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Miss Manners: Luck had nothing to do with surviving serious accident

Dear Miss Manners: An out-of-town friend we were visiting invited my daughter and me to dinner.

Thinking I would reduce the stress and expense, I told her I would bring bread, fruit, wine and dessert.

The hostess did not “hear” my offer. She had a full meal and dessert for us and sent me home with all my “gifts” and the kindest of words.

I am now in a position of having offered her nothing in return for her generosity except my thanks. .

How do I: (1) apologize for not allowing her to be a proper hostess by trying to supply half the dinner, and (2) thank her for being such a generous and gracious hostess?

Gentle Reader: You write her a letter extolling her graciousness, and express the hope that she will visit you in your town.

You could also, if you wish, send flowers or a little present.

Miss Manners is just glad that you seem to have learned the lesson that you cannot repay hospitality by usurping it.

‘Lucky’ crash victim

Dear Miss Manners: Several months ago, I was in a serious car accident. I am recovering well, but the accident has left me with lingering pain and mobility issues.

At least a dozen people have felt the need to tell me how “lucky” I am that the outcome was not worse.

While I am, of course, grateful not to be dead or paralyzed, it is not pleasant to be tired and in pain, and I find it a little difficult to smile and agree that yes, I am lucky.

Is there a polite way to let people know that these sentiments, while well-meaning, may come across as thoughtless and hurtful?

Gentle Reader: Ah, yes, a car crash. Some people have all the luck.

Miss Manners agrees that this all-too-common response to the troubles of others is peculiarly annoying. Notice that these people are not expressing their own relief and gratitude that you were not killed. They are directing you to do so.

A mild rejoinder would be, “Well, I wish you even better luck than I have had.”