Dear Annie: My best friend and I are widows in our 70s. "Agatha" has suddenly gone gaga over a widower who wants her to move into his place, pay rent, and split the grocery and utility bills. He will take care of the garage, yard and car, and she will take care of the house. This man also wants her to rent her house for income for the two of them to share, or sell it and invest the money together.
I explained that "taking care of the house" means shopping, cooking, dishes, washing, ironing, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping and dusting. I also warned her that he's taking advantage of her financially. She became very angry and said I don't want her to be happy.
Agatha says she "can't wait to have a man to take care of again" and that I'm just jealous. Should I call her grown children and get them involved? I may lose a friend, but it's better than watching her get scammed. — Worried Friend Down South
Dear Worried: You may have reason to be concerned, but Agatha doesn't want to admit that she could have attracted the wrong guy. Here's how to involve the children: Call to say hello. Tell them that their mother is simply giddy over her new boyfriend and you hope they all approve. Let them take it from there.
Dear Annie: Please tell your readers not to force junk food on anyone. My elderly mother has had numerous heart attacks. She barely survived the last one. She also is quite overweight, yet my morbidly obese sister, "Mirella," brings cake, candy, cookies and pies to Mother's home. When Mother visits my sister, Mirella insists that Mom take home the leftover sweets.
I've told Mirella that Mother cannot have sweets, because the sugar contributes to her heart disease. But my sister still forces the junk on Mother, saying, "She doesn't have to eat it." My sister is not being kind. Giving sugar to a heart-attack patient makes as much sense as forcing an emphysema victim to smoke a carton of cigarettes. Any suggestions? — Trying To Save My Mother's Life
Dear Trying: Assuming your mother is not incompetent, she is entitled to make her own food choices. However, it's too bad your sister doesn't care enough to look out for Mom's health. Giving Mom forbidden sweets is a lazy way to buy her affection, and Mom enjoys it. Instead of raising your blood pressure, accept that you cannot control what your mother and sister do. If the worst happens, it happens.
Dear Annie: I am a 13-year-old girl and a member of a Youth Court system. The system is kids defending kids, prosecuted by kids, judged by kids. Most of the cases we get are shoplifting, but Youth Courts prosecute all Class A or Class B misdemeanors. As long as you agree to plead "no contest," you are eligible for these Courts.
Kids should know the benefits of these programs. Here are some of ours:
— There is no formal conviction record after you complete your sentence.
— You are being judged by kids around your age who know a little better about the pressures of being a teenager today.
— It is usually $30-$50 for the entire sentencing.
So if you get arrested, ask the police officer or loss prevention officer if there is a Youth Court in your area. — Youth Attorney
Dear Attorney: Not all young offenders are given this option, but we appreciate your letting our readers know that this program exists and can be of immeasurable help when differentiating between major crimes and youthful indiscretions. Anyone interested in finding out if your state has such a program should contact the National Youth Court Center (www.youthcourt.net), c/o American Probation and Parole Association, P.O. Box 11910, Lexington, KY 40578-1910.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2005. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.