We have a large collection of 18th- and 19th-century antiques, mostly inherited. It consists of furniture, silver, china, Oriental rugs and artwork. Our son professes an interest when asked, but recently threw out a very good (but not antique) rug we had given him. He replaced it with a rug from IKEA.
His wife is a sweet woman, but does not care at all about possessions. Their house is chaos - a big way station. Because these possessions are family items going back generations, I'm floored by his not understanding the significance and the good fortune of having them. How should I approach this?
- Robert in Atlanta
DEAR ROBERT: Talk to your son, but above all, do not be defensive. His and your daughter-in-law's inability to appreciate the value of the heirlooms isn't a personal rejection. Forgive me if this seems blasphemous, but some people consider antiques to be simply used furniture. And they don't want the responsibility of polishing silver or having to worry about breaking a dish.
Because your son's lifestyle is so different from your own, please give serious consideration to donating your heirlooms to a museum or selling them to someone who will appreciate their value. The proceeds could be placed in trust for the next generation of your family, and you will have peace of mind knowing your heirlooms will be preserved.
DEAR ABBY: I'm the only African-American at my job. I work in a small office. I enjoy my job and get along with everyone - including the individual I have issues with. I'll call him "Rick." Rick thinks it's comical to always talk to me with what I'll refer to as "homeboy slang."
When another co-worker asked about my plans for the holidays, Rick chimed in and said, "Y'all know she ain't 'bout to tell y'all her business." Abby, I don't talk like that, and I was offended by his statement. Some co-workers laughed while others said they agreed he was being rude.
I usually ignore him, but I can't do that any longer. I deal with ignorance all the time, but it's embarrassing at my workplace. How can I put Rick in his place without blowing my top?
- Had It in
North Bergen, N.J.
DEAR HAD IT: The ideal time to have spoken up was the first time your co-worker pulled that nonsense. Take Rick aside and tell him privately that he embarrassed you and that the connotation is racist. If the man has any manners or common sense at all, he will apologize. But whether he does or not, make clear that the next time it happens you'll complain to the boss. His behavior is over the line and not funny.
DEAR ABBY: Something has bothered me for a long time, and I'm wondering if it's just me.
My women friends and I will walk into a restaurant and the waiter or waitress will come up and say, "What can I do for you guys?" or "What would you guys like?" Then, after we've started eating, the person will return and ask, "How are you guys doing?"
Abby, I'm not a guy. I'm a lady. Why can't these people simply ask, "How are you today?" What do you think? Am I too sensitive?
- Disgruntled in Lompoc, Calif.
DEAR DISGRUNTLED: You are being addressed that way because the server was not taught differently. Also, your server may be quite young and using the most casual form of English. Are you too sensitive? If you're letting it ruin your meal, yes, I think so. *