DEAR ABBY: During the past 50 years, my handsome and loving 83-year-old brother has been married and divorced eight times -- maybe more. Between marriages he has lived with a number of women off and on.
Now he has made yet another conquest. After knowing a woman in her 70s for only three weeks, they tied the knot. I don't know how it's possible to fall in love that fast; I guess some people do. However, now my brother wants me to meet his "bride" and prepare a fancy dinner in their honor.
I have flatly refused. I have no desire to meet another of his brides and make a big to-do about it. What do you think, Abby? Am I wrong? I am 84 and can't take any more of this nonsense. -- HAD ENOUGH IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HAD ENOUGH: You're not wrong. I don't know how many of these wedding celebrations you have hosted for your brother, but at this point I think you should be a guest at THEIR wedding banquet. And tell your brother I said so.
DEAR ABBY: I am a new father to my precious 13-month-old baby girl.
My 76-year-old grandma (my daughter's great-grandmother) helps us frequently by baby sitting, but doesn't like being stuck indoors for hours at a time. My mother just told me that Grandma is buying an infant car seat so that she can drive the baby around town.
Abby, the thought of my grandma behind the wheel makes me uncomfortable. I know I must say something, but she is one headstrong lady and won't like what she's hearing.
The bond between my daughter and her great-grandma is wonderful, so another sitter is out of the question. What is the best approach to all of this, Abby? Please respond quickly. -- PROTECTIVE NEW DAD, SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NEW DAD: Seventy-six isn't necessarily over the hill. However, if you have any doubts about your grandmother's ability to drive safely with your child in the car, you MUST assert your parental responsibility and protect your child. There is no way to sugar-coat it.
DEAR ABBY: Please inform your readers that the American Association of Poison Control Centers has recently launched a new national toll-free telephone hotline for poison emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- 1-800-222-1222.
The poison center can answer questions about household products, chemicals at work or in the environment, drugs (prescriptions, over-the-counter, herbal, illegal or animal medicines), snake bites, spider bites, plants and mushrooms.
More than 70 percent of poisonings are preventable. Readers can also call the hotline for poison prevention information and for stickers to post the new hotline number in their homes. Having the poison emergency number handy can save a life. -- LINDA B. KALIN, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF POISON CONTROL CENTERS
DEAR LINDA: Thank you for sharing this important information. Your letter is a "keeper."
Readers, no matter what your location is, this one number will connect you to lifesaving advice and helpful information from your nearest poison center. All services are free, confidential and available for the hearing-impaired and for those who do not speak English as a first language.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600