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Re: RE: pleases and thank you's

  • Subject: [cg] Re: RE: pleases and thank you's
  • From: Steve Smoot steveshome@juno.com
  • Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 08:11:01 -0800

Dear Adam,

Let us lead by good example. You have long been a fine and humane
correspondent.

"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."

Ever best,

Steve

Re: RE: pleases and thank you's (adam36055@aol.com)
WITHOUT USING THE WORD
 Message: 3
 Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2005 15:11:20 -0500
 From: adam36055@aol.com
 Subject: Re: [cg] RE: pleases and thank you's
 To: tdietrich@metroparks.org, community_garden@mallorn.com
 
 Friends,
  
 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 
 humanity. 
  
 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 
 blackened torso. 
  
 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 - 
 PLEASE"
  
 Best wishes, 
 Adam Honigman 


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