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Wishbone of Contention

By Mink Stole | Posted 11/17/2004

I used to love Thanksgiving, but this year Iím dreading it. My husband and I live very close to my father and my husbandís parents and his sister Marsha. My sister Liz and her husband live a four-hour drive away. They used to come here for Thanksgiving, but our mom died three years ago, so two years ago we took my dad and drove to them. The trip was tough on my dad, though, so last year we compromised and had dinner at a lovely inn midway between our homes. But Dad thought that was too impersonal, so we canít do that again. So, when Marsha offered to host Thanksgiving for all of us, I thought it a terrific idea. Dad gets along great with my in-laws. But Liz thinks Marsha is a pill and has declared sheís not about to drive all that way to celebrate Thanksgiving with people she doesnít like and arenít even her family. I thought about having it at my house, but Marshaís really excited about doing it at hers, plus, since I couldnít have dinner without inviting Marsha and my in-laws, Liz would still be upset. I love Liz, but Iím sick of her complaining. Iíd tell her to stay home, but itís really important to Dad to have the family together that day. Is there any way to make everyone happy?

Turkey Trouble

Nope. But donít blame yourself; itís rare that everyoneís happy. As tempting as it might be to tell your sister to stop her damn whining, it might be more productive to acknowledge sheís got a semi-legitimate gripe. Either she stays home, missing out on a family occasion and disappointing your dad, or she climbs into the car for an eight-hour round trip to have dinner with people who get on her nerves. No, she doesnít have the right to wreck Thanksgiving for everyone, but if you let her know you appreciate that she has to choose between two unsatisfactory options, it might make her feel better. If you can offer to make, say, Friday brunch an exclusive just-her-family event, that might make her feel good enough that sheíll look forward to the trip.

If that doesnít do it, tell her you and your dad would be really sad not to see her, but since Thanksgiving dinner will be at Marshaís, perhaps it would be better for her not to come. Tell her you love her whatever she decides. Then let it go; you canít force it. She has to make up her own mind.


I can hardly believe itóIím 55 years old and getting married for the first time. My husband-to-be is a widower whose wife died four years ago from cancer. They had a good life together and he speaks of her lovingly, but he tells me heís ready to be happy again. He has one married daughter and a son in college, and we all get along pretty well, mainly because they know I make their father happy. And he makes me incredibly happy. The only sour note in my happy song is that he gave me his deceased wifeís engagement ring. It had belonged to his grandmother and his mother, so it has sentimental value more than just from his wife, and itís pretty enough, but I donít want to wear it. Every time I look at it all I can think of is how Iím going to live up to his first marriage. Iím OK about moving into the house he shared with his first wifeóweíve already agreed to redo the bedroom and kitchenóbut I want my own ring. He said heíd buy me one if I was uncomfortable with this one, but I think he was just being nice. Do you think Iím being foolish? Heís such a lovely, good man and I feel so lucky to have him that I donít want to hurt his feelings if Iím just being silly. Iím sure Iíll get used to it eventually.

Ring Not Rosy

Youíre not silly. Unless it were what one would call an important piece of heirloom jewelry, in which case oneís reservations could possibly be overcome, being presented with a dead first wifeís engagement ring is a little like being asked to wear her lingerie. It would give most of us at least a mild case of the heebie-jeebies, and for others it could be grounds for breaking the engagement off entirely. Props to you for not visibly recoiling at the sight of itóor throwing it back in his face.

Your wonderful husband-to-be offered to buy you your own ringóso let him. You donít have to make a big fuss. Just tell him that youíre honored that he wants you to have his grandmotherís and motherís ring, but since it was also his childrenís motherís ring, itís only right that it go to one of them. Tell him you think it might be painful for them to see you wearing it. This wonít hurt his feelings, and has the added benefit of showing how sensitive you are to the feelings of his children.

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Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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