Thanksgiving Football Rules

If you're like me and play football on Thanksgiving morning with family and neighbors, The Wall Street Journal Sports Writer Jason Gay has 32 rules you need to know before playing.

1. If you have a healthy relationship with your family and speak to them all the time, you're playing touch. If you see your family only once a year, it's tackle.

2. Find a nice patch of grass. It doesn't have to be big. You don't need a regulation 100 yards. Half the people in your family, if they ran 100 yards, they'd wind up in the hospital for a month.

3. The game must be played before dinner. Nobody wants to play football after Thanksgiving. Nobody wants to wear pants after Thanksgiving.

4. All family on the field! Everyone plays. Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, Cousin Jake, and Regis the one-eyed Jack Russell terrier. Don't laugh. Regis is the best receiver you've got.


24. Three-minute halftime. Don't kill the momentum. Anything longer, and aging muscles seize up. Remember: if Daddy sits, Daddy is d-o-n-e.

25. If you're playing on a city street, please don't dent the blue Honda, or I will find you.

26. If you're a random guest at Thanksgiving, it's your job to be good at touch football. Lie and say you "played a little" at Alabama and pray you don't completely embarrass yourself.

27. If you find yourself surrounded by middle-aged men in blue jeans and a quarterback who keeps getting picked off, you're not with your family. You've accidentally walked into a Brett Favre Wrangler spot.

Read the entire article.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Widower Wednesday: Remembering the Late Wife during the Holidays

Last week I received seven emails from women who were all worried about the same holiday issue: how to deal with the widower doing something to commemorate the late wife during the holidays.

One lady wrote to me concerned that the Thanksgiving dinner she was attending would include a toast to the late wife. Another woman was worried about her widower wanting to scatter her ashes on a ski slope Christmas Eve. A third was worried about the widower who insists on visiting cemetery Christmas morning and how that might affect his attitude the rest of the day. You get the picture.

Holidays can be tough on anyone who’s lost a loved one. Generally, the first holiday season (and the first year for that matter) without the late wife is the hardest because the widower’s learning how to adjust to life without his wife. Once someone’s made it through their holiday without the late wife, the holidays become the second, third, and fourth time around.

My suggestion on how to handle these situations depends on 1) how long ago the late wife died and 2) how the widower acts during these events. For example, I didn’t have a problem with the Thanksgiving toast because this was the family’s first holiday season without her. Instead of focusing on the toast, I suggested she watch on how the widower treated her during the time before and after that moment. Did he seem focused on the late wife and the past or her and the present? Was he introducing her to friends and family or letting her fend for herself? Was he doing his best to make the day festive or did it feel like a wake? So long as the widower was doing his best to make the day special for her and treating her like number one, I didn’t see a problem with the toast.

I was a little more concerned with the widower who wanted to scatter the ashes onChristmas Eve. First he brought up the scattering the ashes after the two of them had already booked their trip. Second the wife had been dead two years and I found it odd that he was choosing their trip to do it. Sure, it might have been his way to saying good-bye and move on, but doing it during a trip that was supposed to create new holiday memories with another woman seemed like awfully bad timing. My suggestion was to talk to him and see what the reason was for doing it during their trip and there was a better time to do it that wouldn’t distract from the fun trip they were to enjoy together.

I was really worried about the widower who wanted to visit the cemetery on Christmas morning. The day held no significance in their relationship aside from the normal holiday stuff. They weren’t married on that day, she didn’t die on that day, nor did any special event in their marriage happen on that day. It’s just something he had done every Christmas (and every other major holiday) since his wife died five years ago. The woman said that after he visits the cemetery he’s comes home quiet and moody – not exactly the best way to usher in the spirit of Christmas. Where the wife’s been dead five years and he won’t go the day before or after Christmas to visit the cemetery, it appears like he’s still grieving and not ready to move on. I suggested that unless the widower was willing to forgo or delay the cemetery visit, it would probably be best if she spent the holidays elsewhere. In the meantime she might want to think about whether the widower is ready to start a new life with her.

Holidays without a spouse can be tough, but remember that once a widower has made the choice to enter a committed relationship with you, your relationship—not his grief—should come first. While there’s nothing wrong with remembering the past, living in the present, counting our blessings, and creating new memories with a new love is a much happier and productive way to spend the holidays.

Widower Wednesday: Dealing with the Widower’s ADULT Children

Dating a widower is not only hard on the late wife’s family, but it can be very hard on the widower’s children. When I receive emails asking me how to deal with children, my advice differs depending on whether the kids are minors still living at home or legal adults. In this Widower Wednesday segment I’m going to focus specifically on adult children—those who are 18 or older. (I’ll focus on young children and teenagers next week.)

Seeing their father with another woman can be hard on his kids no matter how old they are. Many of them are still grieving their mother and can’t understand how dad can move on and “replace” Mom. It’s a natural reaction and I don’t blame anyone for wondering why their father wants to date again. If it weren’t for my own experience, I’d probably have a difficult time seeing my dad with someone else if my mom were to pass on.

Since there’s nothing you can do about the thoughts or actions of another person, don’t concern yourself with whether or not his adult children like you or approve of their father dating again. You can always try to win his adult children by showing them love and respect no matter what they say or how they treat you. What you should keep a sharp eye on, however, is how the widower responds to his adult children’s childish and controlling demands.

For example, a woman recently emailed me about a widower she was in a committed relationship with. The widower’s adult children invited him over for the Thanksgiving but made it clear that she was not invited because it was too painful to see their dad being affectionate with someone other than their mom. Instead of telling his kids that the new woman was part of his life, the widower decided to abide by his children’s wishes and spend Thanksgiving with them.

In short, this widower chose his kids—who are grown and have families of their own—over the new woman in his life. It’s not a good sign if you’re looking for a successful, long-term relationship. Instead of giving in to his kids, the widower should have explained that he was in a committed relationship with someone else and would be happy to call them over the holidays since he can’t attend without this special woman.

You want a widower with a backbone—one who can say NO to unreasonable demands from his adult kids. Because if he can’t stand up to them now, odds are he’s not going to stand up to them when Christmas, birthdays or other occasions roll around. Instead of being at his side, you’re going to find yourself in the number two position time and time again.

Talk about it with him all you want but odds are at this stage in the game if the children are controlling of their father, it’s not going to change unless the widower put you first.


Finally, thanks to all those who submitted holiday widower issues. If you still have holiday some, please send them in. I’ll start answering holiday questions on November 24 and for several weeks following. If you have any other dating a widower issue you’d like to me address, send me an email.