DEAR ABBY: My son-in-law is taking his 8-year-old son on a hunting trip. I strongly disapprove, but cannot say anything. I am shocked that my daughter is allowing it.
As a small child, I had a little playmate who blew his fingers off with a hunting gun. I fail to see any reason a child this young needs to learn how to kill animals -- and, of course, I am terrified he will get hurt.
My grandson is worried about going, and I am deeply upset. What do you think about a child this age going hunting? He is a sweet, intelligent child, and I am a ... VERY DISTURBED GRANDMA IN FLORIDA
DEAR DISTURBED GRANDMA: Your son-in-law may hope the hunting trip will be a bonding experience with the boy. However, if the child is worried about going into the woods and killing something, the experience may not bring the desired result. While I am not a fan of killing for sport, if your daughter does not object, there is nothing you or I can do to prevent it. (If they were hunting for food, I might feel differently.)
DEAR ABBY: I just received a holiday card from some relatives. Included with it was a printed one-page newsletter describing their past year's activities. I have received similar essays from them in previous years.
Why do these writings always inflate the deeds of the writer, almost to the point of laughability? It's as if they're saying, "After dashing back from our private audiences with Queen Elizabeth and the pope, we jetted off to Rio to help our dear friends, the Buffetts, launch their new yacht, which is 6 inches longer than the QEII. And our children are doing well. The oldest is a CEO and the younger was just awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry."
To me, the holidays are a time for reflection and reaching out to those less fortunate. The last thing we need to see is an exaggerated (or fictional) account of an ego-trip from somebody who just doesn't get the meaning of the holidays. -- ORDINARY GAL IN ROCHESTER
DEAR ORDINARY GAL: Many individuals -- but not all -- feel as you do about holiday newsletters. It may help you to remember that they are not being written to you personally. The communication you received is a form of self-promotion. So with that in mind, no law says you have to read them. Because you find them upsetting, toss them as you would any other unwanted piece of advertising.
DEAR ABBY: My husband has a tendency to "almost" complete things, but seldom actually does. The discards make it as far as the counter above the trash container where they belong. The hose carrier gets put back two feet from where it's supposed to go. He'll leave his jacket on the chair right next to the coat closet. Get the picture?
My husband is a great guy and he does a lot around the house. It's just that these "almosts" are so consistent that I'm curious about whether they're symptomatic of a kind of disorder. -- MAINE OBSERVER
DEAR OBSERVER: With the understanding that I am not licensed in any state of the Union to make a definitive diagnosis, it appears that your husband is either easily distracted or a wee bit ... lazy.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)