Dear Annie: I have a question for parents. Why, when the kids' soccer, football or baseball games are over, do the parents open up the trunks of their cars and get out the beer? Tailgate parties with alcohol do not belong at children's events.
When my children played sports, we went out for ice cream. Alcohol was not permitted before or after. What kind of behavior is this teaching our children? Where are the police? They have to know this is happening. Their children play sports, too. Not to mention, these same parents put their children in the car and drive home after drinking in the parking lot. Please explain this to me. - Concerned Grandparent
Dear Concerned: There is no rational explanation. These parents are irresponsible and idiotic. The organizations or schools that sponsor the sports should issue rules about parental behavior before, during and immediately after the games, and you (or the parents of your grandchildren) should request that it be done.
Dear Annie: My niece recently married her live-in boyfriend. They chose to marry in another country, but didn't send any announcements or invitations. That's fine, because it was expensive.
When one aunt who could afford the plane fare and hotel asked whether she could attend, she was told "no." The only guests were the parents. The aunt was deeply hurt. I felt bad for her and angry with the bridal couple for being so rude. When they returned to the states, another family member asked whether there would be a reception and was told there wouldn't be.
Now they are hinting for presents. My sister-in-law asked me to go in with her to purchase a rather expensive gift, and I refused because of the way they treated the aunt. My family is angry with me. Frankly, I never want to hear from that niece again. Am I wrong? - Ex-Auntie
Dear Ex: Yes. The bridal couple can invite whomever they wish, and if they choose a small, immediate-family-only wedding with no stateside reception, that is up to them. The aunt was wrong to ask for an invitation simply because she could afford it. If they wanted extended family to be there, they would have invited everyone.
For most folks, if you are not invited to a wedding, you are not obligated to give a gift. But this is family, and yours is trying to be gracious and happy for the newlyweds by giving a gift. If you don't wish to contribute, that's up to you. But please don't cut off your niece because you didn't approve of her guest list. At least send a card with your best wishes.
Editor's note: Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.