If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know I love those witty signs that people sell at crafts fairs. We’ve just completed the circuit of Fall crafts fairs here in the Great Plains, and I’ve noticed a theme among the signs they’re selling this year.

Perhaps it’s an extension of the “crudening” of our society. Maybe it’s just that people now feel more free to say what they’ve been thinking all along.

But for whatever reason, at this Fall’s festivals I saw as many signs telling people’s guests to “Leave by 9” as I saw the more traditional “Welcome Friends.” The picture above is a printed welcome mat with the same message. It’s not a sign, but you get the idea.

I don’t know about you, but at our house, if our friends leave by 9 p.m., we wonder what we did to make them leave. Yes, there are always those friends who choose to roll up the sidewalks of their lives at 9 pm, and they’ll head home of their own accord (maybe in their Accord – sorry, bad Honda owner joke). But we won’t suggest leaving to them.

We can talk, eat snacks, and play games well into the wee hours of the morning. In fact, usually about the time 1 a.m. rolls around, I can read on the faces of our guests, “Why haven’t they asked us to leave yet?”

It’s for this reason alone: We’ll never ask our friends to leave. Of course, they’re free to go whenever they like. But it won’t be because we asked them to leave.

Friends are far too precious to ever push them away. So signs like the ones I saw this year, no matter how clever, will never grace our house. As this blog will attest, I appreciate wit and irony as much as anybody. But even the best humor can send the wrong message.

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