Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Owner of a Failed Business Looks for Words of Sympathy

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were married five years ago. We had a lovely, informal wedding with close friends and loved ones.

I am ashamed to say that I am such a procrastinator that I never mailed any thank-you notes for our gifts. I was raised that it is proper to send them in a timely fashion, but after a certain amount of time passed, I felt too embarrassed to do it.

Abby, every so often the guilt haunts me. I feel terrible for not sending them, and have made a point of telling young couples being married that they need to make sure they send their thank-yous out promptly or they'll regret it.

What should I do? Chalk it up to a life lesson about good manners, or send out thank-you notes five years late with my apologies? -- OOPS! IN MIDDLETOWN, VA.

DEAR OOPS!: Sometimes for someone to do the right thing takes a "gentle nudge" from an advice columnist, so please allow me: The people who gave you the wedding presents likely have not forgotten that they didn't hear a word from you. So, START WRITING. Do what you know you should have done in the first place. Better late than never.