DEAR MISS MANNERS: In the midst of a special Thanksgiving dinner last year, one of the other guests stopped conversation cold by asking our hostess if she realized that one of the bulbs in her antique French porcelain chandelier was burned out.
I was sitting too far from the guest to kick her under the table, and our hostess could not see the lightbulb from her seat at the head of the table. Our host, at the other end, apologized immediately, as he is the custodian of lightbulbs (as well as an excellent sommelier).
I apologized to our hostess for the other guest's rudeness and told the guest she should have either said nothing at all or waited until later and said something in private.
The other guest insists it was something she thought our hostess, who had spent days setting a beautiful table and preparing our feast, would want to know. I am equally sure she did not want to know right then.
We will all be gathering again this Thanksgiving. If something similar should occur, what is the correct way to proceed? Should I make a point of sitting next to this guest so I can kick her if she says something inappropriate?
GENTLE READER: Lightbulbs burn out without warning, and Miss Manners does not consider the hosts disgraced by this, nor humiliated to have it noticed.
What is a disgrace is a guest who presumes to scold, much less kick, the other guests.