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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, my brother, "Leonard," stayed with me while he was in the process of getting a divorce. His son, "Craig," visited him several times. On one of those visits, Craig received an invitation to dinner, and because he had not brought a tie, I loaned him one of my late husband's ties. I also loaned him one of my husband's rings.

For some reason, Craig had the ring appraised the next day, and asked to take it with him to show his girlfriend. He promised to return it on his next visit. When he came again, he claimed to have forgotten to bring it with him.

After my brother got his divorce, he found his own apartment and I never saw Craig again, although I frequently took meals to my brother and stayed with him for several days in a row when he became very ill. Craig never called or visited his sick father.

Leonard died last month. A few days later, when I went to his apartment, I found it empty -- Craig had cleaned it out and didn't leave me even one memento of my beloved brother.

I called Craig to insist that he return my husband's ring. He said, "Oh, I lost that ring years ago."

Abby, I can't afford a lawyer to help me get the ring back, and even if I could afford one, Craig, a pharmacist, would probably fight me for it. I'm not so concerned about the monetary value as I am the sentimental value, but if he sold it or lost it, he should pay me for it.

I want Craig to see my letter in your column and feel ashamed for taking a ring that means so much to me. -- NO RING, NO BROTHER, NO FAIR

DEAR NO FAIR: To make sure Craig sees his shameful behavior in print, send him this column. But don't count on getting your ring back unless you take legal action. A judgment in small claims court may force him to return the ring or be in trouble with the law. Good luck.

DEAR ABBY: Last Friday night, my 14-year-old daughter, "Amy," baby-sat for one of her regular customers. When she got home around midnight, she was visibly shaken. "Jane," the mother of the child Amy was watching, was drunk when she drove my daughter home. The drive, which should have taken 10 minutes, had taken 45 minutes because Jane kept swerving and making wrong turns that took her away from where she was supposed to be going.

I instructed my daughter to refuse to ride with any parent who had been drinking. She is to call me to come get her when she suspects a parent isn't sober.

Abby, I remember encountering that problem as a girl. It's not easy for a teen to know when an adult has been drinking and to refuse to get in the car.

Adults should be responsible enough not to take a child's life into their hands. Unfortunately, when people have been drinking, their judgment is impaired, so parents should insist that when in doubt, their children call home for a ride. -- WORRIED MOTHER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR WORRIED MOTHER: Every parent should insist that their children refuse to ride with anyone who has been drinking. And that goes for adults, too. While it may anger the driver, better an angry driver than a serious -- or fatal -- accident.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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