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Needled

Almost all of our friends have had their shots, which makes my husband and me happy. We’ve been driven pod-crazy — trapped with our kids and working from home — for the past year. But I say “almost” because I’m not sure about a couple of our friends and their children. They seemed really skeptical about the vaccines when they were first introduced, so I suspect that they may not have had their shots. But I don’t want to ask because I’m sure I wouldn’t get an honest answer and we’d end up in an argument. As summer’s coming, our kids will probably want to get together with their kids or have them over. I can’t imagine what to tell my kids. What do I do? — Anonymous, Brentwood

Nobody’s required to wear a tag around their necks to prove that they’ve had their shots, so who’s to know for sure? You have your doubts about the answer you’d get if you ask what you consider to be a dangerous question. To calm your fears, you must ask it, for your own sake and for the safety of your children. Let’s hope this couple is not among your closest friends. They may be insulted by your probing into their vaccine history, but there’s no reason for you to tread lightly. It will be all right to break some eggs. Go ahead and ask them directly. You may not trust their response if they say yes. That’s your decision to make. If the kids want to get out of the house, let them all play in the yard. School’s almost out; it’s your job to do the homework.

On the Watch

I received an invitation to a wedding last May, but the ceremony didn’t happen. Canceling the wedding was a big deal since the invitation list was huge. The bride and groom went ahead and got married with a really small ceremony. I didn’t make the cut that time around, so I didn’t send a gift. Now, however, they’re planning a major party to celebrate the wedding, a year after the fact. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that, and I’m not even sure I’d be on the invite list anyhow. But if I get invited, I feel like I should send a gift even if I don’t go. Should I? — Anonymous, 12South

Just wait for the envelope to hit your mailbox before you do your shopping. Rigid etiquette tradition decrees that if you’re not invited to the wedding reception, even if you’ve been invited to the ceremony, you don’t have to send a gift. It’s brutal, but it’s the rule. But the wedding didn’t happen — at least at the level everybody was expecting. You’re obviously in need of a party. So, even if you’re not invited this time around, I suppose you can send a gift. You probably haven’t been doing much gift-giving this past year. If you’re uncomfortable about the size of the party, just stay home. Being uncomfortable may be your default mode right now. You seem to know a good bit about a party that’s still in the making. Wait and see.