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Compliments of the season

While my mother was staying with me over Christmas I took her to a favourite restaurant that I normally go to with friends. The owner was delighted to meet the mother of a regular, tactfully refrained from telling her how much I normally drink, and dispensed, along with a glass of port on the house, a well-worn compliment:

"Mama? I thought you were sisters!"

My mother laughed, taking the remark with a pinch of salt not needed for the food. I laughed too, but should I have? Perhaps he meant that I looked as old as my mother.

That the remark is always taken as a compliment to the mother rather than an insult to the daughter shows that neither believes it.