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 is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.