DEAR MISS MANNERS: Never did I imagine that I would live to see the day that I would be invited to Thanksgiving at the home of an out-of-town acquaintance and arrive bearing a turkey and wine, only to be abandoned in the early afternoon of the holiday, while my hosts answered a better dinner offer, which kept them away until almost 11 p.m. without so much as a phone call, let alone a formal apology.
Yet this is exactly what I endured. The pretense was that they were stopping in at a friend's for an hour or two to give their regards -- much, it seems to me, like a teen-age girl who receives a last-minute invitation to the prom from the football quarterback and leaves her original date standing at her front door holding a corsage.
It was overhearing them gripe that I had the temerity to take home some of the leftover bird, as well as my remaining bottle of wine (which, I might add, was a gracious, and not inexpensive, gift from my own family, and which I subsequently offered my friend after he came to stay at my home in the days immediately following the holiday) that makes this one for the record books. I can only assume that they wanted to reciprocate their own dinner hosts for their generosity and were bitter that this might necessitate their dipping into their own reserves, now that the sucker had wised up.
Nevertheless, I am aware that two wrongs do not make a right. Did I indeed make an etiquette faux pas? Was I wrong thinking one needn't extend absurd gratitude for the equivalent of a backhanded slap across the face?
GENTLE READER: Right you are: Two wrongs don't make a right. They just give rude people material with which to be even ruder. Miss Manners assures you that these people are running around saying, "We stepped out for just a minute, and she went off in a huff with her turkey bones under one arm and her bottle under the other."
And you missed the opportunity to go home while they were out, leaving a note saying, "Thank you for giving me a great Thanksgiving."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are in our late 60s, a widower and a widow who just got married, and we both have married children and grandchildren. Please address blended family signatures on cards to blended family members. What is the proper way to sign cards for the married children and grandchildren each of us have? Love, Mom and Dad? Love, Grandma and Grandpa?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners has the impression that you care more that your titles match each other than that they match what your various relatives call you. She puts this down to your being newlyweds and considers it all very sweet.
However, it might startle middle-aged people who had not thought of the newcomer as "Mom" or "Dad," however pleased they may have been at the marriage. And it might puzzle grandchildren who have a hard enough time as it is distinguishing one pair of grandparents from the other. If such is the case, you should sign "Love, Mom and Terence," or "Love, Grandpa and Grandma-Jenny."