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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Walk Not On

6th April 2012
Dear Cassi,

Today I commit to memory George Washington’s sixth rule of civility and decent behavior:Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.” This is only the nature of what is polite.
When visitors come to the lobby I try to stand and greet them as this puts us at eye level and permits level talking. The nature of this nicety is one that I have violated far too much in my life and I will have to work on living up to this standard. 
‘Sleep not when other speak’ is a given, but ‘speak not when you should hold your peace’ is a bit harder to understand. On one point I think it means that you should never go about interrupting people or speaking ill of your friends, just as a man should hold his peace when in the company of a woman and thinking of a dirty joke.
Further, folks should never repeat things their friends say in jest that may be misconstrued. It is thus impolite to be the maker of gossip or the conveyer of gossip. It is also clear to understand that there are some things we should not say in public true or false. One should never talk of death when a baby is born nor speak ill of a man at his funeral.
Now ‘Walk not on when others stop’ is just common sense. If someone stops they do so with reason and walking on shows a lack of concern and respect. Again, one would think this rule is common sense but such a thing is never common and often quite costly.

Live in civility in this world gone mad

Richard Leland Neal