laplumeDear Readers,

     Such a treat this week – my readers have written to me with answers instead of questions! Here is what they have to say to/for themselves. Thank you Merry and Mr. X!


L. A. Plume

Dear L. A. Plume

     Could you please address the issues of bad gifts from houseguests? For instance: the evening of your arrival I’m having eight other people for dinner. My table is already set, and includes a centerpiece.  I don’t need a bunch of un-arranged flowers.  Orchids are the exception to this rule.

            You know I like garlic, and if you’d thought about it, you’d know I already have a garlic press, and pretty much any other kitchen gadget that was invented before last week. So stick to the tried and true:  home made pastries or candies, wine and more wine.

     If you want to give me a picture frame – put a photo of us in it, I have boxes of empty picture frames in the basement. 

     When are you coming to visit, Ms. Plume? I have a drawer full of odd house gifts so we need to have a party with the pollyanna game. 



Dear Merry, 

     You know perfectly well when I am coming to visit and I get the message that I should return the garlic press gift for a case of Chardonnay.

L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

     Manners seems to be the sole prerogative of ladies now, where once the gentleman took the lead. Is he dead and gone or is there hope in the post women’s liberation era for gentlemen to reassert themselves without being chauvinists? Perhaps a series of hints for men from Ms. Plume could do something to stop the rot. I am sure the ladies would appreciate the help.

     Here is a starter:

     “Manners make a Man. Women’s Lib is won, it’s time to review the way gentlemen respect the new ladies. The Antebellum elegance of the South depended as much on gentlemen’s manners as on ladies’. Here is a simple update test: Gentlemen, open a door for a lady you don’t know in a store, or open a car door for a lady you do know and see the effect it has. When a lady stands to leave the table, stand up too and do the same when she returns. When you see the power of good manners you may want more of our tips for gentlemen to make the ladies feel like a million dollars without spending a dime. Now that is a deal!”

Mr. X


Dear Mr. X,

     I am glad you are back from your jaunts around the globe – we can all benefit from your expertise and good sense. I need a co-writer with the male perspective, thank you and keep up the good work!

     This is a quagmire, or marsh of pluff mud, in which we are all sinking. And of course, the etiquette of door opening, “Sir and Ma’am,” standing when a woman or elder person enters the room, giving up our seats, etc. has become so very hazy. Women often get offended when they think men find them incapable, men get offended when they can’t practice courtesies that were essential in their upbringing. Everyone needs to be more courteous and thoughtful and to consider the thought behind the gesture. 

L. A. Plume