DEAR ABBY: I have tried for years to contact some of my husband's Army buddies. I have finally gotten in touch with one of them, and we'll be visiting him and his family for a weekend in the near future.
They told us our large family is no problem, and it would be easier for us to stay with them than in a motel. Because of the size of our family, I feel we should stay in a motel. My husband thinks we should stay with them.
Abby, what should I take with me when we visit them? What would be an appropriate hostess gift? I have never met these people, although we've communicated often via phone calls and online communications. Should I bring groceries or go shopping with the hostess and pay for some of the food? Should I send money in advance to help with the extra expenses of our visit? Should I take towels for our family? Six showers a day equals a lot of laundry.
I would appreciate your guidance. -- UNEASY VISITOR IN BATH, N.Y.
DEAR UNEASY: Because of the size of your family, ask your hosts if they would like you to bring towels, pillows, sleeping bags or linens and blankets. If they aren't needed, they will tell you. Forget about taking groceries since this is only a weekend visit, but do take your hosts out for a meal during your stay.
Take along a lovely basket of fruit you can all enjoy as your hostess gift, and following your visit, be sure to thank your hosts in writing for their hospitality.