DEAR ABBY: My nephew is getting married next year. I was very excited because I love him and I'm a baker. I had planned on making the groom's cake as I did for his brother's and sister's weddings. The problem is, they have decided on a hunting theme for their wedding -- including a camouflage wedding dress for the bride.
Abby, I am an animal-rights activist. I'm against any form of hunting. I am also involved with several animal-protection groups. My nephew and his fiancee know how hard I work for animal rights -- just the thought of a hunting theme for a wedding makes me ill.
I don't even want to attend, let alone make a cake. What can I do so there will be no hurt feelings if I don't want to attend or participate? -- BAKER IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR BAKER: The theme for your nephew's wedding is certainly unique. The concept of a camouflage wedding dress is practical because the dress can be worn after the nuptials, which isn't the case with many bridal gowns.
Feeling as strongly as you do about not attending, write the happy couple a warm letter wishing them a lifetime of happiness together and include a nice wedding gift -- I'm sure there will be no hurt feelings.
DEAR ABBY: My elderly in-laws are wonderful, but even with hearing aids, they have trouble hearing. They enjoy dining out often. In order for them to hear us, family and friends must speak louder than normal. In a restaurant, this can be uncomfortable, not only for those of us dining with them, but also for any other people seated nearby.
My in-laws like to ask about and discuss personal and medical matters, and very loudly. If we try to keep our conversation at a reasonable and polite level, they get upset for not being included in the conversation or constantly ask, "What'd he say?"
I feel bad for other diners seated near us who are trying to have a nice meal. What to do? -- MORTIFIED AT THE DINNER TABLE
DEAR MORTIFIED: With some of the commercials that air on television these days, from overactive bladder to hemorrhoids to erectile dysfunction and adult diapers, it's hard to believe anyone would be shocked by what's discussed at your table.
However, if possible, ask that your party be seated in a section of the restaurant away from other patrons. If it's not, turn to diners who are overhearing the "organ recital" and say, "They're actually whispering, even though it doesn't sound like it!"
DEAR ABBY: My husband, and I are getting ready to close on our first home. Our mortgage broker was an absolute angel, teaching us about the process and making sure we were well-informed.
Because he was so wonderful, we were thinking about getting him a thank-you card and a gift card to a restaurant. We're unsure about the etiquette regarding thank-yous to mortgage brokers and aren't sure how to proceed. Please advise. -- FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS
DEAR HOMEBUYERS: The same rules of etiquette apply that would apply to any gift. I'm sure your "angel" will not only be pleased by your generosity and grateful for your thoughtfulness, but also pleasantly surprised.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)