter. Wonderful job!

  10. False Idols

    Great letter, once again. Thanks Gen. Satterfield for sharing. On a similar note, kids today know NO manners, except those from Christian families.

  11. Janice Williamson

    No. 55 and Table Manners. Now this is unexpected but the unexpected is to be expected by Gen. Satterfield.
    Sir, your letters are beautiful.

    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Janice, exactly, Gen. Satterfield is the man for writing these letters to his granddaughter and we are the ones to fully benefit from them. I’m sure his granddaughter will appreciate them, we certainly do, and she will eventually keep them and pass them along to her children as well, if she is smart and I think she is.
      Be sure to get your copy of Gen. Satterfield’s two books”
      “55 Rules for a Good Life”
      “Our Longest Year in Iraq”
      You won’t regret your decision.

      1. Lana Morrison

        Got that right DPG. Thanks. If you don’t read his books, then you are missing out. My favorite is “55 rules for a good life.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.