Willow Manners

by Torry Martin

Dear B. Log,

I have to type fast ‘cause so much is going on. Oh, there goes my doorbell! Be right back…

It was Miss Willow looking for her green-handled gardening spade and pink yard flamingo. It told her my dog, Sam, had brought home a green back scratcher and a pink yard swan. She said they were hers. I was glad to hear, because now I don’t have to buy a plastic pool for the swan.

Today is the day I can begin to reveal the answers to the many questions I’ve had about my secretive neighbor.

Q: Why does Miss Willow prefer climbing in and out of her window, instead of using the front door?

A: Turns out the front door used to be where the window is. When her family updated the house after she left for Europe, the front door got moved. Miss Willow said that’s the first thing she’ll change before she opens her tea shop and etiquette school. 

By the way, and etiquette school should not be confused with an “adequate school.” Adequate means “it meets the needs.” Etiquette means “manners.” Half of Miss Willow’s first floor will be a tea shop, and the other half will be a school of manners. The two shops will have one name: “Something’s Brewing at Willow Manners.” Very clever, I think.

Just a second. Doorbell.

Miss Willow again. She’s also missing her left gardening glove. That explained the flowery, new chew toy Sam had been playing with, so I offered to buy her a new one. (Not sure which store sells only left-handed gardening gloves.)

Then I suggested that if Miss Willow would write her name on her things, it would be a lot easier to properly return any items Sam brings home. She suggested I teach Sam not to fetch things that aren’t his. So I said I’d sign Sam up for her manners class. She said a dog obedience school would be a better fit, but she’d love it if I signed up because I could use the help. I told her I’d feel funny in a class of dogs. She said she meant for me to take her first manners class. She then offered it absolutely free if I’d pay for Sam’s obedience school.

Well, I never pass up a bargain, so I said, “Sure thing!” I was so excited that I shut the door quickly. Immediately, the doorbell rang.

“The proper thing,” Miss Willow said, “is to bid your visitor farewell. You don’t just shut the door in her face!”

“Oh, sorry about that,” I said. “Thanks for the tip! Goodbye!” And I shut the door gently.

Now I’m back from my first lesson in manners, and I think the class is gonna be fun! It’s good to have a friend nearby. And a mannered one at that.

This article first appeared in the July 2010 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Torry Martin. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.