Tag Archives: gracious living

Gracious Living – Comb Your Hair and Don’t Swear.

Did you know that a gentleman doesn’t wear a nose ring?

Who knew?

I discovered a digital book version of “The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness Being a Complete Guide for a Gentleman’s Conduct in all his Relations Towards Society” by Cecil B. Hartley.  (That’s certainly a long title!)

The book, first published in 1860, is 169 pages of invaluable tips for the gentleman – the Do’s and Don’ts for being the kind of man who thinks of others and presents himself well; the type of man everyone looks forward to being around.

There is the advice I expected on keeping one’s hair clean and combed.  (Now that I think of it, uncombed and sloppy parts seem to be the fashion of today – that is, people don’t seem to know what a comb is or what it’s used for.  Or even shampoo for that matter.)

I found the section on how men should treat ladies – they include mothers, sisters, grandmas, aunts, and wives – to be of great interest.  The book frankly lays it all out there:  women are to be treated with the utmost respect.  A gentleman must act like a gentleman towards every lady who acts like a lady.  Women are to be helped with everything – not as if they are weak wallflowers, but because helping one another makes for a more harmonious world.  Unfortunately, in today’s world, I see and hear a lot of disrespect, anger, and degradation towards one another.  Women do it to men, and vice versa.  And what for and why?  I have a theory on how this sniping between the sexes started, and although it’s a quite lengthy observation and analysis, I will briefly state here is that I believe the man-hating began around the Bra-Burning Era, and the disrespecting of women began about a generation after that.

But I’ll return to discussing this book.

The most surprising section in the entire book was the advice given regarding nose rings:  DON’T wear them!  The subject quite shocked me.  I wonder what segment of society in the mid-nineteenth century wore nose rings in America!

There is also stern advice to the gentleman to not attach a bunch of charms on one’s watch fob, either.  That’s tacky.  Ah – could that be the precursor to “less is more”?

I appreciated the section regarding offensive language.  Swearing, using vulgarity, and tossing about slang is a sign of what the author wrote as “low-breeding.”  This subject is a sticking point with me.  I didn’t grow up in a home with anyone using vulgar language.  I didn’t hear any such language until I started working after I graduated from high school, and I was taken aback when I heard a male personnel management specialist slam down his phone and curse about the phone call he was just on.  He saw that I was in the supply room near his desk, and he profusely apologized.  Nowadays, women and even minor children are just as loose with the crude language – and nobody ever apologizes.  In fact, lately I have been told to grow up and accept others using offensive language around me.  Who the heck do I think I am anyway?  The nerve of me trying to live a clean life!

Statements like that are disrespectful and egotistical on their part.  And people wonder about the chaos and uncontrolled negativity in the world!

Nevertheless, the book has sound advice and tips that would be well-followed in these twenty-first century days.  They could only help halt the widespread chaos and turmoil in our world.

The only things that actually date these books are references to horses and carriages, styles of clothing, and hygiene (only insofar as how little people washed then, as compared to hygiene habits).

It is a good and uplifting book.

As ever,

✿●▬●✿ ©2023 The Oasis at Four Queen Palms ✿●▬●✿

Excerpt from my upcoming book, “Gracious Living,” ©2023

Gracious Holiday Living – Part III.

As Irving Berlin wrote in his song, “Count Your Blessing (Instead of Sheep),” written for the 1954 movie, White Christmas:

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep

I count my blessings instead of sheep

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

When my bankroll is getting small

I think of when I had none at all

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

There is so much from which to learn, for those 43 words give much food for thought.  Even I sometimes fall into the doldrums from time to time, particularly when events and people from outside the walls of The Oasis at Four Queen Palms to enter and upset the pacific atmosphere here.  I know that they do not deserve that power, and for the most part, I don’t let their silly nonsense infiltrate.  Yet, it isn’t a 100 per cent stoppable guarantee.  Life happens; it’s how I handle the garbage that counts.  With that said, I discovered a 1913 book by Fannie Dickerson Chase, Good Form and Social Ethics, which also puts forth a cornucopia of points for us that are well worth the time to ponder.  Here, I will share some of what she wrote:

Do not be a slave to other people’s opinions.  As I see it, don’t be a willow tree in the breeze, bending this way and that, taking other people’s opinions as your own.  Don’t fall into the “your opinion is my opinion” mantra.  Gosh.  To me, and to others, that means you have no thoughts of your own, and we mind as well just be talking to ourselves.

Be quick to forgive.  If we are still marinating in something we think another person did to us years ago, let it go, for Pete’s sake!  Learn from what happened and stop wallowing in it.

Magnify your joys.  The world is, and always will be, filled with grief and ordeals, but it is also filled with good and rewards.  To alleviate one’s own bitterness is to remember that other people are experiencing even heavier trials and emotions.

Hear accurately and speak accurately.  No one likes to hear misinformation, nor gossip.

Do not be a servant to your moods.  By the same token, don’t drag others into your moodiness.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  It is not productive, nor becoming.

Do the right thing.  Be honorable, keep your promises regardless of how you might feel towards the person to whom you made that promise.

Be slow to discredit another’s word or action.  It is best to believe in others until you find absolute substantiation to not believe in them. 

Do not be soured and worried by disappointments.  Take your disappointments gracefully, for they have been given to you for a greater purpose.

Do not be thoughtless.  Lapses of courtesy does not bode well.

Be truthful.  If you fib your way through life, one day, people will – and they do! – eventually discover that you’ve been a fraudster.

Be sympathetic.  You may not really know the true story about the other person.

These, and the many other points that are made in the book, are words to live by throughout the year.  I bring this topic up now during the holiday season to point out that this time of year should be more joyful, more calming, and more twinkling than ever.  Yes, the world seems to be careening towards the Dark Side more and more each day, yet we need to maintain the sanity, happiness, joy, and true good in ourselves despite the ugliness.  Don’t let the Devil overtake your life.

Make your holiday season classy.

As ever,

©2022 The Oasis at Four Queen Palms 



Festivities 2022 – Part I.

The winter holidays are a sparkling, twinkling, enchanting time of year filled with pretty panoramas and, if you are so inclined, religious observances.

Best Friend and I kicked off our holidays this month with a trip into town for the annual boat parade.  The weather was pleasant enough for us to walk around the lake and enjoy the lit decorations that were strategically placed within the park.  We caught a glimpse of Santa Claus in a boat ringing his jingle bells with great fervor.  We thought Santa would float on over to where the tall Christmas tree was and light it with all the pomp usually afforded such celebrations.  But alas! it was not to be.  The hands of the clock turned to 6 o’clock, and the tree, along with other electric decorations lit up automatically.  No pomp, no speeches, no carols, no gaiety.  And Santa was floating on a boat somewhere on the Chain of Lakes.

Oh, and there were no hayrides as promised in the flyer that announced the boat parade.  Speaking of the boat parade, that in itself was sparse.  Yes, there were boats docked at the piers, some were positioned on the sandy shore, but they weren’t in the parade.  All in all, there probably was a small handful of decorated boats, but the one Santa was on was the only one I spotted.

Well, that parade fizzled out.

Earlier that evening, while we were resting on a park bench, a trio of Mormon missionaries interrupted our meditation to proselytize.  Best Friend handled that well, and the trio went on their merry way to menace a lady with a baby.TREES LIGHTS PARK

Best Friend and I spent some time walking the paths within the park, and since we were getting very hungry, and the on-site restaurant had a two-hour wait for a table, we left and grabbed a bite at one of our local chain restaurants.  That experience wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was fuel.  Afterwards, we headed home for a relaxing evening with a contemporary movie about a dog who saved Christmas.  It, too, was nothing to write home about.  In fact, we both decided it was sappy.

During this holiday season, we have been streaming music through the Internet.  As I wrote in my essay, Looking Beneath the Surface., some of the more contemporary music and singers are something less than enjoyable in my realm.  Most have that so-called “creaky voice” or “vocal fry” that is not attractive.  Many singers also have that need-a-laxative voice.  You know that type of voice – it’s deep in the throat, the vocal cords straining mightily to get something out, and it’s a colossal struggle.  Think “All I Want for Christmas is You” croaked out by Mariah Carey.  Then go from there.  Guaranteed you will find that most of today’s singers have those phlegmy, gravelly, struggling voices mixed in with electronic mixing.  No, thank you.  Give me those smooth, velvety voices from days long gone.

At home, one of our trees is up and decorated, and underneath it, a few wrapped presents are waiting to be opened on Christmas Eve.  The rest of the main house is sprinkled with glittery decorations and lights.  We declined decorating the casita this year.  We usually add another tree there with lights, but we decided to focus on decorating the main house instead.  It’s good to mix things up sometimes and not fall into a doldrum or rut.TREE FIREPLACE 1

One of the biggest projects we have is addressing our Christmas and Hanukah cards.  We might toss in a few New Year’s cards for those who don’t celebrate either of the religious holidays.  We are still vacillating on including a short holiday letter, so we’ll see what we decide.  There still is time before mailing the cards out, so there is no need to stress about it all.

This is a season in which to sparkle and revel in your own style.

Make your holiday season festive.

As ever,

©2022 The Oasis at Four Queen PalmsGREETINGS FROM THE CITY