Dear Annie: My grown son is an alcoholic. It has not interfered with his job so far, but it seems to be getting worse. His father drank himself to death, and I'm so worried he will go down the same path. He absolutely won't discuss it.
Last Mother's Day, he promised to give up drinking, but a month later, I saw him guzzle two beers at a family picnic, and I remarked on it. He said he never wanted to speak to me again, and since then, he hasn't.
I'm not getting any younger, and I miss my son. I will be attending Al-Anon meetings, but is there anything else I can do? — Suffering in Illinois
Dear Suffering: We're so sorry your son has chosen not to deal with his alcoholism, but this is not something you can change for him. He must do it himself. You have made a wise decision to attend Al-Anon meetings. This is a wonderful organization for people whose lives are affected by a loved one's drinking. The members there will give you coping strategies and a shoulder to cry on, as well as advice for dealing specifically with your son. We hope he contacts you soon.
Dear Annie: My dearest girlfriend insists on putting a dessert spoon at the top of the dinner plates when she hosts a formal dinner. She says that's what etiquette demands.
I think a dessert spoon should be served with dessert instead of sitting out on the table during the entire dinner. Who's right? — Etiquette Challenged in Dallas
Dear Dallas: In a formal setting, dessert forks and spoons are brought out with the dessert. For an informal setting, however, it is perfectly OK to place dessert utensils above the plate or with the rest of the forks and spoons (the fork on the left, closest to the plate, and the spoon on the right, closest to the plate, because those will be the last utensils used).
Dear Annie: I usually agree with your advice, but I think you missed the mark with "Disappointed," the frustrated bridesmaid. She said the bride ordered hideous dresses, and when the bridesmaids tried to get her to find another, she didn't like any of them. When "Disappointed" found her own dress, the bride didn't like it. She then offered to drop out of the wedding party. At the rehearsal dinner, the bride announced that she had a new maid of honor because the other one didn't want to give a speech.
When a woman agrees to be a bridesmaid, she agrees to the bride's choice of dress. If they are ugly, no one attending the wedding blames the bridesmaids. "Disappointed" complained that she bought three dresses she could "ill afford." However, one of them was because the bride was trying to please her bridesmaids, and the last one was because "Disappointed" thought she had better taste than the bride. The bride was kind enough to allow her out of the maid-of-honor role, while keeping her in the wedding party.
As for the "lie" that the bride told at the rehearsal dinner? My guess is the bride thought it sounded better than "my best friend is too selfish to honor my choice of bridesmaid dress." Personally, I think "Disappointed" sounds like a bridesmaidzilla. — Should Have Eloped
Dear Should Have: We appreciate your spin on the situation, but brides need to take their attendants' financial situations into consideration when choosing a dress. And a thoughtful bride will ask her bridesmaids to help select the dress to begin with, preventing exactly this type of rancor. As for the lie at the rehearsal dinner, we don't understand why the bride felt it was necessary to make a public announcement altogether, surprising (and embarrassing) her friend. We will say, however, that an apology — on either side — can go a long way toward repairing a friendship. We hope they can do it.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. 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.