Ap­pre­ci­at­ing some old-school civility at the Broad­moor

The Denver Post - - TRAVEL - CHRYSS CADA Around Colorado

colorado springs» try to avoid the word “ironic” be­cause it is so of­ten mis­used, but when a shout­ing match breaks out dur­ing an etiquette class, I’m go­ing to say it fits.

The “Mind­ing Your Ps and Qs” class was just wrap­ping up in the Broad­moor’s stately Pen­rose Room when one of fa­thers called out another about his son’s “rude be­hav­ior” — which in­cluded talk­ing over and in­ter­rupt­ing the in­struc­tor all the while bounc­ing up and down on the up­hol­stered gold-framed chairs.

Of course, that in­struc­tor, a pa­tient young man named Travis Moli­nari, who serves as som­me­lier and su­per­vi­sor in the Pen­rose Room, wasn’t the least ruf­fled as he con­tin­ued with his nap­kin-fold­ing demon­stra­tion.

And though I crossed paths with the other class mem­bers re­peat­edly through­out our stay, the trou­ble­mak­ers were never to be seen again. (Maybe they were at one of the re­sort’s re­mote fish­ing cab­ins for fur­ther etiquette train­ing.)

Af­ter all, there is a cer­tain way to be­have at Colorado’s bas­tion of re­fine­ment.

My fam­ily headed to the Broad­moor’s Thanks­giv­ing week­end be­cause, like a lot of peo­ple, my hus­band, two daugh­ters and I found our­selves in need of some civility this fall. The mega-re­sort/golf course is the pin­na­cle of po­lite­ness. Vis­i­tors leave the noisy world be­hind when step­ping into its mar­ble halls with chan­de­liers twin­kling

Iover­head and air scented with fresh bou­quets. The cas­tle-like fortress, with heavy vel­vet draperies to shut out the out­side world, has been an es­cape to the time of Euro­pean court life for nearly 100 years.

It’s a place where you need never open your own door, where gen­tle­men tip their hat and a lady never feels over­dressed (at any time of day, peo­ple just as­sume you are head­ing to an event in one of the re­sort’s many ball­rooms).

Is it old school? Ab­so­lutely. But some­times a re­turn to a more well-man­nered time is just what a per­son needs to get away from the tri­als of mod­ern life.

The new etiquette class is just one of the ways the Broad­moor is re­viv­ing the golden age of po­lite­ness. A cou­ple’s waltz­ing class and a fam­ily ball­room danc­ing class have also been added to the re­sort’s of­fer­ing of free classes, which ranges from fly fish­ing to bowl­ing to yoga.

Al­though we have house rules about how to be­have around the ta­ble at home, I thought we would kick up our daugh­ters’ etiquette ed­u­ca­tion to a higher level — and let them hear about man­ners from some­one other than their par­ents for a change.

I knew we had made the right choice when I read my daugh­ter’s notes in her care­ful fourth­grade cur­sive:

•Work your way in for the sil­ver­ware.

•No blow­ing on food when it’s hot.

•Never take the first piece of bread.

•Be the first to start a con­ver­sa­tion if oth­ers are strug­gling.

Al­though the list went on for two pages, the state­ment on the front of our “Din­ing Etiquette” hand­book sums up the pur­pose of the course: “To dis­play cour­tesy to oth­ers no mat­ter what the sit­u­a­tion.”

As for the need for etiquette, man­ners guru Ju­dith Martin ex­plains it this way: “Etiquette is all hu­man so­cial be­hav­ior. It mat­ters be­cause we want to live in rea­son­ably har­mo­nious com­mu­ni­ties.”

Some would ar­gue there is no need for the for­mal­i­ties they teach at the Broad­moor, be­cause hardly any­body plays by such strict rules any­more. That might be true, but maybe more of us should.

I can tell you it was very pleas­ing to sit down at brunch the next day and know what to do with all the sil­ver­ware and glasses set in front of us. And it was an amus­ing ex­er­cise to have my hus­band stand up ev­ery time one of us got up from or ar­rived back at the ta­ble. He got in a mini­work­out, and we all felt special.

It’s the same way peo­ple feel special ev­ery time the door is held open for them, in­stead of swing­ing shut in their face.

Be­cause it’s nice to be no­ticed in a busy world, my fam­ily is com­mit­ted to bring­ing some of the po­lite calm of the Broad­moor home with us. The true test will be if I can stop a shout­ing match from break­ing out over who gets the first piece of bread at din­ner. Chryss Cada is a free­lance jour­nal­ist and Colorado State Univer­sity ad­junct pro­fes­sor based in Fort Collins. Find her on the web at chryss.com.

A young girl takes notes in an etiquette class at the Broad­moor in Colorado Springs.

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