DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Fed Up in N.Y.," whose father-in-law scoots off in his motorized wheelchair to the local bar a mile away and returns home drunk, missed one point. The bar has a legal responsibility not to allow customers to leave drunk, and instead of serving drunk customers, to cut them off.
"Fed Up" should go to the bar with the police and inform the bartender and management that the next time they "overserve" "Papa Jake," she'll see to it that the New York state liquor license people get an earful, and if anything happens to Papa Jake, or he causes injury to anyone in his drunken condition on the way home, the bar will share in that responsibility.
I'll bet a gin and tonic after that the bar will cut Papa Jake off long before he gets drunk. -- DAVID J. IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR DAVID J: That may be true in California, but I'm not sure it's so in every state. Your suggestion is an intelligent one, and it's certainly worth making an inquiry to the beverage control board in that woman's state.
DEAR ABBY: Why didn't you suggest counseling for that poor man? Obviously, Papa Jake is widowed and has too much idle time on his hands. After he has been given a thorough physical and mental evaluation, he needs to be introduced to AA, as well as activities that could spark his creative talents. -- JESSICA IN TENNESSEE
DEAR JESSICA: I'm sure that at the time of his stroke and afterward, Papa Jake received physical and neurological evaluations. However, if he's willing to admit he has an alcohol problem, AA could be helpful. (And so could Al-Anon for "Fed Up" and her husband.) They might also consider contacting the American Stroke Association, which maintains a listing of telephone support groups for stroke survivors, their families, friends and interested professionals. The toll-free number is 888-4STROKE.
DEAR ABBY: As a follow-up to the letter from "Fed Up in N.Y.," whose father-in-law was using his motorized scooter to travel to a bar, I suggest that she or her husband disconnect the battery to his scooter. I hope this is helpful. -- PHILIP C., HOUSTON
DEAR PHILIP: It might prove helpful, but only as a last resort.