Classic Ann Landers


Dear Ann Landers: I have been married for three years, and it is obvious that my mother does not like my wife. I can deal with that, but I’m becoming increasingly upset by the way Mom behaves around “Amelia.”

Two weeks ago, there was a milestone family affair, and we hired a professional photographer to take pictures. As we were preparing to pose for the photo shoot, my mother informed Amelia that she could not be in the pictures because she was not a blood relative and therefore not a family member. My wife stepped out, but I could see she was very hurt.

There have been other instances, as well. One evening, when several of us went to the theater together, Mom happened to end up sitting next to Amelia. She abruptly stood up, moved to the other side of the row, and announced, “I want to sit next to my son.”

I have asked my mother politely to stop treating Amelia so shabbily, but she insists she has nothing against my wife and accuses me of being overly sensitive. I hope you can help me. — Not Mama’s Boy in Missouri

Dear Missouri: Your signature does not match your letter. You certainly sound like a mama’s boy to me, and a gutless one at that.

Why did you not speak up on your wife’s behalf when your mother decided Amelia couldn’t be in the family pictures because she isn’t a blood relative? And when your mother demanded to sit next to you in the theater, why didn’t you arrange the seating so your wife could be on the other side?

As long as you permit your mother to abuse Amelia, she is going to do it.

It’s high time you asserted yourself, sonny boy.

Check out the Bible, which says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Copy that directive on a piece of paper, and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

Dear Ann Landers: I recently attended a small, rather elegant dinner party. The table was set beautifully, with a lovely centerpiece, fine silver and china.

After the entree had been served, I asked for the saltshaker and pepper shaker. There was none on the table. I believed they had been overlooked. I was informed later that this was “insulting to the hostess” and I should have eaten the meal as it was served.

I have attended and hosted many elegant dinner parties during the past 40 years, and saltshakers and pepper shakers were always part of the formal table service. Will you please give me your thoughts on the matter? — Saltless in Florida

Dear Florida: According to etiquette expert Letitia Baldrige, saltshakers and pepper shakers have become increasingly rare at formal dinners because the cook is supposed to know how to season the food properly. Therefore, if the shakers are not on the table, you should not ask for them.

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