DEAR ABBY: I am being married next month. Last night, my father announced to me that he had just married his much younger girlfriend, "Cassandra." Abby, she is even younger than I am. I am OK with the marriage as long as Dad is happy, even though I do not approve. But that is beside the point.
Cassandra is now adamant about walking down the aisle with my father during the parent processional at my wedding. I am extremely uncomfortable with this idea. She has never been a parent to me, nor do I believe she ever will be.
How can I deal with this tactfully and keep my wedding as I would like it? Help! -- BEWILDERED GROOM
DEAR BEWILDERED GROOM: You haven't mentioned your mother. If she is living, she should accompany your father during the parent processional.
Although I am sure Cassandra would like to be recognized for who and what she officially is on this family occasion, she should remember this is your wedding, not her coming-out party. The impression she creates will last as long as her marriage to your father. Please clip this and give it to her. Maybe seeing it in black-and-white will convince her to lighten up.
DEAR ABBY: Are there any rules or guidelines when an ex-spouse is hospitalized or dies? My ex-husband is in intensive care. If he dies, what is my expected role? We have successfully navigated through graduations, weddings and baptisms in a civil manner. I am extremely close to my former mother-in-law, grandmother to my children.
Abby, I want to do what is right for my children and his mother, but I'm not sure what that is. Any advice would be appreciated. -- DIVORCED IN INDIANA
DEAR DIVORCED IN INDIANA: Trust your common sense. If your ex has remarried, ask his wife and your former mother-in-law if your presence would be disruptive were you to pay your respects. If the answer is yes, keep your distance. If the answer is no, keep your presence low-key.
DEAR ABBY: Your column concerning the problem of dumping unwanted pets prompts me to share an incident that happened several years ago.
My brother lives five miles outside a small town in Texas, and one day after a big snowstorm, he needed to drive into town to get groceries and gas.
Just as he was about to leave, he noticed his neighbor's car pulling up to the curb on the opposite side of the street. When the neighbor drove off, a small dog stood in the snow. The neighbor had dumped his dog!
My brother hurriedly picked up the dog and drove to his neighbor's house. He then let the dog out and watched him scamper up the steps.
Lo and behold, the next week, the neighbor told my brother about dumping the dog -- and how the dog beat him home. He said, "If the little mutt loves me that much, I'm going to keep him!" -- BILL GRIFFIN, RICHARDSON, TEXAS
DEAR BILL: Pet dumping is no laughing matter. It often results in the death of an innocent animal. I am pleased your story had a positive outcome -- but a dog shouldn't have to turn into a homing pigeon with the aid of a Good Samaritan in order to prove how much it loves its owner.
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