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by Abigail Van Buren

Quilters Rattled by Raffle Try to Do the Right Thing

DEAR ABBY: We have a unique problem and hope that you can help us. We are members of a quilt-making club. The quilts we make are well thought of. Once a year, we raffle off one of them, and therein lies our problem.

The man who won this year's quilt is not very well thought of. In fact, some people here consider him "scum." Nevertheless, his name was drawn, and we draw only once. The ladies were shocked. They stood there with their mouths open. Some of them said if they had known he would be the winner, they would not have worked so hard on the quilt. Others suggested that we draw again -- which, in fact, we did.

Then one club member spoke up and said it wasn't fair. The man won the quilt fair and square. Buying a raffle ticket was the only requirement involved.

I can see no way around giving that man the quilt. I believe honesty is the best policy. Can you help us to do the right thing? -- TROUBLE IN PARADISE

DEAR TROUBLE: Consider this: If you give the quilt to someone else, you will put yourselves on the same moral level as the man you have labeled as "scum." So do the honest thing -- give him the quilt and hold a good thought. Perhaps the love and care that went into crafting it will rub off on him, and he'll be better for it.

DEAR ABBY: Both my grown daughters work, and I take care of their daughters for them. Granted, I have them only a few hours a day, but I still have to feed them and give them snacks and juice.

All I ask in return is $20 for each child every two weeks to help pay for the food and beverages.

My older daughter says it's definitely worth it to her, as it would cost far more for someone else to care for her daughter. My younger daughter and her husband, however, are throwing a fit. They insist that a grandmother should never charge money to watch her own grandchild. I also watch them on weekends and barely get a thank-you.

What is your opinion, Abby? Am I ... A GRANDMA OR A DOORMAT?

DEAR GRANDMA: Twenty dollars per child for every two weeks seems reasonable to me. I'm sure you wouldn't ask your daughters to chip in if you didn't need the money. Your younger daughter is looking a gift horse in the mouth. Tell her to stop saying "nay" and pony up the money or provide her own lunches and snacks.

P.S. Your older daughter is right. Child care costs a bundle these days, and anyone who doubts it should check it out.

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I have this little disagreement about how to eat properly.

I eat with the fork in my left hand and my knife in my right hand. I have the fork facing downward, so I don't have to ever let go of my fork to eat. My girlfriend holds the utensil in the same hands, but she puts down her knife and switches her fork to her right hand to eat.

We saw on a Web site that both ways are correct. However, we want to have the final answer and figured you would be a good mediator. -- HUNGRY COUPLE, EAU CLAIRE, WIS.

DEAR HUNGRY COUPLE: You and your girlfriend are both eating "properly." You are doing it in the European style, and your girlfriend is doing it in the American style. You don't need a mediator. The person with the bone to pick needs to exercise a little more tolerance.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MY JEWISH READERS: Happy and blessed Hanukkah!

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