DEAR ABBY: My parents have strong opinions. I don't agree with them in areas such as how to raise or discipline my children. If I try to explain why, they mock me with their tone of voice. Then they get mad if I try to discuss it with them and won't speak to me for a couple of weeks.
Currently, they are insisting that I am making a mountain out of a molehill because of the coronavirus. I stay at home with my children and run out only to buy food. Abby, my parents are ignoring all the health recommendations. They still go out in public places where people are close to each other.
They now want to have all their grandkids over to play and are upset with me because I refuse. It has reached the point that I don't answer my phone when I see Mom's number because I know she'll lecture me on how I am "tearing the family apart over this nonsense that we'll just laugh about next year." How do you get family members to respect your request for social distancing? -- DOING WHAT'S RIGHT FOR NOW
DEAR DOING: Here's how: Stick to your guns. Remind your mother that your children's welfare is your sacred responsibility. It is your job to ensure their safety, and it's no laughing matter. Tell her this is why you have chosen to follow the directions issued by the Centers for Disease Control. You wish she and your dad would be more careful about their own health, but you respect that they are adults making their own choices, and you expect that she will extend to you the same courtesy. Period!
DEAR ABBY: I recently gave a family member a gift. Immediately upon opening it, they exclaimed, "I don't want this! I will never use this. Can I return it and get something else?" This was followed by repeatedly saying they didn't want the item and dragging out of the closet a similar item another family member had given them, exclaiming, "See? I already have almost the exact same thing, and I've never used it."
This relative kept repeating they didn't ever want anything like this and what I should always get them. This is the same person, by the way, who buys me whatever they want to get me whether I want it or not, and refuses to listen when I state what I would like as gifts. Am I too sensitive, or is this behavior bad manners? -- GIFT HORSE IN WYOMING
DEAR GIFT HORSE: It's an example of appalling bad manners and lack of gratitude. Because the relative is also unwilling or unable to choose appropriate gifts, why not agree to stop exchanging them? In cases like this, a nice, neutral greeting card would cause fewer hurt feelings.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I disagree about something, and I'd like you to be the tie-breaker. One of us believes it's proper to keep the title to a vehicle in the glove compartment of the vehicle alongside the registration and insurance papers. The other thinks it's foolish and dangerous. What say you? -- TIE-BREAKER IN KENTUCKY
DEAR TIE-BREAKER: I say it is better to err on the side of caution and keep the title in a safe deposit box or file cabinet. The same is true for the deed to your home, as well as other important documents.
DEAR ABBY: I love your column. Some years ago, you printed a recipe for baked beans. I believe they were called St. James' Baked Beans. I have lost my copy. I would get lots of compliments about how great they were at family gatherings and potlucks. Would you please reprint the recipe? -- SHIRLEY IN BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS
DEAR SHIRLEY: Thank you for your kind words and for letting me know how much you enjoyed that recipe. It's included in my Cookbooklet set, which contains more than 100 tasty recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, main courses and desserts that can be used when friends and family get together to celebrate holidays and special occasions. Shirley, I am pleased to share it, knowing you will continue to enjoy it.
ST. JAMES' BAKED BEANS
6 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (16-ounce) can pork and beans, drained
1 (16-ounce) can lima beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10-ounce) package sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole. In a small skillet, saute the bacon and onions until the bacon is crisp and onions are lightly browned; drain well. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add bacon-onion mixture; mix well. Pour bean mixture into prepared casserole. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
For readers who are interested in having my cookbooklets, they can be ordered as a set. Once you start reviewing "Cookbooklet II" you will discover that a sweet tooth runs in my family. The pecan pie recipe has won blue ribbons at county fairs, while others were featured on the covers of women's magazines. The booklets can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. I know the recipes will become among your favorites because dinner guests, family members -- as well as many readers -- have raved about them.
Also included in this collection are tips on entertaining, when those days return, for anyone who is inexperienced or nervous about it. Remember, although what you put on the table is important, it's who you put on the chairs that makes for a great party.
DEAR ABBY: I am seeing a guy whose roommate is a sex offender. I found out after I typed the address on the internet. I'm not sure how to ask my friend about it. Should I come right out and ask, or just leave it alone? I'm not sure he knows, but I would be surprised if he didn't. I don't want it to be awkward when I ask. -- SHOCKED IN VIRGINIA
DEAR SHOCKED: There are various levels of sex offenses, and the roommate's offense may be minor. Double-check to make sure the roommate's name, address and photo match what you found on the site. Tell the man you are seeing what you discovered, but not in an alarmist manner.