DEAR ABBY: I need some advice on how to handle a sticky situation with my in-laws. My husband's father carries a concealed handgun in his pocket, and in addition to this, his wife carries one in her purse. My father-in-law is in his early 70s, and it was not until recently that I learned they carried these loaded weapons everywhere they go. This includes our home.
We have a child under the age of 1, and I am so afraid that the gun may go off while my father-in-law is holding our child. The other possibility is that it may go off in a public place. My father-in-law does have a concealed gun permit, but the thought of his gun going off by accident and injuring our child or someone else has really upset me.
My husband says if it bothers me, I should say something to his father. How should I bring this up to the in-laws if my husband will not talk to his dad about this?
I really do want to have a good relationship with my in-laws, but guns in my home or around my child at any time will not be tolerated. Please help! -- DESPERATE IN DALLAS
DEAR DESPERATE: Tell your pistol-packing in-laws that the world may be a dangerous and scary place, but they are safe when they are in the confines of your home. Then do what any saloon keeper in the Old West would do to safeguard the customers: Insist that they check their weapons at the door and put them in a place the toddler cannot possibly reach or get into.
DEAR ABBY: This letter is in response to the one you printed from the woman who signed herself "Lost in a Dream," who dreamed repeatedly about a former boyfriend.
I can relate to her. When I was 13, I met my "first love." He was the same age. We lived 30 minutes from each other, but we corresponded through letters and saw each other at monthly youth functions. It lasted more than a year.
Because of circumstances beyond our control, we were forced to part. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. Neither one of us wanted to break it off, but it was something I just had to do. I saw him for the first time in about 10 years four years ago. It was very nice to see him again, but it brought back a lot of memories.
Now, 15 years from the time we broke up, I'm married and so is he. Like "Lost in a Dream," I have a wonderful marriage. But every so often I think of him and dream about him, and wonder "What if?" He was very special to me. Some people call it "puppy love," but it was real to me. And for a 14-year-old, that was all that mattered.
I want to tell "Lost in a Dream" that she is not alone. She is not a bad person for this. Anything can trigger dreams. I am just relieved to know that I am not the only person who experiences this. Thanks, Abby, for printing that letter. -- RELIEVED IN ORLANDO, FLA.
DEAR RELIEVED: You're welcome. I have a stack of letters from readers echoing your message to "Lost in a Dream." Dreams of a former romance are nothing to lose sleep over. However, if they are causing anxiety, it can't hurt to talk them over with a professional.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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