DEAR ABBY: I'm a widow who never thought I'd consider marrying again until I met "Lester" online two years ago. Being with him makes me feel like a teenager. He holds my hand when we go for walks, brings me flowers and is a wonderful lover.
My problem is he's taking care of his sister, "Gerda," who has cancer. He said she doesn't want him seeing anyone until she's dead. (He stands to inherit her fortune and doesn't want to take a chance on losing the money.) I told him we don't need the money, but he says he has put up with her bad moods for too long to lose it now.
My friends insist that because Lester doesn't call or email me much, Gerda is his wife, not his sister. I checked him out. Their last names are different and the house and his truck are in both their names. I'm lonely and want to be with him. I offered to help him with his sister, but he says she's also an alcoholic and doesn't want company.
I haven't heard from Lester since Gerda told him he can't have a girlfriend until she's gone. It's been two months. Should I wait, or should I start looking elsewhere as my son suggested? -- LONELY WITHOUT HIM
DEAR LONELY: Listen to your son because it appears he has good common sense. As to Lester, don't count on him because whatever Gerda is to him, it appears she has rallied and may not be going anywhere for a long, long time.
P.S. Married couples these days do not always share the same last name.
DEAR ABBY: I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner for a small group of friends for the past 20 years. My brother and sister-in-law live 400 miles away and also attend. It is the only time I get to see them.
Last week, I called my brother to invite him. He confirmed they would love to come and went on to say he feels the group should discuss our feelings about the presidential candidates. I pointed out that discussions about politics or religion seldom have happy endings and I prefer they be left at the front door.
My brother then announced that due to my decision about inappropriate subjects of conversation, he and his wife won't be coming! I'm shocked, hurt and angry. I can't stop crying. I can't sleep, and I don't know what to do. Can you help? -- SADDENED SISTER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SISTER: Dry your tears and stand your ground. That your brother would attempt to hijack your Thanksgiving celebration by injecting subjects that could make any of the guests uncomfortable is extremely rude. The coming election year is one that will determine the direction of this country, and it is already becoming emotional. Your brother has made his intentions clear. Now move forward and do not waffle.
DEAR ABBY: If family members provide significant services free for a wedding -- officiate, conduct pre-marriage counseling, perform all the musical accompaniment for a long ceremony -- is a wedding gift also expected to be given? This has been a family sore spot. Please help. -- WEDDINGS ARE OUR BUSINESS
DEAR W.A.O.B.: If family members are providing "significant services" for free, that is the gift, and it is presumptuous for anyone to expect more.
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