Monday, February 15, 2010

Please, Thank You, and Civility

Dear and Gentle Readers!

Did you have a lovely Valentine's Day?  Ours was perfect!  No chocolate.  No diamonds.  No Hallmark card.  No flowers.  After 42 years of wedded-ness (and I did not say "wedded bliss" as I am too opinionated for that!  Bliss comes with forebearance!) I'm afraid I would simply be insulted to receive any of those phoney purchased expressions of "love."  As far as I'm concerned, as Garrison Keillor used to say, "There's two things that money can't buy:  love and homegrown tomatoes."

Admittedly, MM and I have both had our "louder" moments out here just off the one-lane road where the neighbors can't hear us!  Mostly, though, such eruptions are directed at farm events and plans gone awry, things like moving pigs from one place to another or rabbits munching the early lettuce...things like that.  Not a big deal.  Over the years, we've tried to least polite, civil to one another, even if at rare times it's a smile through gritted teeth.  You know the old saying, "It's not who's right; it's who's left?"  We've always maintained that it's better to give over being right in exchange for the precious gift of an enduring marriage/friendship.  MM maintains that he always has the last word(s):  "Yes, Ma'am."

So, here I go again.  Sticking my foot in my mouth:  Valentine's Day (thank goodness it's over with for another year) IMHO is nothing more than a commerical "have-to" phoney gift-giving mandate cranked up by the likes of jewelers, card-sellers, etc. to pad their balance sheet in this sagging financial quarter. There, I said it. I feel better. Seriously, as a kid, I was a little on the plump side.  I got way fewer Valentines than the "more popular" kids did.  So, maybe I have a psychological antipathy toward hearts and flowers.  But I can't help but wonder what percentage of each diamond necklace and each pair of diamond earrings purchased paid for Kay's MASSIVE advertising campaign prior to February 14 with  those gushy so-called "romantic" love-for-sale ads.

Just picture me, JOTOLR--raggedy yellow rainsuit, Sorels, ratty gloves (those in the picture, though were made specially for me-- for handling my camera--by my dear friend, Debbi. Check out her blog at Knit Run Repeat ) ----wearing a diamond necklace and earrings to go feed the cows? 

Why, during the winter, THE COWS wear their own diamond-studded fur coats.  They simply would not be impressed with such finery.

Branching off a little from the love theme:    did you --or do you-- teach your kids manners when they were little?  Please, thank you, and all that?  Sure you did.  Of course, being 65, I was brought up in the era when men doffed their caps/hats to women when they met them; they opened car doors for women; and, of course, it was women and children first...a la Titanic.  But I truly think we're on the Titanic now as far as civility and manners go.  It's every man, woman and child for themselves.  Yes, we teach our children to have manners....what about ADULTS?  MM and I don't watch a lot of TV, but when we do, we have to endure an alarming number of those horribly violent commercials.  we're struck by just how much violence there is on the tube these days.  It's jarring. Personally, I think it bespeaks a society in pain.

I'm wondering if a remedial course for adults, in manners, would help our society.  Can you picture a crime-and-violence ridden program in which the actors say, "Excuse me, I'm so sorry I have to kill you," or "my sincere apologies for dumping and demolishing your cart of vegetables as I was running to escape the law?"

Something is deeply wrong with the way we are behaving toward one another.  A large percentage of us were most likely taught politeness and civility when we were children--please, thank you, yes, ma'am, no sir.  It's when we become adults that things seem to fall apart.  It's almost as if being an adult gives us license to be uncivil and impolite, to fling insults at our fellow citizens at random, and in essence, have verbal tantrums and exhibit our more atavistic side.  I don't enjoy this.

What I have been enjoying is the Olympics.  Haven't you?  And one of the things I've noticed is the politeness and civility.  Not phoney, purchased junk-jewelry politeness and saccharine love, but real people politeness.  These are genuine, tough, positive, dedicated, polite, civil young people who are competing mostly against themselves.  They provide role models, not just for young folks, but for us oldsters, too.

Politeness begets politeness.  Civility begets civility.  It's hard to scream at someone who doesn't raise their voice in return.  It gets lonely when you realize you're screaming at air.  Maybe we could have a national conversation, here? How about a campaign for manners and civility...?  Perhaps that would help us stop yelling at one another, and start listening...?  Tell me what you think!


  1. well you said a mouthfull. The best gift I ever gave my husband as far as we both were concerned was to say to him that he never had to get me a gift again. He worried so about getting just the right gift it was a real burden for him. I adways had what I wanted and needed I just gave him what he needed. I believe he felt all that pressure because of all the beautiful pricey, love means this or that on tv and other places.
    As far as manners are concerned I have personally worried about that subject for a long time. With you I don't watch too much TV but as a widow by myself I probably watch more that I should. I hope I don't let it affect me with all the power it has.
    Im glad I found yourblog, Thanks for bringing up these thought provoking subjects.
    Maybe our thoughts are alike on these things because I live at the end of a dead-end road.

    Sandy j

  2. Farmer Wife thinks I would like your blog and I always do what she thinks I should....Love your blog! I am 63 and live on a small ranch, Horses not cows. No pigs. I love the life. And I love you approach to blogging, and marriage and love. I'll be back.