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by Abigail Van Buren

Food Stamp Fraud Leaves Bad Taste in Wife's Mouth

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are taking a two-month vacation, so we advertised in our church newsletter for a house sitter. Our 18-year-old daughter lives with us, so we wanted a female. She works full-time and goes to night classes at our community college.

A 24-year-old girl I'll call Wanda answered the ad. She, her parents and grandparents are members of our church. We told Wanda she could live here for free and save the $100 a month she had been paying her parents for rent. Wanda said that she wanted $50 a month from us. She was the best choice we had, so we agreed.

Yesterday Wanda came over with her parents, and as they were leaving, her mother dropped this bomb: "Wanda has applied for food stamps -- but you will have to sign a paper saying that you are not paying her anything to live in your house."

My husband said, "No problem -- we will sign it."

I do not want to sign that paper. I don't believe in lying -- especially to help a young, able-bodied woman to defraud the government.

My husband professes to be a Christian, and apparently these people are Christians -- as she chided me for not attending church and all that good stuff.

Abby, what do you think about people asking a fellow church member to lie so their daughter can defraud the government? Our plans are made and confirmed, and we are leaving tomorrow; there's no time to find an honest non-Christian to live here. -- DISGUSTED

DEAR DISGUSTED: Shame on those Christian churchgoers for asking you to sign a false statement in order to defraud the government. And your husband should be ashamed of himself for condoning such shenanigans.

DEAR ABBY: My problem is my grandmother. (My father's mother.) Every now and then she says she is not sure that my brother and I are actually her grandchildren. Once, she introduced me to someone this way -- these are her actual words: "These are Wilbur and Thelma's children. Well, anyway, they are Thelma's, but I'm not sure if they are Wilbur's or not."

My mother has asked my father about his mother's insulting introduction, and he just shrugged it off as if it was nothing.

I feel that my father should talk to his mother about this slur on our mother's good name since he has no reason to believe that he is not our father. He refuses to say anything, because according to him, Grandma just means it as a joke.

This is not my idea of a joke, and my brother feels the same way. What is your opinion of a grandmother who would act like this? -- TWO HURT TEEN-AGERS

DEAR HURT: Grandmother could be experiencing mental or emotional problems. If that's not the case, she has a very vicious tongue. Tell her that when she makes such insulting comments about your mother, she hurts you deeply.

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