My father was a man of feeling who always wanted his family to show their feelings for each other too. That was why he started a sociable little custom we observed every morning without fail. We always shook hands at breakfast. None of your half-hearted shakes neither, but firm grasps to show how glad we were to see one another again after a good night’s sleep… “I don’t hold with reserve. Reserve is for Scandinavians,” my father said. “If we can’t express the emotions God give us then we don’t deserve them. We’re only on loan to one another, so let’s show our feelings while we can.”
-Peter De Vries, Reuben, Reuben (1964), 1.
My father was terrified to show feeling, which he got from his very straight laced parents, his mother in particular who fancied herself a bit upper class. And unfortunately it permeates down through his children. For a few years I had a wife who hugged at every opportunity and it was one of the most liberating times of my life (a very unfair thing to say given the rules I imposed while my children were young).
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Nathan Hobby said:
Handshakes all round? These things seem to ripple through generations. I have been very blessed with affectionate parents, but I think this paragraph from De Vries is supremely funny.
Michael O'Neil said:
I thought you were talking about your own father and experience. Yes, that was funny. 😛
My Father was brought up very strictly around table manners, as the youngest of six (and an afterthought), his Father had no patience with him. Children were not allowed to speak during the meal; as a reaction, our dinnertimes were a cacophony!