laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

Last year for Christmas I received a gift certificate for a local restaurant from a colleague. My co-worker used her similar gift certificate and found it was for fifty dollars. Mine, when I went to use it recently, turned out to be for one dollar and twenty four cents. I asked the restaurant to double check, but it was a bit busy that night and the waitress said she was sure that was what was “left” on the card. It seems that I may have been given a gift certificate that had already been used, or was not properly processed, or was meant to be insulting. Since it is our custom to exchange gifts, I am at a bit of a loss as to what give her this year.




Dear Mystified,


Well, you really can’t ask her what the value of your gift was, so you should just proceed as you have in the past and give her what you want to regardless of what she gave you. Gift giving is not intended to be an even exchange, although that isn’t a bad guideline for what to spend; but a gift should come from the heart. So get her something you believe she would enjoy. Or, if you are feeling like the Grinch, see if you can get her to give you her gift first, run to the restaurant and check the value, and then determine your course of action. If you have received another gift certificate for a dollar twenty four, smile, re-wrap it and give it to her as her gift; that takes re-gifting to its highest potential.


L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

I have been seeing a woman I met recently on an internet dating site. I have asked her to be my date for New Year’s Eve, and thought I would take her out to a nice dinner here in town. As a gentleman of a certain age, I do not care to drive long distances late at night, and I don’t know her well enough to (even know if I want to) suggest that we go further afield and spend the night somewhere. She seems to have her heart set on going to a party in Charleston, which obviously would require driving back to Beaufort well after midnight. I would like to have a few celebratory glasses of champagne and only have to drive a few blocks to get us both home. She is a connoisseur of champagne – in other words she drinks like a fish – and is not a candidate for ever driving after dinner. I don’t want to disappoint her, but what should I do?



Dear Ben,


Seriously? As a man of a certain age, are you asking a total stranger how to tell your date that you don’t want to drive to Charleston for New Year’s Eve? Check out what special evenings the local restaurants are planning, or go to the Cat Island Grill where they have a great band playing; take a cab home if you want to drink. Have fun and be safe. By the way, in my world, the person who is doing the inviting gets to make the plans; if she doesn’t like them she can just say no.


L. A. Plume


My Dear  Readers,


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Very Best Wishes for a Joyful New Year.  Breathe deeply, accept graciously, be generous of spirit, and most of all – stay safe.




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