The Old Woman had particular ideas about how one ought to act. She believed that one went out of their way to insure that company was comfortable and felt welcomed. Alternately, she believed that if you were a guest in someone's home, you acted as if every detail of your stay was wonderful. If the bed was lumpy, or the food terrible, you plastered a smile on your face and with all sincerity exclaimed your night to be restful and the host a skilled cook. (And, you never show up as a guest empty handed.)
She was also concerned that her children, and I, grow up to be contributing members of society.We were expected to devote our talents to the betterment of the planet. She would not have tolerated any of us becoming petty criminals, felons, or politicians.
To this end, she had some pretty specific rules designed to insure that no child (or monkey) raised in her home should be a juvenile delinquent.
One rule was that the plastic containers certain foods came in were not to be on the dinner table. Milk was generally poured into glasses and placed at the place of the person (monkey) drinking it. If there were need for milk to be put on the table for second servings, it was always poured into a pottery pitcher or earthenware jug. There was always a pitcher of ice water on the table as well.
And, the plastic container that margarine or butter was purchased in could not be put on the table. Slinging the plastic tub onto the table demonstrated a lack of care and attention to detail that could ONLY end in switch blades, underage drinking, and running for public office. She had a pottery dish that the tub fit into so that you could not see the tub.
She would probably be disappointed in the slovenly way I tend to my own table. I do put a water pitcher on the table, but I also put the butter tub on the table. BUT! When I do put the butter tub on the table (even the fancy butter from the local dairy), I always, and I mean ALWAYS, admonish the people (monkeys) around my table to not grow up to be juvenile delinquents. There is a standard, after all.