KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR | Annie's Mailbox He decided to teach his wife a lesson about danger

Dear Annie: For years, I have cautioned my wife about the dangers of leaving our small children unsupervised in our unfenced backyard while she is occupied with other things. Despite my constant warnings, she continues this dangerous practice.
Today, my wife was shoveling snow off the front steps when I came home and found our 5-year-old son unattended in the backyard, as usual. I decided to teach my wife a lesson. I took the boy into the house and instructed him to hide. I then went outside and asked my wife where our son was. When she couldn't find him, she panicked. After about five minutes, I produced our child and reminded her how tragic it would have been if someone had actually abducted him.
Here's the kicker: Though my wife believed our son could have been taken from the yard, she still thinks she did nothing wrong. She is focusing solely on the "meanness" of my trick. I know my stunt wasn't the sweetest thing in the world to pull, Annie, but it pales in comparison to the harm that could have occurred. What do you think? Springfield, Mass.
Dear Springfield: You must be a barrel of laughs at home. OK, your wife should not be leaving the boy unattended in the backyard, fenced or unfenced. While it may be inconvenient for her to keep him by her side at all times, it is a necessary precaution. As for you, buster, consider yourself lucky your wife didn't make you sleep with the snow shovel. Her actions were stupid, but yours were cruel. Each of you owes the other an apology.
Dear Annie: I have been casually dating a wonderful man for about five months and truly care about him. "Lawrence" has made it clear that he doesn't want a serious relationship, however, and I can accept that.
Last night, I found out from a mutual friend that Lawrence was recently diagnosed with metastatic lymph node cancer. I am shocked. He has become slightly distant from me, and I'm not sure what to do. He does not return my calls, and when I do get him on the phone, he is quiet, vague and sometimes rude. I know he has a lot on his mind. Lawrence has no family nearby, but he does have many friends, and I thought I was one of them.
I don't know if I should leave him alone or try harder to reach him. How can I be supportive without being pushy? Grieving in Kernsville, N.C.
Dear Grieving: Not everyone is comfortable discussing a serious illness with friends. Also, Lawrence may not want you to see him in a debilitated state, or he may be worried that your relationship will resemble that of a caregiver and patient.
Phone Lawrence, and tell him you are aware of his diagnosis, that you care about him and would like to be a supportive friend. If he won't let you get any closer, try to respect his decision. Ask that mutual friend about sending cards, meals, books or other items so he knows you are thinking of him. Beyond that, it's his call.
Dear Readers: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Here is one of his many excellent quotes to ponder: "Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything, and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different."
XE-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@attbi.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, Ill. 60611.
Creators Syndicate

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