Abby: Small displays tell larger tale of late ex’s life

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My husband passed away recently and I have some items of his I’m unsure how to tastefully display to honor his memory. They are his Bible, a U.S. flag in a triangular display box (he was a veteran), a set of deer antlers, works he authored, his guitar and family photos. I don’t want to build a shrine, but I don’t want to stick these things in a closet, either.

He was passionate about his pursuits, and his passion was contagious. I want to pay tribute to him without making others uncomfortable. I have a small house, so a grouping of the items takes up significant space. The way I have them set up now is kind of shrine-like, and it’s emotionally wrenching for me and for visiting family. Suggestions?

Widow in Houston

Dear Widow: I am sorry for the loss of your husband. Not knowing how many rooms there are in your home, it’s impossible to tell you sight unseen how to display this memorabilia. However, to lessen the emotional impact, it might be better not to group these mementos all in one place. Another option would be to display the items at different times, so not all of them will be viewed at once.

Dear Abby: There’s a guy I go to a church with. We spent most of the day together with his family. At first, it felt a little weird, and I was the one who broke the silence while we were at dinner. We went to a dance afterward and he was a gentleman. He helped me into the car, etc. He also taught me how to dance and we had a great time. He walked me to my front door at midnight.

When I got to church the following Sunday, I thanked him for coming to the dance with me and told him I had a wonderful time. His family knows I like him a lot. I talked to my mom about it and told her I was going to ask him out. She was fine with it, but when I said something about it to friends, they said it might tarnish our friendship.

Should I ask him out or wait for him to do it? And what do I say to my friends?

Texas Girl Who’s Ready

Dear Texas Girl: When a guy spends most of the day with a girl, it’s a good bet that he likes her. Wait a week or two before making your move, because he may ask you out in the meantime. However, if he doesn’t, then casually ask him to do something with you like go to a movie or sporting event or go hiking. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And as to what to say to your friends about it, I vote for keeping your mouth firmly shut.

Dear Abby: How do I connect with my son? He is 4 and prefers his dad to me. I generally “get” to be the bad guy — the one who takes him to doctor appointments, gives icky meds, enforces bedtime and keeps order. Dad doesn’t even have to try to get affection. They are best buds. My son even asked me to go away so Dad would love him more. It stings. Aren’t boys supposed to love their moms?

Sad Mom in West Virginia

Dear Sad Mom: Of course they are. Parenting responsibilities should be shared, and these days many men step forward and share those responsibilities. Your husband appears to think that being a “bud” is more fun than being a father. Making you the “bad mommy” while he is the “good guy” is unfair not only to you, but also to your son.

The two of you should have already formed a united front when it comes to discipline. If this continues, your boy will play each of you against the other — if he isn’t already — and your problems are only starting.

Dear Abby: I am a medical receptionist with a university medical group. It is common for people to approach my counter and “hover” next to the person I am helping, listening to the information I’m being given without any regard to it being private. When I ask them to stand back, they usually get upset with me.

I’m tired of people acting like it’s me who’s being rude. I could get in trouble by not speaking up because private medical information is supposed to be protected. Would you please inform readers that standing and listening to people while they are being checked in for a medical appointment is not OK, and if they are asked to step away to not take it personally?

Tired Of Asking

Dear Tired: I’ll inform them, but I have another suggestion to offer: Discuss this problem with your office manager and ask if a sign asking patients not to stand within 3 feet of the reception desk when waiting to sign in be put up. That way everyone’s privacy will be protected and no one will be offended.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.