DEAR ABBY: My husband is a minister who has performed many weddings over the years. Some couples have been generous. Others have not. Other than the few times he has received absolutely no compensation, the following incident is the worst slap in the face I can remember:
The couple were in their 40s and it was a second marriage for both of them. Both were well-paid professionals. My husband met with them for counseling and he helped them plan their wedding. The bride did not like the traditional marital vows, so she asked my husband to rewrite them. He did, and she seemed very pleased.The wedding was beautiful. They paid the organist, vocalist, florist and caterer. Immediately following the ceremony, they presented my husband with a check for $10 - made out to the church! (At least my husband has never received a stuffed owl as one of his colleagues did!)
Even after many disappointments, my husband still refuses to "set a price" for performing a marriage ceremony.
Your opinion, please. - PREACHER'S WIFE IN GEORGIA
DEAR WIFE: I think a clergyperson, on being asked to officiate at any kind of ceremony, should state his or her fee. This would eliminate the awkwardness of asking, "How much do you charge?" Some well-paid ministers of prosperous churches do not accept fees for services - but most are overworked and underpaid and would welcome a generous check.
DEAR ABBY: Forty years ago, when I married my wife, she had a 22-inch waist. Now it's about 39 inches. She's 30 pounds overweight, smokes like a diesel truck and wears sloppy, ugly sweats.
I have absolutely no desire to make love to her. I roam the malls, lusting after the slender maidens in tight jeans. I haven't fallen yet but fear it's only a matter of time and opportunity.
What's a slim, attractive, successful, moral, virile, sensuous grandpa to do? - A LUSTING GUY IN INDY
DEAR LUSTING: Obviously, your wife has let herself go, but if you were a quality man and truly loved her, you would have made every effort to try to rehabilitate her instead of using her sloppiness and bad habits as excuses for lusting after more attractive women.
You may be a slim, attractive, successful, virile and sensuous grandfather - but no moral man "roams the mall lusting after slender maidens in tight jeans."
DEAR ABBY: Re the mother who wanted to know what to say to people who can't resist touching the baby: Your answer was appropriate. I'd like to pass on another idea from the pediatrician for a friend's baby. Buy or make lightweight drawstring mitts for baby when you take him/her out or have company. The first thing a baby does when you extend a finger is grasp it. The second thing the baby does is put a finger into his/her mouth. More germs are passed from hand to hand than from any other form of transmission.
- EVELYN DE POISTER, SANTA MONICA, CALIF.