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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My mother is a native of Mexico. I don't know if you are familiar with the medical-pharmaceutical practices in Mexico, but they are very "relaxed." In Mexico, my mother was a midwife. She assisted the local doctor, but she has had no formal training. She has lived in America for 30 years and fully understands the laws of being a citizen.

I recently learned that my mother is giving injections to people who seek her out. These people obtain the medication in Mexico and my mother has a syringe. A relative brought her children over to be injected with so-called vitamins, so I asked her why she was doing this. She said, "The American doctors are afraid to cure people quickly."

I said nothing more to anyone; then I told my mother that if she continued to practice medicine without a license, I would turn her in. She laughed and said that she would stop. I know my mother and doubt that she will stop.

Abby, I don't want to turn her in. Other family members agree that what she is doing is wrong, but they think it's none of my business. Their attitude and my mother's actions appall me, but I don't want to visit her in jail. Please answer in the paper. -- CONCERNED DAUGHTER IN FRESNO

DEAR CONCERNED: I consulted my personal physician, Dr. Jaime Paris, who practiced at the Mayo Clinic for 20 years. He said: "Regardless of what the laws are in Mexico City, the woman is breaking the law here. Furthermore, if the needles she uses are not properly sterilized, she could be spreading all kinds of diseases. Inform her emphatically and immediately that no one should be giving shots unless supervised by a doctor of medicine or osteopathy."

DEAR ABBY: Whatever happened to dinner? Everyone here in my section of Florida eats "supper," never dinner, in the evening. Isn't it correct that if you have lunch at noon, you have dinner at night? Or if you have dinner at noon (as farmers do), then supper is a light meal in the evening?

Even the "Golden Girls" on TV refer to their dinner as "supper," and it's obvious they are not eating their dinner at noon. -- FLORENCE KRUEGER, BAYONET POINT, FLA.

DEAR FLORENCE: Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines "dinner" as "the principal meal of the day." And "supper" is defined as "the evening meal, especially when dinner (the principal meal of the day) is taken at midday." "Supper" is also described as "a light meal served late in the evening."

So, technically, you are correct. But if local or regional custom dictates that the evening meal be called supper -- then the word from here is, Don't argue with the natives, or you might wind up eating your words regardless of the hour.

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