laplumeDear LAP,

We’re blessed with a swimming pool and use it daily. We frequently have friends on the weekend to swim; it’s always a potluck picnic. Everyone brings great food, but one family never, ever brings their own towels. I’ve told them they should do so, that I have plenty of laundry of my own. They pay no mind. We hate to stop inviting them, as one of their boys is best friends with our son. The child is too little to know to bring his own towel. I hope you have a solution.

Not a Laundromat

Dear Not,

What am I missing here? Do they raid your linen closet for towels? Just don’t offer them one. Give the child a washcloth next time. Buy them each a pool towel as a Christmas gift (I received a great one myself last Christmas with pockets on the side for stuff. It was kind of perplexing in December but it has become one of my favorites.) Or give me your address and I will send you some permanently stained ones that were used to remove lipstick and mascara by my previously mentioned house guests.

L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

Hubby and I were recently visiting friends at their island cottage in New England.

They showed us around, we got a little settled in our room, then went to the great room just before cocktail hour. Our host poured us a drink, then announced we were on “summer rules.” What are “summer rules?”



Dear Merri,

The first question is, did you have more than one drink? “Summer rules” are when the host fixes you the first cocktail then you fix your own thereafter. It allows you the freedom to fix a drink just the way you like it. Presumably the host isn’t counting how many drinks you are consuming because they are not making them for you. I, personally, find this a highly civilized way to entertain; it is a custom that applies in my home year round.

L.A. Plume


Dear L. A. Plume,

Our house on a barrier island is well protected by dunes, which of course have sea oats to hold the land. There’s a small wooden walkway to get to the beach. We had friends visit with small children, and though I asked everyone to use the walk to get to the beach, the kids ran and played on the dunes. I think this was bad manners and also eroded the fragile ecosystem. Not to mention that replenishing the sand ups all of our homeowners association dues. My entreaties to “Keep Off” fell on deaf ears. What should I have done?


Dear Bee,

Do you know if these are the same people who go to their neighbors’ house without towels? I have a question – why do some parents think that going on vacation seems to be a vacation from parenting?

Buy a couple of dog collars and leashes and next time ask the parents if they mind if you walk their children to the beach since they can’t mind the signs and rules.

L.A. Plume

Editor’s Note: In our next issue, LA Plume will team up with Debbi Covington (Everyday Gourmet) for a dual feature on entertaining with ease. Don’t miss it!


Read more Calling Card