Happiness Day 7 and 8: Vintage Etiquette Books and Hugh Shaw Joins Happiness Challenge

Writing from the New Orleans Airport, where I am taking a 6:30 am flight back home. Driving to the airport at 4:30 am does not make one happy, but having a full day to work back at my office and be home for Nate's soccer practice tonight -- that does.

So, a few quick ones for Day 7 and Day 8.

Day 7: Finding Vintage Books That Celebrate Etiquette and Entertaining

There's nothing I love more than a bookstore, especially an independent bookstore filled with old books. Again, I could write 31 posts about books, but this one is about one of my favorite categories: books about etiquette, entertaining and all things social. I collect 

Yesterday, at the end of my trip I found a bookstore in New Orleans with this treasure of a title:

"Louisiana Men Are Dinamight!"

It's a collection of wisdom on topics like "What Qualities Are Good In A Lady" and other wit and *wisdom* from prominent Louisiana men of the 80s. (I thought about not buying it but knew that I would regret it if I passed it up.)

Author Patsy Powell refers to herself as "The Dinamight Lady." Love her and her hair.


Patsy's book was published in 1984 for the World's Fair (held in Louisiana). She writes:

“It’s official: Louisiana men are dinamight! A reassuring thought in an age when historians are scrambling for labels to pin on the lapels of a jittery old world. The space-age eighties have produced scientific technology so sophisticated that governments can electronically raid the memory banks of other nations, robing them of classified and highly confidential data. Computers seem to control civilization. They can smash numbers, write books, entertain millions, monitor life support systems, from the couch to the cathode ray tube! 

 But wait a minute. Don’t push your membrane button too soon. Thankfully, even in the 1980s, mankind triumphs; the calculating computer cannot capture the warmth of the indomitable human spirit. Mysterious man will outfox the little box and emerge victorious. You can bet your Frogger on it!”

Here are some of the men featured:


W. "Corkey" Fornot (Louisiana's answer to James Bond) 

Mark and Skipper Dickinson (There are no words to describe this one, but I think I've seen their sons at Dram.)


Polly waxes:

"In Bayou Country, young men grow up to be champions and crawfish grow in trees. Without humbug or falderal, Louisiana mamas quite naturally beget handsome and sensitive young sons who thrive on proper discipliner and peppery diets, developing into dinamight men, brimming with an inexplainable enthusiasm for indulging in the good life"

Here's a quote from one of the men, Mr. Grits Gresham (yes that's his name), on what makes an ideal lady:

"The ideal woman should be Christian, not necessarily of what we call the Christian faith, but broad enough to respect the Christian dogma even if she can't accept the details. She should be of high moral character. Of course, a beautiful body helps." Of course.

Also included: recipes for ribbit sauce piquante, crawfish etouffe and Doves A La Natchitoches. Best party of that "Place dove breasts on skewers firmly against each other, with each separated by several squares of bacon." 


Not a Louisiana man, but a New York-Florida-Alabama, is in my Day 8 Happiness: My Dad!

Day 8: My Dad Has Joined The Happiness Challenge


I was running across the grass at a plantation house yesterday (true story) when I got an email from my Dad that he was going to join our Happiness Challenge. Dad is the quintessential early adopter, and has maintained his blog for several years. (But won't give up his AOL address -- just kidding Dad!)

Here he is with Ryan last Christmas when Ryan gave him an Apple TV. Seriously, a very cool Dad. 

I am so excited that he has joined me, Amy, Stephanie, Jennifer, Tina, Mel and more in writing about what makes him happy. I've written a lot about my Dad over the years (and he'll pop up again in this challenge). 

He writes:

"I admit that there have been days recently when I've focused on the difficult parts of life. The worries about aging; the too-frequent doctor visits for ailments that seem to take longer to go away; the challenges that our family members face in their lives. Yes, they own their challenges, but it's a myth that you stop worrying about your kids when they move out. Our youngest turns 30 this year, which makes me feel even older, but I do admit that I worry about their well being as much as I did when i sat up waiting for teenagers to come home late at night.

But then I recognize that in the balance of life, there are SO MANY more things that have brought, and still bring, happiness than sadness. More feelings of satisfaction than worries. The glass is not half full or half empty. It's overflowing with happiness."

So I I'll let him speak for himself. Please check out Yanks 7: The Happiness Challenge Days 1-7. And do me a favor: leave him a comment. That will make him happy. And isn't that what this whole challenge is about?

That's my story. What's yours? Add a post to your blog, status update to your Facebook, write it and Tweet it and tag it: #31 Days of Happiness, and we'll share!