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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Helpful host turns hurtful

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I was evacuated from my home due to 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 adjusting to being without her.

My younger sister hesitates to send flowers, as she thinks it will stir up more grief and upset them. 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 (imagine that!), 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 realize I’m being polite at my home, but 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.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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