DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband's oldest friend (a female) told us last week that she planned to come to visit us. On many previous occasions, I have invited her and her husband to stay with us overnight.
However, since their last visit, she committed (in my opinion) a grievous social faux pas by telling a woman of our mutual acquaintance that my husband appeared to be planning to get a divorce. This led to the woman's inviting my husband to her home for dinner and other socializing, unfortunately more than once.
Do you think I should be chastised for not inviting her to stay at my home on this latest trip?
GENTLE READER: That person who is chastising you -- is he also accepting invitations proffered on the understanding that he was planning a divorce?
If so, you have more problems than Miss Manners can help you with. But she can answer the point of etiquette: A guest who spreads gossip about the hosts is rude and should not be invited back. She hopes that settling this point will restore the household harmony.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, they did not want a big party, just a small gathering with their children and grandchildren. We, the daughters, wanted to put together a scrapbook of memories from their friends and families. So we sent out an announcement about their 50th anniversary.
In the announcement, we made it clear that our parents did not want gifts of any kind. We did, however, ask that each person write down a memory of the couple or some kind words and send it back on the paper we had included with our self-addressed stamped envelope.
We had sent out about 60 and only about 25 responded. I thought that was very rude of the people that did not even send a "Congratulations" note to them. Remember, these are supposed to be friend and family members. Thoughts?
GENTLE READER: That there must be professional editors who get less of a return when they hand out writing assignments.
Miss Manners appreciates your kind intentions to your parents, and understands that you feel you are asking little of their friends. And she agrees that as they now know of the anniversary, they should at least send congratulations.
But consider: They are not going to think that dashing off mere congratulations would be enough for such a book. They are going to want to write something special, touching and clever.
So of the missing 35, nine can't think of an interesting anecdote, 18 have your request on their desks and have resolved to think about it when they've finished a pile of other tasks, and eight are out of town.
Please do not be bitter about this. While you quite properly have not requested presents, you have requested other people's time and ability for what is, after all, your present. The chief part of the book should be written by you children, with the others' submissions -- and any you receive from people who stop procrastinating -- should be add-ons.