Dear Carson: Is it OK to call when your spouse is in the hospital? Do you call in the entire time they are in or what is the limit? - Working Wife
Dear Wife: I presume you are referring to calling in sick in order to miss work. If I am correct, it all depends on how sick your spouse is. This is not really a matter of etiquette, but of work ethic, which I suppose could be connected. The dilemma is one of being supportive of your spouse and responsible concerning your working life.
I would think it would be all right to miss the first day at work and according to how serious your spouse's ailment, I might suggest a shortened work day with an early visit and a late afternoon or evening visit to the hospital. Be as responsible to your job and as supportive to your husband as possible.
Dear Carson: This letter regards how to address a sympathy note to a woman who lost her mother. Personally, I address the envelope to "Mr. and Mrs. and Family", because the children lost a grandmother and the husband a mother-in-law. Everyone in a family is affected by the death of a loved one. In the salutation of the letter I address it to the one most directly affected. In this case I would write "Dear Jane." - Sympathetic Friend
Dear Friend: Thank you for a well-thought-out letter. It is gratifying when I ask readers for their input to have a letter such as yours.
Dear Carson: Is it considered in poor taste if a bridesmaid doesn't give a gift at the bridal shower? Also, I'd like your thoughts on a mother of the groom wearing black, formal wear to a late afternoon, outdoor wedding/reception. - Gift and Dress Query
Dear Query: It would feel a little awkward for a bridesmaid to go empty-handed to a bridal shower. I have given such a fine gift at the shower that I have let it be my wedding gift as well. If the bridesmaid has already given the bride her wedding gift, I suggest she give a more modest gift for the shower. For instance, if the shower is a kitchen shower, the gift could be a set of dish towels or a casserole dish with a recipe tucked inside.
As to the mother of the groom's wearing black formalwear to an outdoor wedding and reception, I think her choice of clothing is ill-advised. It used to be that if anyone wore black to a wedding it would be a sign of mourning - unhappiness over the union of the bride and groom.
Nowadays, one sees black for many weddings. White or off-white is considered a taboo for wedding wear because it appears to compete with the bride.
P.S.: To readers who want a direct answer to queries, please know that I usually use the letter in the next column. There are exceptions, however, and especially if there is a question of time to consider.