Dear Abby: A relative my husband and I had not heard from for more than 17 years unexpectedly showed up at our door and stayed, uninvited, five days!

Although she was neat, considerate, appreciative and generous, I was angry, frustrated and resentful of the intrusion. What would you have done under the same circumstances?- Susan in California

Dear Susan: If a relative - or friend - showed up at my door unexpectedly with luggage in hand, I would have taken him or her to dinner (or lunch, depending on the time of arrival) - and then offered to make a reservation at a nearby motel or hotel.

Dear Abby: I saw the letter in your column concerning kissing with eyes open. Well, I kissed with my eyes open - deliberately. Why? because I was going with a woman so stunningly beautiful that I didn't want to waste any of her enchanting loveliness.

My standards in female beauty had always been so absurdly high that I knew I had a champagne appetite (what I desired in feminine looks) on a beer budget (what I had to offer). When she appeared on the scene, exceeding my wildest dreams, and went for me in a big way, the thrill of kissing the mouth in the middle of that divinely beautiful face would have been partially squandered had I not kept my eyes open.

I had to train myself to do it, but the practicing was plenty pleasant. Just sign me . . .

- Old John in Glendale

Dear Old John: You are a true romantic. Thank you for including your full name and address, which I dare not disclose. Were I to do so, it would threaten your privacy and create a scene that would rival the Gold Rush of 1849.

Dear Abby: Please print my letter, as we will be going on vacation soon.

Every time my husband and I travel to another country we're asked to bring back duty-free alcohol. The people who make these requests are not close friends.

The U.S. government allows each person to return home with two bottles of liquor duty-free. We would like to be able to buy the quota for ourselves and our family.

Please help with a polite answer for these people when they ask.

- No Name or City, Please

Dear No Name: Foreign travel by Americans has become so common that it really is an imposition for the traveler to be asked to lug gifts home from abroad.

Your husband should smile and say, "Sorry, there is a limit of two bottles - and those have been promised." Other items are also limited, so the same response should work for almost any request.

Dear Abby: A year ago my son, "Jeff," married "Sue," a woman with three young children. They were living in a small apartment in an undesirable neighborhood, so I agreed to co-sign on a loan so they could buy a house in which to rear the children. The one they chose is 70 miles from me.

Abby, I have gone to see them only four times in the past 12 months. I make it a point to let them know the day before I am coming. The last time I went, Jeff refused to let me in. I heard Sue in the background yelling for him to tell me they had to go somewhere. Once he made the excuse that the house was untidy. Abby, I wasn't there to inspect the house. I just wanted to see them.

Sue doesn't appear to want any of our family to visit. Two of his uncles traveled 900 miles to see us and other relatives, but when they went to see Jeff, Sue took off with the kids. His uncles didn't even have the chance to meet her or the children.

They have visited me several times this year, without letting me know in advance that they were coming. That's OK with me.

I always treat Sue with respect and prepare dinner for them, although Sue never prepares anything for me when I'm there.

Abby, Jeff is my only child, and we've always been close. Should I not go to visit my son because Sue is inconvenienced by my visits?

Unwelcome Mom

in North Carolina

Dear Unwelcome mom: It's time for you to have a private chat with your son, and when you do, ask him to please lay his cards on the table.

In the future, when you're planning to visit, make the arrangements with your daughter-in-law. That way, there should be no last-minute surprises.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

1997 Universal Press Syndicate


On Line

All of the Dear Abby columns for the past several years are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.