DEAR ABBY: I have recently gotten to know a lovely lady I'll call "Judith," whose son is being married in August. During a recent trip to Florida, Judith mentioned that she was looking for a dress to wear to the wedding and asked where she might find something nice. The next day, the woman she had spoken to arrived with a beautiful gown she had worn only once. The dress is lovely and of excellent quality. It fits and looks perfect on Judith.
After showing the dress to her future daughter-in-law, Judith received an e-mail from the young woman stating that the dress will "clash" with her ivory wedding dress and might look "dirty" next to it. (The dress is a light metallic gold.) She also told Judith that the purse was too gaudy.
Is it the bride's place to tell the mother of the groom what to wear? -- FRIEND OF JUDITH'S
DEAR FRIEND: Tell her? No. But to discuss her concerns with her future mother-in-law would have been acceptable. The bride-to-be's method of conveying her concerns to Judith was unfortunate. They both would have been better served had she picked up the phone and called.
DEAR ABBY: How do you politely and firmly discourage overzealous religious solicitors who go door-to-door? My mother's co-worker and her husband have been coming to our house for some time, but now that Mom has retired, they have increased the frequency of their "visits."
Every time they show up at our door, Mom and I tell them, "No, we're not interested," but they don't seem to understand the meaning of those words. They still keep coming, and when we're not home, they leave literature on our doorstep. It's becoming irritating, and we're losing our patience. This couple has been "visiting" us for at least five years. Any ideas? -- HOUNDED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
DEAR HOUNDED: What took you so long to write? The next time they show up, greet them with a smile and tell them, "Thank you, but I have already been saved." Then firmly close the door. If you find "literature" on your doorstep, toss it.
This question has arisen before. Years ago, a helpful reader wrote that a "courteous young man" had ignored the "No Solicitors" sign that was posted. When he offered her some religious literature, she responded, "You may give it to me only if you take some of MY literature for YOU to read," and handed him the Catholic Digest. The young man not only left in a hurry, but didn't accept the literature or leave any of his.
DEAR ABBY: My wife had a wheelbarrow with a steel wheel that had a tendency to sink into the ground when she was pushing a heavy load, making it difficult for her.
I recently won a large sum of money in a lottery, and to show my love and appreciation, I bought her a wheelbarrow with an inflatable rubber tire so it would be easier for her to push a heavy load. My wife has not talked to me since. What did I do wrong? -- BIG WINNER IN THE USA
DEAR BIG WINNER: Congratulations on your good fortune. What you "did" isn't the problem. What you DIDN'T do is what has upset your wife. You didn't ask her what she would LIKE to have. Do it now, and I predict she'll not only start talking, but you'll have trouble getting her to stop.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600