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And Another Thing.

Sounds like you agree with me about grammar. Thanks for the encouragement, Joan, and I'll keep on nagging, rather, reminding, my grandkids.

While I'm still ranting let me add something else that really irks me. The ATM at Chase, when I've withdrawn my cash, asks if I'd like another transaction and the options for my response are

Yes No

And every time I see that I say, "What's the magic word?"

Years ago when I was a waitress I asked a kid if he'd like ice cream with his pie and he replied, "Nah." And I said, without thinking, "Don't you mean 'No, thank you?'" His mother gave me a dirty look but if I'd ever spoken to a waitress or anyone else like that I'd have gotten a smack. Well, at least a stern reprimand and a command to apologize. I wasn't alone; my friend, Jill's dad told her that her thank you's came too quickly like thankyouverymuch! and sounded glib and insincere. So, manners counted.

Now a few of our democratically elected leaders are behaving as if they'd never been taught the very basics of civility, so much so that I want to say,"Who raised you?" but that would be rude.


We humans have an ugly tradition of giving offensive names to the stranger, the one we are told to welcome into our midst, someone we don't know, who is different from us. With Woke we are asked to change that, to call people or to address them as they would like, to ask--"What would you like to be called? What terms should I use for this conversation?"

What's so hard about that? Why in the world is it offensive?

I agree with Andy Warhol--I want everybody to like everybody. If you can't manage that, at least be nice. There's a neighborhood in Louisiana with the motto, "Be Nice or Leave."

If you can't manage that, try what the Church in the Village says on its message board,

"Forgive your enemies--it messes with their heads."

Danusha Lameris says it better than I can.

Small Kindnesses

I've been thinking about the way, when you walk

down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs

to let you by. Or how strangers still say "bless you"

when someone sneezes, a leftover

from the bubonic Plague. "Don't die," we are saying.

And sometimes, when you spill lemons

from your grocery bag, someone else will help you

pick them up. Mostly, we don't want to harm each other.

We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,

and to say thank you to the person handing it. to smile

at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress

to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,

and for the driver of the red pick-up truck to let us pass.

We have so little of each other, now. So far

from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.

What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these

fleeting temples we make together when we say, Here,

have my seat," "Go ahead--you first," "I like your hat."

Pen and ink drawing of a lodge house

dachshund sniffing a pen and ink drawing

June 08, 2023

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