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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am hosting Thanksgiving this year. I consider it a joy to bring family together to share traditions. However, two of the uncles insist on blaring sports games on our TV during these gatherings. Neither I nor my husband or parents are interested in sports. Usually there is money riding on these games, and there are loud discussions about bets and other things I would rather my kids not hear. We can't move the TV because it's too large, and forcing them to turn it off kills the holiday cheer.

How do I learn to live with the noise of a stadium gamecast over every holiday? My home is where the family gathers on most of them. -- NOT AN ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACK IN INDIANA

DEAR NOT: The sports events have become part of the tradition, and nothing you or I can say will change that. If you are concerned about your children overhearing something they shouldn't, have them play in another room and provide games to occupy them, or ask that they "help" you prepare the meal or set the table. That should keep them occupied and out of the way.

As to your learning to live with the noise of the telecast, it might help if you repeat the Serenity Prayer from AA:

God grant me the serenity to accept

the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference. -- REINHOLD NIEBUHR

DEAR ABBY: My wife "Julie" and I have been married a year. On our first date she asked me if I liked dogs. I told her no because I'm allergic to them. However, because we were compatible in so many other ways, I worked past this difference and tolerated "Fido." I walked him at times and began taking allergy medication when we started living together. I did it out of love and respect for my wife.

Julie returned the respect in kind. My late grandmother had given me a blanket decorated with characters from a favorite TV show when I was a child. Although it clashed with our furniture, Julie draped it over the couch in our den because she knew it was meaningful to me.

I was away on a business trip when Fido died. I sent flowers and called my wife, expressing my condolences. When I returned a few days later I noticed my blanket was missing. When I asked where it was, Julie tore into me saying I had never liked Fido and she had buried him with my blanket! I was furious and let her know with a few choice words.

It has been a week and the mood here is strained. I'm still angry about what she did. Do I have the right to be upset? -- STRESSED AND STEAMED

DEAR STEAMED: Anger is a part of grief, but what your wife did was wrong. She took something that didn't belong to her and that was precious to you and destroyed it. She did it because she wanted you to feel the same kind of loss that she was suffering. It was immature, unkind and hostile. You are certainly entitled to your feelings. She owes you a sincere apology.

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