DEAR ABBY: I have been asked to speak on behalf of my family at my mother's wedding. She is 75 and her future husband -- whom I've never met -- is 77. I am 42 and the youngest of three children.
My father passed away four years ago after nearly 50 years of marriage to my mother. Mother is marrying a man she has known for only three months. She says she is planning "the wedding she never had" when she married my father.
Three hundred guests have been invited to watch her walk down the aisle in a long white wedding gown. She's arranged for numerous attendants, two flower girls and a ring bearer.
Although my brother is totally against the marriage, he will attend. My sister is all for it. I would like to get out of it, but my mother has laid a "guilt trip" on me, and I agreed to speak at the reception.
What can I say that will make everyone happy? -- SPEECHLESS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
DEAR SPEECHLESS: Toast the couple. Speak about your joy that your mother has found happiness. Talk about how terrific she is, how much she is loved by her family, and what an exemplary wife this man is getting. Period.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my fiance for nearly two years. We are being married in a few months. He was raised in a male-dominated family, and he treats me like a daughter he can boss around, instead of his future wife.
We've talked about this many times. He truly believes that he is "taking care of me" and "protecting me for my own good." I appreciate his intentions, but his approach makes me angry.
I was raised in a home where we were all treated equally, and I had been taking care of myself long before I met him.
I love him, and I know he loves me, but how can I make him realize that I don't think it's cute when he treats me like the "inferior sex"? -- MAIDEN IN MARYLAND
DEAR MAIDEN: Put him on notice and tell him seriously how much his boorish behavior is resented, and you're afraid that if he doesn't change, it will destroy your relationship.
Postpone your wedding plans until you are absolutely certain he will treat you like an adult and an equal partner.
DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter concerning the elimination of Morse code by government and commercial agencies, and I want you to know that I am glad I knew Morse code for "SOS." Cell and digital phones don't always work in the boondocks!
I'm a female in my mid-30s. One night a few years ago, my cousin and I were driving through Oklahoma on a lonely, dark stretch of road. When I ran out of gas, I turned on my emergency flashers, but nobody stopped. After waiting for approximately an hour without getting any help, I decided to use Morse code. I flashed "SOS" to several big trucks going by, and within 10 minutes, a state trooper pulled up. He said several people had called and reported seeing me blink "SOS." (Nobody called about the emergency blinkers!) -- DOTS AND DASHES IN TENNESSEE
DEAR DOTS AND DASHES: I am pleased that the truckers in Oklahoma knew Morse code and helped rescue you and your cousin from a potentially dangerous situation.
Your letter proves that sometimes the old methods are still the best.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600