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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Our son was married last year. There were many out-of-town relatives from the bride's family, plus a large wedding party. Once the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom were added to the list, close to 80 people attended the rehearsal dinner. We did not invite family members who didn't have a part in the ceremony, although spouses of the wedding party were included.

A few weeks before the big day, my husband's Uncle Charlie (who is close to 80), let us know he was very hurt not to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. He made it clear he expected us to make an exception for him because he and my husband have always been close. My husband explained to Charlie that if we made an exception for him, we would risk offending other relatives who were not included. He seemed to accept the decision.

It has been many months since the wedding, and it's obvious that Uncle Charlie is nursing a grudge. At family gatherings, he takes every opportunity to challenge anything my husband says to belittle him. He even collected articles on wedding etiquette, invited my husband to lunch and tried to get him to read them.

If my son gets wind of this, he won't tiptoe around Uncle Charlie's feelings as his dad has always done. There will be a permanent rift in the family.

Abby, is there anything I can do or say to resolve this? -- THE PEACEMAKER

DEAR PEACEMAKER: I doubt it. It is precisely for people who feel they deserve to be the "exception" that the rules of etiquette were written in the first place. There is no way to reason with narcissistic, self-centered individuals because they must always be right.

It is not your job or your husband's to make up to Uncle Charlie for his imagined slight. He owes your husband an apology, not the other way around. But please don't hold your breath waiting for it.

DEAR ABBY: As ardent readers of your column, my wife, Pamela, and I feel we must attest to the absolute truth about the "drunken geese" story you have printed.

It is, indeed, a true story and hundreds of years old. The geese were, in fact, ducks -- owned by an innkeeper in Hawkshead in the Lake District of England. The inn is still there and is named "The Drunken Duck." It's complete with a beautiful pub sign showing the ducks clothed in fitted woolen hand-knit garments. My wife and I have dined frequently in this charming pub, which, by the way, offers superb food. -- BRIAN KERR, PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA.

DEAR BRIAN: Some stories take on a life of their own. Thank you for setting the record straight. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: The person who wrote and said the drunken geese story was first told in a book by Richard Brautigan should do more research.

The fact is, Jerry Clower told this story from 1957 until the day he died in 1997. I don't like it when people don't know what they are talking about. -- VERY UPSET IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR VERY UPSET: Neither do I. I wonder if Jerry had been to England.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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