Dear Annie: Recently, while visiting out-of-town relatives, I was reunited with a second cousin whom I had not seen in 28 years. We are both in our early 40s and single. We hit it off instantly, a total personality click, and spent quite a bit of time together during my stay. Although we didn’t act on it, the chemistry between us is very strong. Since returning home, we have kept in touch on a daily basis and have discussed our feelings for one another.
We don’t know what to do. Is it morally or, more importantly, biblically wrong for us to pursue an intimate relationship? The answer is all that’s keeping us apart. I’m sure we are not the first people to be faced with this issue. Your advice will be greatly appreciated. — Waiting for the Answer
Dear Waiting: Second cousins may legally marry in all states, so obviously an intimate relationship is acceptable. (Many states also permit first cousins to marry.)
The Bible has no prohibition against marriages between cousins. In fact, many biblical married couples were related this way. Feel free to go for it.
Dear Annie: I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws. I arranged all the trimmings and even made homemade cranberry sauce. I told them dinner was at 6 p.m., but they were welcome to come any time after 4:30. Instead, they decided to show up 30 minutes late, for no particular reason. After all the hard work and preparation I did, I was not happy. Worse, after dinner, everyone relocated to the sitting room and never offered to help.
When invited to a dinner, especially one that takes days to prepare, I believe it shows good manners to arrive on time or even a little early. I also think one should at least offer to do something, even if it’s as simple as cutting the pie. I don’t expect my guests to be put to work, but I believe it’s nice to offer.
Is there proper etiquette for this situation? A lot of people disagree with me. — Not Impressed in Ottawa
Dear Ottawa: People should arrive on time for a dinner party of any kind, give or take 10 minutes (unless specifically invited to come earlier). Arriving a half-hour late is very inconsiderate. Although it is kind to offer, guests are not required to help tidy up, since hosts should save the cleanup for when the guests have gone home. Family members, however, are expected to offer to pitch in.
Dear Annie: “Scared Grandmother” said her pregnant daughter-in-law locked her other children in their bedroom all morning watching cartoons while she slept. You suggested baby sitters or day care.
I, too, am faced with one of my adult children leaving toddlers confined to a room for hours with only occasional visual checks. I, too, think it is neglect. My daughter is not pregnant, however. She’s lazy. It’s not like she uses the time to clean or do laundry. She mostly watches TV. I wish we had the money to hire a sitter or put the children in day care, but not everyone is rolling in dough. Day care around here is $26 per child per day.
My daughter sees nothing wrong with what she’s doing, nor does her husband. Calling Child Protective Services will probably mean loss of contact for us. The average family can’t spend money on expensive services. When are you going to tell parents to start being responsible for their own children? — Grandma
Dear Grandma: We always tell parents they are responsible for their own children, but the parents didn’t write to us. There is nothing we can say to grandparents that will force their grown children to listen to them. In your case, if your daughter “visually checks” on her children periodically, it may be sufficient supervision. If the children are in danger, however, Child Protective Services can be called anonymously, and parents are often given a warning first.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger on 11.28.07