Is not dead. The era of knights and fire-breathing dragons may be ancient relics of a romantic twilight, but chivalry is never past. Despite modern thought which deems it old-fashioned, it still sputters valiently here and there amidst the ravages of a cynical culture. Nevertheless, for lack of teaching it is slipping into obscurity. You rarely run across it these days. But sometimes, sometimes it can surpirse you.
The other day mom and I went shopping together at a local Salvation Army. We like to call it Sal’s Boutique. I love shopping at thrift stores – it’s like hunting for treasures. So we browsed our way through the store, picking up a few odds and ends, generally spending more time than we allowed ourselves – we still had other errands to do. One of the items we bought was a pine-wood dresser. It had 5 drawers, and would be perfect for storing winter hats and mittens. We hemmed and hawed a little while, not sure if the dresser was worth buying as it was priced, we thought, too high, considering one of the drawers wobbled and stuck and wouldn’t close all the way. But in the end we decided it’d be foolish not to grab it. So with mom on one side and me on the other we tilted it to lift it up.
Only 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide and roughly 60#, the dresser wasn’t too bulky for two ladies to carry. Besides, I’m a big strong girl – and certainly not afraid to use a good pair of biceps.
We had just hoisted it when a thin scrawny man stopped next to us. He was short. About 5’2″ I’d say and from what I could guess just by looking at him, I’d say he was near 60. I stood a whole head and shoulders taller than him.
“You ladies need help?” he asked, pulling his hands from his pockets. “I can carry that to the front for you.”
“Thanks, but I think we can manage,” mom said.
“If you’re sure,” the scrawny man shrugged. “But if you do…” he let the words trail as he moved off down the narrow aisle.
Mom and I got a grip and carried the dresser to the front. It didn’t take long to pay for the stuff. Before we left the building the scrawny man again offered to carry the dresser, this time to our car. But we politely declined.
“I appreciate it very much,” mom said, “but since my daughter is with me we can handle it.”
We left the building. Walking down the sidewalk, the dresser diagonal between us, another tall, eldery, white-haired gentleman proffered his assistance. He must’ve been clost to 70!
“We got it! Thanks!”
We reached the van. I opened the hatch. Mom said: “See! And we thought chivalry was dead!”
Yep. Until then, it had sure looked like Chivalry, that “code of manners in war and love” was extinct.
But even so how come it was just the old men who had offered? I mean, Sals was mobbed with people, (due to Halloween and half-price day). I saw at least half-a-dozen grungy, muscular college guys hanging around. (Seems it’s the fashion nowadays to look grungy). And yet they didn’t even bat an eye, not to mention offer their help. Sure, I know. We didn’t need help. But it sure does make a body feel good to know that even if WE didn’t think so, SOMEONE ELSE thought we did; and I think that right there says alot for a person’s values, upbringing, and what they have been taught.
I don’t know why they don’t teach boys and young men chivalry anymore.
I wish they would.