laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

I moved to town a few years ago and my next door neighbor was my best friend until she moved away; now we never see each other and rarely talk. I keep wondering if it was something I did, or said, that I’m not aware of. How can I find out?


Dear Curious,

Well, the first thing you can do is just ask. There are all those quotes about relationships being for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, and that may be true. I’m also a fan of believing in relationships based on geography; it’s not uncommon that place is what bonds us at a particular time.   

L. A. Plume

Dear Ms.Plume,

Is it okay to put the catsup or salad dressing bottle directly on the dinner table without even the benefit of a plate underneath?  Or the carton of milk? We have just returned from my son and daughter-in-law’s home, where we spent a couple of days celebrating the birthday of one of our grandchildren. When they come to visit us, we have dinner, as we do every evening and did when our children were growing up, using the dining room table covered with place mats or a table cloth, fabric dinner napkins in silver napkin rings, and china. I don’t expect this from my daughter-in-law, as it just isn’t her style, but I think for a birthday party, it would be polite to evidence some of the niceties of entertaining. 

Loving Granny

Dear Loving,

It could be worse; there could have been a bottle of bourbon in a paper bag on the table without a coaster underneath. One of these days, when you entertain your grandchildren in your home, you can indulge in teaching them how to set a party table. In the meanwhile just imagine that life is a picnic and can be enjoyed as such.