I was commenting on John Gray's blog this morning when I was reminded, as we are, of this old phrase of my mother's.
The life lessons of an Irish mammy.
Along with never marching off to visit anyone with "your arms the same length", "holding your end up" was another essential one.
"Holding your end up" involved:
Writing thank you notes for everything and anything tossed your way no matter how awful or badly knitted or even wrapped in newspaper.
Never letting the family secrets out of the cupboard.
Not wearing raggedy underwear in case there was an accident and then the whole hospital would be talking about you and yours. Forever amen.
As soon as you landed on Irish soil, no matter how long away, you were put on the phone to every aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparent to tell them you'd arrived and to give them all the news. Hours I'm telling you. Hours.
Table manners: The right and the wrong way to hold the fork. And always decline seconds of everything. Never be the first one into the chocolate box.
QED: Make sure everyone knows how well you were raised.