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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandfather's Good Health Is a Blessing, Not a Curse

DEAR ABBY: Your response to "Worried Grandson, Glendale, Calif." was on target, but far too mild. Such egregious greed deserves considerably sterner chastisement than "shame on you."

That reprobate is so self-centered he cannot comprehend what a blessing it is for his grandfather to be enjoying his life instead of dwindling away in an elder-care facility -- a situation that would blast through Grandpa's resources faster than a dozen gold diggers. I have no doubt that even as he grouses about Grandpa's expenditures, this slimeball is already planning how to spend "his" inheritance.

Here's hoping that Grandpa slips up in his practice of birth control (at 96, wow!) and sires an heir more worthy than the despicable "Worried Grandson." -- FURIOUS IN COOKEVILLE, TENN.

DEAR FURIOUS: Your letter is a hoot. However, more important to a child's well-being than money are two loving parents to guide him or her into adulthood. And virile and vigorous as he may be, in order to provide that, Grandpa would have to have a lifespan to rival Biblical patriarchs.

You are not the only reader who was moved to comment on that letter. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Worried Grandson," who complained that his 96-year-old grandfather was wasting his inheritance on women half his age. I agree with you, Abby, "Worried" should be ashamed of himself.

I have an 84-year-old grandmother. I'd give anything to see her able to live such a life. She's a wonderful lady. She's miserable because she cannot take care of herself, and she hates being dependent. She's in a wheelchair and has almost no balance. She falls a lot and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, short of putting her in a nursing home where she would be bedridden. She can no longer read. One of the most wonderful things she passed down to me is her great love of literature. My grandmother has little joy left in life.

"Worried" should be grateful that his grandfather can still care for himself and is enjoying life. He probably worked hard all his life to earn the money that he's spending. He has every right to do what he wants with his money. Instead of sitting around waiting for his grandfather to die, the grandson should be working to accumulate his own retirement money.

I am 16 years old, and I know that the greatest gift you can get from a grandparent is not money; it is love and knowledge. "Worried" could learn a lot from his grandfather, things that no book can teach. He could tell stories more precious than any amount of money. "Worried" should be less worried that Grandpa is hanging around with gold diggers than the fact that HE is one of them. -- GRATEFUL GRANDDAUGHTER, RICHARDSON, TEXAS

DEAR GRATEFUL GRANDDAUGHTER: You said it well. You are an intelligent and well-grounded young woman. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: You missed the opportunity to educate "Worried Grandson" and others like him. No parent or grandparent is obligated to leave anything to his heirs; inheritances are gifts.

If "Worried" wants a REAL inheritance, he should spend time listening to his grandfather's stories about his life. That is where the true treasure lies. -- LUCKY GRANDDAUGHTER, PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR LUCKY GRANDDAUGHTER: If your grandparents could see your letter, I'm sure they would consider themselves the lucky ones.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

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