Chivalry Still Lives

With age comes change. Some we embrace, such as shorter bank lines and retirement but there are other changes we loath such as aches, pains and forgetfulness. There are some things however that just does not seem to change with age such as principles, love, core values and chivalry. This thought was riveted on my mind as I was blown away by the expression of tenderest care as I watched Philip Antonio open the car door for his daughter, watch her get seated then closing the door before taking his seat. Did I mention that his pace is slowed, that he is slightly bent forward, that he uses a cane to help him walk or that he is 91 years old? Now you may understand my intrigue with his gracious demeanor.

When questioned about this display of affection, his daughter Terri responded “ Oh Daddy, my daddy is a gentleman par excel lance.” For as long as she can recall, he never sits to the dinner table without first pulling the chair for his daughters and wife or any other lady who may be dining. This transitioned outside the home to any female who shared his space creating an atmosphere of refinement wherever he went. Even more valuable than the comfort of being assisted is the sense of value and self esteem that is transmitted to the recipient of his kindness.

His sister Elizabeth, recalls similar mannerisms in their father William Wilshere Antonio who she insists is the “nicest dad in the world”. Being the older sister she recounts the tenderness with which he treated her but says it has got even better with age as she too greatly admires his finesse. This display transcends habit. It springs form a place of love and care. For his daughter Terri, one of the most memorable expressions of his love occurred on a raining afternoon when Phil Antonio was seen waiting for her at her office with an umbrella, just to walk her across the street to the parking lot where her car was parked. Much like a generational blessing, his chivalrous practices have become the hallmark of his son and grandson and an anticipated privilege to his daughters and grand daughters.

Chivalry is more than a show it is the outward manifestation of deep seated virtues such as courage, mercy, generosity, faith, hope and nobility. So say chivalry is dead is to proclaim doom. Christian men bring hope to a harsh and uncouth world by displaying understanding, pure affection and refinement to everyone in their path. So if only in the Centerville Seventh-day Adventist Church, I know chivalry is still alive and much adored. Just ask many women who are sure to greet Philip Antonio before leaving the hallowed spot each Sabbath.

Article By: Patrice Williams-Gordon
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