The Napkin goes on the left.
At age 26, I can't tell left from right when I'm driving, or faced with a fork in the road, but I will always, ALWAYS remember which side of the plate my napkin belongs on. I also know how to sew buttons, make pillows using old pantyhose for stuffing, and of course, how to paint. Grandma taught me how to doggy-paddle in the river, catch crayfish and clams, and row a boat. Grandma had me exercising my creativity painting her garden ornaments, and no matter how completely awful they looked when I was finished, she set them out for everyone to see in that place of honor by the front steps.
Grandma always mended my stuffed animals when they needed it and unflinchingly fed me goulash at 4 in the morning to make sure I had eaten something before I got on a flight back home when I came to visit her in Florida. She didn't mind how many paper cups I used to set up crude lizard traps in her garden. Grandma ingrained in me the use of matching towel sets, even if my guests don't quite know what to do with them all.
After a week with Grandma in the summer, I always had something to show for myself. Whether it was cookies that we had helped bake, cabinets we had organized to perfection, completed sewing projects, grass clipping around the old barn at Uncle Dave's, or paint and repair jobs, she always made sure we had done something we could take pride in and show off to Mom and Dad when they came to pick us up and have Sunday dinner.
She taught us hard work, and aside from the grass clipping, it was always worth the rewards. Trips to Cole Park to go row-boating, swimming in the river, riding the wagon recklessly down the sidewalk, evenings spent playing ping pong and watching Nickelodeon in the basement, or roasting marshmallows outside at the fireplace. And of course that cup of hot chocolate before bed— half a packet of mix, each—and the classic toasted cheese sandwich (hopefully without the plastic).
Napkin on the left with the dinner and salad fork on top, spoon and knife on the right. Make sure that there's ice in everyone's glass. But more importantly, family. Gathered together, sharing a meal, and spending time with one another.
Grandma taught us the most important things, and I will always remember.