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|I was sitting at a red light recently, when I noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me.
It read, "Choose Civility." If there would have been enough time before the light changed,
I would've gone and tapped on the driver's window and asked where I could find one like it,
because I so often think that civility seems to be one of the casualties of our times. (Or
maybe it just feels that way when we're in the middle of an election campaign, where the
rhetoric is often rude and sometimes even hateful.)
Seeing the bumper sticker brought to mind a book I've had for years, but haven't read in quite
some time: "Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior," as copied by George Washington when he
was a teenager. Probably done as a school assignment, he copied them from a set of 110
rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. You'll find a few of these further down on this page.
It seems George Washington and the French Jesuits knew a thing or two about manners.
The title of the page is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Good manners must be inspired by a good
heart. There is no beautifier of behavior like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us."
Meanwhile, I'm still looking for that bumper sticker.
|WIth two exceptions, the photos on this page were taken in southeastern Pennsylvania, most of
them in Lancaster County, which was the home of my Irish Baldridge ancestors in the 1700's.
|Manners are simply an awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that
awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.
-- Emily Post
|One of the first covered bridges in America was built in Lancaster County and the county
once boasted the longest covered bridge in the world. These bridges are disappearing
from the landscape, but 28 covered bridges remain intact in Lancaster County today.
The state of Pennsylvania has the largest number of covered bridges in the U.S.
|Excerpts from "George Washington's Rules of Civility and
Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation"
Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.
Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.
Think before you speak.
Speak not when you should hold your peace.
Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof.
Mock not, nor jest, at any thing of Importance, make no jests that are sharp and biting.
In disputes, be not so desirous to win the argument as to not give liberty to each one to
deliver his opinion.
When a man does all he can, though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.
Wherein you reprove another, be unblameable yourself; example is more prevalent than
Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation.
Let your conversation be without malice or envy, admit reason to govern.
Speak not injurious words, scoff at none, although they give occasion.
Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.
|The Ephrata Cloister, an early German Pietist community; the oldest
remaining building was constructed in 1735; Lancaster County.
|Strasburg Railroad is a heritage railroad located in Lancaster County, operating
excursion trains. It's one of the few railroads in the U.S. that uses steam
locomotives to haul revenue freight trains. It was formed in 1837.
|Civility costs nothing, but buys everything.
-- Mary Wortley Montagu
|Oldest log cabin in Pennsylvania, built shortly after 1638; near Philadelphia.
|Thoughts of all description come unbidden into our minds. Civility is
the art of choosing which ones we'll say out loud. -- Jean McClendon
|Chestnut Level Presbyterian Church, Lancaster County, PA
My 5th g-grandfather, John Baldridge, was born in County Londonderry, Ulster Province,
Ireland (now Northern Ireland) in 1715. He and wife, Rebekah Clark Baldridge, came to
America in 1737 and settled in Marctic Township, Lancaster County, PA. This is the
church they attended; this building was completed (minus the tower) in 1765, a year before
John's death. He is buried in the Old Chestnut Level Presbyterian Graveyard nearby.
|Ideologies wax and wane, political parties rise and fall from power. It
sometimes seems to me that, in the end, civility is all that really matters.
-- Charles Anderson
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