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Not to seem ungrateful, but we recently received an invitation to ‘participate’ in a birthday party for my husband’s best friend from high school. We have wined and dined this couple for decades and never received anything more than a bottle of ordinary wine upon their arrival. We’ve never been invited to their home before, although they always spoke of ‘having us over.’ Well, this seems to be the ‘having us over,’ but we’re supposed to bring a birthday present, liquor, and a pasta salad for twenty people, ‘because they like mine so very much.’ I want to say, “It’s cook’s day off that day,” but the directive came in the form of a compliment. What would you do?
–H. W., Providence