DEAR ABBY: I come from a large family, and we all live in the same town. Most of us are married with children, and we always get together to celebrate the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.
It sounds wonderful, but it's anything but. The celebrations start out OK, but after everyone starts drinking, trouble breaks out. My husband and I are not big drinkers, but the others are. I told my father we should limit the amount of drinking. His response: "It's none of my business how much they drink. They're all over 21, and if we try to put a lid on the drinking, nobody will come."Abby, these family celebrations are for the whole family - kids included - and I don't want my kids witnessing the shouting matches and drunken arguments. My mother says, "Children don't remember what happened." I say they do.
I would hate to stop going to these holiday get-togethers because the kids look forward to being with their cousins. Any suggestions?
Please don't mention the name of our town. It's small, and everyone will recognize us. - FED UP
DEAR FED UP: Now that you know what to expect, go to these family celebrations early - greet your relatives, deposit your gifts and leave early. How about having an annual "dry" party for the children's sake? That way, the cousins can get together in a quiet, non-combative atmosphere. Who knows, the grown-ups might learn something.
DEAR ABBY: Recently you published a humorous piece sent to you by a reader who said he had clipped it from a church bulletin.
I thought it was very amusing. Now I am sending you something I just clipped from my church bulletin.
If it gives you a chuckle perhaps you will want to share it with your readers. The author is unknown. - A.M. KOGEL, PINE ISLAND, FLA.
DEAR MR. KOGEL: How kind of you to send the piece along. It's well worth sharing with my readers. I hope no one will consider it sacrilegious. It's titled "A Prayer for the Soaps." (Well, at least it's clean.)
Eternal God, help us to no longer be THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.
"Help us, O Lord, to remember that we have only ONE LIFE TO LIVE and to try to build a DYNASTY.
"Let us remain always close to you, walking not in RYAN'S HOPE, but in Christian hope, for our destination is heaven, and not DALLAS.
"May the mothers and fathers of our community always say to you, `Bless and protect ALL MY CHILDREN.' These are truly the DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
"And so, AS THE WORLD TURNS, should some of us find need to go to THE DOCTORS and GENERAL HOSPITAL, may we always keep you, dear God, as our GUIDING LIGHT.
"We will then not be concerned with a foolish SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, waiting for the EDGE OF NIGHT. For together, dear Lord, we will sail away from KNOT'S LANDING and create ANOTHER WORLD. Amen."
- Dear Abby's Cookbooklet is a collection of favorite recipes - all tested, tried and terrific! To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)
1988 Universal Press Syndicate