DEAR ABBY: My daughter was recently married. My niece -- a talented artist -- hand-painted flowers on wine glasses for the dinner reception following the ceremony. They were intended to be keepsakes for each of the adult guests.
The glasses turned out beautifully, and made each place setting extra special. I knew they'd be treasured by our family for years to come.
At the end of the evening, I gathered four glasses from our family's table, then glanced at the bridal table of eight -- as some guests approached to offer thanks for a fabulous evening. When I turned around, the four glasses were gone. Not only had glasses disappeared from our table, but also from the head table and from my niece's (the artist). Those of us who had worked hardest on the wedding were left with nothing -- and that includes the bride and groom.
The following day, someone mentioned to me that they had seen certain guests leave with four to six glasses each. One woman even had her child, who was loaded down with glasses, make several trips to her car.
We've figured out who the culprits were: some out-of-towners who stayed at the home of one of the groom's relatives. I heard that the glassware covered the entire top of their dining room table. My question: Should we ask these people to return the glasses? Thanks for your input, Abby. -- MOTHER OF THE BRIDE IN MESA, ARIZ.
DEAR MOTHER: By all means ask -- but there is no guarantee they'll be returned. People who take more than their share usually feel an inflated sense of entitlement. Although their manners were atrocious, please don't let this cause in-law problems before the marriage has even begun. Perhaps out of sympathy, the artist will be generous enough to craft another pair of goblets for the bride and groom.
DEAR ABBY: I am in a one-year relationship with a wonderful man who is divorced with two children. The kids and I get along great -- or at least I thought we did. It turns out they are making up lies about me and telling their mother. My boyfriend and his ex have a strained relationship and fight about everything. I love his children, but I don't know how to handle this. What do you think I am doing wrong? -- TELLING THE TRUTH IN DULUTH
DEAR TELLING THE TRUTH: You're not doing anything wrong. Either the kids are trying to cause a breakup with the idea their parents will reunite, or they are telling their mother things they think she wants to hear. There's nothing you can do about it. Your boyfriend will have to clear the air with his former spouse.
DEAR ABBY: I am a woman who was raised in the South by a very proper mother. She told me that a man should never give a woman "intimate" gifts like lingerie.
A friend and I have argued about whether this "rule" applies today. I still believe the practice is unacceptable, even if you are engaged. She thinks it is OK. Please settle this so we can get on with our lives. -- CONFUSED IN OREGON
DEAR CONFUSED: Perhaps the two of you should agree to disagree on this one. Your mother is part of the "hands off" generation, and the logic was that knowing lingerie sizes was "too intimate" for couples who weren't married. In today's world, however, such logic would put companies like La Perla and Victoria's Secret out of business.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.