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by Abigail Van Buren

Young Sons Fight for Life After Father Drives Drunk

DEAR ABBY: My good friend experienced a tragedy last night. Her ex-husband had their two little boys with him for a weekend visit. He got drunk, took them for a ride and got into a wreck.

The boys are 5 and 7, and the most precious, sweet and funny children. Now the youngest is paralyzed from the waist down, and there's a chance neither will make it.

It breaks my heart to see two such sweet little boys hooked up to machines, and not know if they'll be here for Santa to visit or not. We are praying for them.

Please, Abby, remind your readers that if they drive, they shouldn't drink -- and if they drink, to hand their keys to a sober friend or take a cab. -- DEVASTATED IN TRUSSVILLE, ALA.

DEAR DEVASTATED: Your letter is a chilling reminder of the innocent lives that can be snuffed out or irreversibly changed because of people driving under the influence. During this last holiday season of the century, let's all resolve to act maturely and responsibly while celebrating -- and maybe we'll all be here to welcome the year 2000.

DEAR ABBY: My husband dislikes my family and friends. He never wants to be around them for social gatherings -- and when he does go, he acts as if he's suffering. His attitude is starting to affect the relationship between our children and my parents. It's as if he doesn't want our kids to spend any time with them.

If I say something about his family or friends, he goes ballistic. If I don't want to be around them, I'm "stupid" and "anti-social." His family talks badly about me and treats me like dirt. When I say anything to my husband about it, he says I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting.

Abby, I'm tired of suffering, and my children deserve to spend as much time with my family as they do with his. Please help! -- FED UP IN PIEDMONT, S.C.

DEAR FED UP: Under normal circumstances, spouses are willing to extend themselves in the interest of family unity -- even if it means sometimes socializing with relatives they don't particularly enjoy. Had you given any indication why your husband dislikes your parents and friends, and why his family dislikes you, your question would have been easier to answer.

Name-calling and isolating someone from family and friends are considered abusive behaviors. If you and your husband cannot reach an agreement about this, enlist the assistance of a clergyperson or professional counselor.

DEAR ABBY: We get an awful lot of catalogs that we never requested. I don't know how we got on so many mailing lists. Is there a way to call or write someone to stop getting so many catalogs? -- ALAN W. IN TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEAR ALAN: There certainly is. To have your name deleted from these lists, write to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735. The lists are purged only once every quarter, so it may take some time to notice a change in the volume of unsolicited mail you're receiving.

P.S. There is no charge for this service.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: HAPPY NEW YEAR! Many of you will participate in special celebrations as we enter the year 2000. While enjoying the festivities, please remember the first letter in my column today. The writer's plea -- one which I have been making for years -- bears repeating! If you drink, don't drive; if you drive, don't drink!

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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