DEAR ABBY: I met the love of my life eight months ago. Everything about our relationship is perfect. We both love our families, fine food, games and, most importantly, each other. We met at an antique store and now have an extensive stamp collection together.
Wanting this joy to last forever, I proposed to her. I couldn't imagine a happier life for both of us, until I discovered that she is already engaged. Her mother informed me that she had accepted a proposal from a close friend of ours months ago.
At first I was devastated, but now I understand the situation. She felt obligated to accept his proposal, yet I know she will only find true happiness by marrying me. How do I go about bringing this up to her? I'm very nonconfrontational and don't want her to feel awkward or uncomfortable. Should I tell her what I know or wait for her to come to me? Please help. — IN LOVE BUT CONFUSED
DEAR IN LOVE: Something is definitely wrong with this picture. Sometimes confrontation is healthy. Don't waste another moment waiting for the girl to level with you. Tell her what her mother told you, and ask if it is true. If it is, she needs to explain. Although you may be ready to settle down and get married, she may not be emotionally mature enough to marry either one of you.
DEAR ABBY: Today, June 21 — the first day of summer — is the annual ASK Day (Asking Saves Kids). Children are out of school and visiting other people's homes. This is a moment to remind parents to ask if there are guns in these homes and if they're stored safely — out of kids' reach.
Will you help us get the word out about our campaign? Prevention saves lives, and we're grateful for your consideration. — BETTINA LANYI, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS, BRADY CAMPAIGN
DEAR BETTINA: I'm pleased to spread the word. Readers, the ASK Campaign is a collaboration between the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Its goal is to ensure kids' safety by encouraging parents to ASK if there is an unlocked gun in the homes where their children play.
For more information, I encourage you to visit askingsaveskids.org. There you will find various resources, including tips for parents and others on how to bring up the sometimes-awkward topic of safe storage. There are also brochures and flyers in English and Spanish and suggestions about how to work with groups in your community to bring public awareness to the ASK program.
DEAR ABBY: My investment adviser got married four months ago. He and his wife have invited me to a celebration of their marriage. It is not a formal affair, but an evening barbecue at their condo rooftop. Should I take a gift? And if so, what would be appropriate for an investment adviser? — BETTY IN FLORIDA
DEAR BETTY: A token gift would be thoughtful. Something they could use at one time or another might be a nice picture frame for their home. Be sure to include a thoughtful note with it, wishing them a lifetime of happiness together.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
Meet the chef: J.R. Crutcher specializes in 'Southern food, redefined, with a twist,' at Cafe on the Corner