DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine recently drove my son home from baseball practice. When I met him in the driveway, he looked, sounded and smelled like he'd been drinking. I was so surprised I didn't say anything to him until several days later. I was also not positive my suspicion was correct since I talked to him for only a minute.
When I did ask if he was feeling OK that day (I didn't want to accuse him outright of drunk driving), he explained that he had been coming down with the flu and "wasn't himself" that day.
Now I don't know what to believe. I know he has a DUI on his record. It worries me to think he may have been under the influence, yet I have never actually seen him drink. I know he has strict rules against drinking in front of children, and I know he didn't drink at the Little League practice, but I'm still uncomfortable with the whole situation.
I have been making up excuses why I have been driving my son since then, but it's difficult not telling him the truth since practice is on his way home from work. Should I tell him the truth about my suspicions? Our sons are best of friends, and I'm afraid it would ruin our friendship. -– IN A QUANDARY IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR IN A QUANDARY: People who are coming down with the flu do not reek of alcohol. Your son's safety must come first. Under no circumstances should you allow him to ride with anyone you suspect of having a drinking problem. If your friend asks you why you no longer want him to drive your son home from Little League practice, be honest and do not mince words. It's your duty as a parent to protect your child, and that's far more important than sparing this person's feelings.
DEAR ABBY: My wife has recently started going out late at night, around 2 a.m., after the kids and I are asleep. She says she can't sleep. She also says that since she's home all day with the kids, it's the only time she can see some of her friends. I feel this is wrong, but she says it's no big deal.
Abby, this is tearing our marriage apart. When I talk to her about this, she says I'm trying to control her. Is she right? Is that what I'm trying to do? -- FRUSTRATED IN OREGON
DEAR FRUSTRATED: No. Rather than trying to control her, you are trying to save a marriage that's in big trouble. Who could she possibly be hanging out with at that hour? A colony of bats?
You would have to have bats in your belfry to allow this to continue. You and your wife are overdue for marriage counseling. Don't put it off.
DEAR ABBY: In your response to "Incensed in Wyoming," who complained that people give her unsolicited advice about having more children, you told her to say, "Our factory is closed." Abby, you failed to give her the rest of the saying. It's "Our factory is closed, but the playground is still open." -- HAVING FUN IN LANSING, MICH.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, 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.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600