Re: RE: pleases and thank you's
- Subject: [cg] Re: RE: pleases and thank you's
- From: Steve Smoot firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 08:11:01 -0800
Let us lead by good example. You have long been a fine and humane
"Navies channel water, fletchers fashion arrows, and carpenters work on
wood, but the good disciple themselves." And, someone else once said, "A
diplomat thinks twice before saying nothing."
Re: RE: pleases and thank you's (email@example.com)
WITHOUT USING THE WORD
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2005 15:11:20 -0500
Subject: Re: [cg] RE: pleases and thank you's
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
That message hit me when I was pissed off and grouchy. And I'm not
in a better mood now. But I certainly will try to be civil. And to
put my response in language, to quote T.S. Elliot, "That Cats and
Dogs Can Understand."
As a long time working class American, volunteer and do-gooder... as
someone who shows up to actually get his hands dirty and do
something at the drop of a hat, I tend to get ticked at breathless
folks, at the end of their academic tether, as due dates become
closer, who make informational requests for lots of
quotable/footnotable material, without saying, "please."
We say "please," in our community garden, because it shows mutual
respect - we KNOW the person doesn't have to do ANYTHING, but we
request it as a favor from them, as someone who surely doesn't have
to get off their rear end to do anything.
We say "please," in our soup kitchens, both to the folks who do the
cooking, as well as those we feed, because it re-inforces our common
We certainly said, "please," at Ground Zero or Fresh Kills Dump
after 9/11, when we were asking someone to hold open a specimen bag,
or pass a tool to extricate a body part, or lift a girder off of a
It always seems to be twenty-somethings - maybe they didn't do a
segment on it during "Sesame Street," when they were coming up, or
junior members or interns at professional do-gooder organizations.
Damned if I can figure it out. Maybe they didn't include it in the
"ways to show basic common decency, civility and respect people who
do stuff for free, without which our not-for-profit agency would
founder," course at a "not-for-profit.org."
As someone who worked restaurants for years, you'd get a long order
from someone who didn't look at you, and they never said please.
But you can be damned sure that in the kitchen, or at the bar the
"pleases" and "por favors" were de rigeur.
The idea is when you ask a free person to do something you respect
their freedom by saying, :if you please, if you would, please." And
community gardeners say the words please and thank you an awful lot
- it's essential to our culture - or at least the NYC community
garden culture I've been part of for over 30 years.
My final words on this: When I did an oral history project with my
one surviving Nazi Death Camp parent and other tattooed armed
friends, I asked,"How did you know, when your were in a Displaced
Person camp after the war, with guards, barbed wire, the works, that
you were safe, and there was hope?"
The answer was, "I cried when the soldiers asked us to PLEASE feel
free to go by the mess tent for breakfast - the word in German was
"bitte," one that we had not heard for over four years. We were
acknowledged to be human beings by the simple use of that word -
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