DEAR ABBY: I hope you will publish my letter so do-gooders will stop and think before they do more harm than good.
I used to love my back yard. It was a bit unkempt, but my husband is gone and I am elderly. However, the yard was mine. The flowers my husband planted gave me great joy -- until a well-meaning neighbor decided to bring her five teen-agers over one day, when I was not home, to "neaten up" my yard. She was trying to teach them concern for others.
I like these people. They were so happy about "surprising" me by cleaning up my yard that I didn't have the heart to tell them that the "weeds" they had pulled up were my lovely perennials that were about to bloom! And the "overgrown" evergreens were there to block the view of the neighbor's messy dog run. Now they are trimmed down to almost nothing, and the view is disgusting!
Abby, my yard is no longer mine, and I have shed many tears over the loss.
Please remind your readers that if they want to help, they should ASK first -- and not just take over. -- HURT BY GOOD INTENTIONS IN MICHIGAN
DEAR HURT: Your point is well taken -- and I'm printing your letter as a warning to well-intentioned people who may be tempted to make the innocent mistake your neighbor made. Take comfort in the fact that the evergreens will grow back.
Now dry your tears, call your well-meaning neighbor, and tell her that you have one more job for her and the kids -- to take you to a plant nursery to select replacements for the perennials your beloved husband had planted that gave you so much joy each summer. It will be a learning experience for all of you.
DEAR ABBY: "Sexless in Seattle" seems totally focused on developing an intimate relationship with the desirable widower, but never a mention of marriage.
For many, many people, marriage comes first, then intimacy follows naturally. Perhaps this is the case of morality, not pathological grief. If his first marriage was good, an intimate relationship would seem to be infidelity, adultery or fornication.
The more fitting solution is the marriage ceremony to put closure to the first marriage and end the grieving process. -- A.V.G. IN FLORIDA
DEAR A.V.G.: I agree that for many people marriage comes first. However, if morality were the issue, the man wouldn't have been making and breaking promises to the woman for nearly a year. Instead, he would have told her plainly -- and proudly -- that he doesn't condone sex outside of marriage. That's the honorable thing to do, and it would have saved her a lot of pain.
DEAR ABBY: For years I have plagued my friends, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. concerning a piece about the "Bigger family." In trying to determine who was bigger, the situation became quite complicated. The youngest member of the family was a baby, therefore he was bigger because he was a "Little Bigger."
Uncle Bigger passed away and was buried down by the mill. He was then bigger because he was "Bigger by a dam site."
I would be thankful if you could find a copy of the piece, Abby. Thanks! -- H.R. MANUEL, ALAMO, TEXAS
DEAR H.R.: I'm sure my readers will be as intrigued with your piece as I was -- and if it's familiar to anyone and I receive a copy, I'll forward it to you. Just remember -- bigger isn't necessarily better.
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-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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