DEAR MISS MANNERS: I asked a neighbor/friend if I could “borrow” an egg. He was happy to oblige. I asked if he liked banana muffins, and he said that he did.
I just got back from delivering him a couple of banana muffins, fresh from the oven. Do I still owe him an egg?
GENTLE READER: Yes, because the egg was compromised. It was not returned in its original condition, having first been beaten and then baked. Miss Manners trusts that should you borrow a lawnmower, you won’t return it in a similar state.
What you owe him now is the same sort of neighborliness when he is in need.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am giving a birthday party for my 3-year-old granddaughter who lives out of state. I’m expecting 50 guests. I just found out that my daughter and granddaughter unexpectedly cannot travel at this time.
I have all of the food prepared, games, loot bags, snow cone and cotton candy machines rented, etc. Do I cancel the party, or continue the party and mail the gifts to my granddaughter?
GENTLE READER: As opposed to keeping them for yourself?
Miss Manners sympathizes. Certainly, it is odd to have a birthday party without the guest of honor. You could explain the situation to your guests, inviting them to attend anyway, but not as a birthday party, just a festive multi-generational party. They might still bring presents, but if they don’t, you have less time to spend at the post office.
Better yet, you could postpone the birthday party until your granddaughter does visit, and now throw a party at the nearest children’s hospital.