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by Abigail Van Buren

Father in Law's Computer Legacy Should Be Shared

DEAR ABBY: Last year my father-in-law passed away. Before he died, he left a letter on a computer disk for my daughter. I believe it is a short history of his life. My daughter is only 2 1/2, so I am saving it to give her when she is old enough to understand it.

Recently my mother-in-law requested a copy of the letter. I feel that since the letter was addressed specifically to my daughter, she should be asked if it's OK for someone else to read it. I personally have not read the letter, although I don't think my father-in-law would mind, but I feel it is a matter of principle. Am I being unreasonable in asking my mother-in-law to wait and ask my daughter herself in a few years' time? -- WONDERING MOM

DEAR WONDERING MOM: Yes. You stated in your letter that you don't think your father-in-law would mind. Why stand on principle when to do so would deny your grieving mother-in-law access to what could be a treasured memory? Let her read the letter. I'm sure your daughter would approve.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were recently invited to the lavish wedding of the daughter of one of my civic club members. I have never met the bride or groom, and I'm unlikely ever to do so. I believe that strangers or even casual acquaintances have no place at something so personal as a wedding. We declined the invitation and sent a nice card with our best wishes.

Abby, this couple went to Italy on their honeymoon. The bride's father is very wealthy. They want for nothing. It is doubtful that anything we could have given them would have measured up. (We are of modest means.)

At our next civic club meeting, the mother of the bride gave me the cold shoulder. She chattered on and on about the wedding and what a nice time everyone had, filling the society columnist seated next to her in on who was there, and the details.

Was I out of line to have sent only a card? Should we have attended the wedding in spite of the fact that we knew neither the groom nor the bride, and would have felt out of place? -- SNOBBED IN SCHENECTADY

DEAR SNOBBED: Don't allow the mother's reaction to rattle you -- you were NOT out of line. You have every right to decline any invitation you wish. A card was appropriate, especially since you know neither the bride nor the groom.

DEAR ABBY: I love your column and I hope you will print this.

When I read the letter from "Lucky Old Guy in Oregon," whose wife is a health fanatic, I remembered the story about the couple who goes to heaven. It's really wonderful -- everything it's cracked up to be, and more. There is beautiful scenery everywhere they look, choirs of angels singing, superlative food and wine, the chance to hobnob with Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, or any of the great thinkers.

After a few days, the man turns to his wife and says, "You know, I'm really mad at you."

"Why?" she asks. "What did I do?"

He says, "You and your healthy lifestyle -- no salt, no booze, no sugar, no meat, no cigarettes, walk a mile every day. If it weren't for you, we could have been here 10 years ago!" -- ERIC GORDON, VENICE, CALIF.

DEAR ERIC: I love your sense of humor. Thanks for sending this upper my way.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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