MISS MAN­NERS Help­ful host turns hurt­ful af­ter fire vic­tim gets sick

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - DATEBOOK - By Ju­dith Martin, Ja­cobina Martin and Ni­cholas Ivor Martin Send ques­tions to Miss Man­ners’ web­site: www.miss­man­ners.com; to her email ad­dress: dearmiss man­[email protected]; or through postal mail: Miss Man­ners, Univer­sal Uclick, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City

Dear Miss Man­ners: When I was evac­u­ated from my home be­cause of the wildfires in Cal­i­for­nia, a friend of mine opened up his home to me. I got deathly ill and ru­ined the sheets I was sleep­ing in.

I’m still re­cov­er­ing from my ill­ness, and haven’t had a chance to go to the depart­ment store to re­place the sheets. To­day I re­ceived an item­ized list of all the items that need to be re­placed and how much I should spend to re­place the sheets and other items. I’m to­tally in­sulted by his be­hav­ior. How do I pro­ceed from here with­out hav­ing any ill will?

Gen­tle Reader: Sup­press­ing a feel­ing of ill will, to­ward some­one who sends you a bill when you are home­less and ill, will not be easy. Yet Miss Man­ners urges you to try.

This was some­one who was gen­er­ous enough to take you into his home. Have you no clue as to what made him change?

In any case, you still owe grat­i­tude for the hos­pi­tal­ity he did show, as well as an apol­ogy and resti­tu­tion for the dam­age. A stiff note and a check will do it, but Miss Man­ners hopes you can bring your­self to be gra­cious, to en­cour­age the good side of your erst­while friend’s split na­ture. Dear Miss Man­ners: I wanted to honor my older sis­ter’s mem­ory on the an­niver­sary of her death by send­ing flow­ers to her hus­band and fam­ily. They live in an­other state, and we only see them once in a while. She died of lung can­cer af­ter a long and bit­ter fight to stay alive. We are all still griev­ing her loss, and her hus­band has had a very hard time. My younger sis­ter hes­i­tates to send flow­ers, as she thinks it will stir up more grief. What do you think? Gen­tle Reader: That they are al­ready up­set — which is to say still griev­ing, as you are. And that they are also aware of the an­niver­sary, which would be an es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult time. Your

choice, Miss Man­ners be­lieves, is in let­ting them suf­fer through that with or with­out you. Dear Miss Man­ners: When I en­ter­tain guests who con­sider al­co­hol sin­ful, I put the gin, bour­bon, etc. away and of­fer only soda, juices, etc., even though they know that I par­take of such ac­cou­trements. How­ever, when I am a guest at their home, they fail to of­fer me an al­co­holic bev­er­age. I feel like I’m be­ing played for a sucker. What is your knowl­edge­able opin­ion? Gen­tle Reader: That those who con­sider al­co­hol to be a nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ent of hos­pi­tal­ity should stick to bars.

Miss Man­ners is glad that you know enough not to of­fer your guests re­fresh­ment that they con­sider sin­ful, although you may con­sume it your­self. But she is puz­zled that you fail to re­al­ize that they can­not be ex­pected to stock their house with sin. Dear Miss Man­ners: What is the proper way to ask guests to chip in and help with wash­ing dishes? When it hap­pens over and over again that the same peo­ple are stuck do­ing dishes, how does one broach the sub­ject? There is noth­ing worse than the same lazy peo­ple who just get to sit around and do noth­ing.

Gen­tle Reader: They prob­a­bly don’t scrub your bath­rooms, ei­ther, the bums. Af­ter all, you don’t pay them just to sit around con­sum­ing your food.

Oh, whoops. You don’t pay them. You claim that they are your guests. In that case, Miss Man­ners re­quires you to treat them as guests. You may ac­cept any of­fer of help — some hosts pre­fer to de­cline them — but you can­not ex­pect or de­mand it.

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