DEAR ABBY: When we were younger, my sister, "Patti," and I made a pact to be each other's maid of honor. It was Patti's suggestion, and we both thought I would soon marry my then-boyfriend. It didn't happen.
A few years later, when Patti became engaged, she asked a friend with whom she had recently reconnected to be her maid of honor. She never addressed the issue with me or offered any explanation. I was crushed, but kept mum. In the years that followed, my sister told me she regretted her decision and has apologized, which helped soothe my feelings.
Last week I became engaged. I want Patti in my wedding, but as a bridesmaid. My best friend, "Meg," has always been there for me in ways I never knew a friend could. I was her maid of honor three years ago, and cherished the experience as one that signified the meaning of our friendship.
I feel torn because of the promise I made to my sister, even though she didn't honor her promise to me. I don't want to hurt Patti, and I also don't want to seem retaliatory. Can you offer me any guidance?
— MUDDLED MAIDEN IN TEXAS
DEAR MUDDLED MAIDEN: Yes. Patti's mistake was in not TALKING to you about the fact that she had changed her mind about having you as her maid of honor. My advice is to warmly invite your sister to join your wedding party as a bridesmaid, and explain why you have decided to ask your friend Meg to be maid of honor. You may find that Patti no longer expects you to keep that long ago promise, particularly in light of the fact that when she chose her bridal attendants she had a case of temporary amnesia.
DEAR ABBY: Many people in the world appear indifferent to human suffering and the serious problems our planet is facing.
I am appalled when I see TV shows about food contests in which mounds of food are piled in front of each contender, who then wolfs down enough to feed five or six people.
Evidently the audience enjoys the spectacle. They cheer and applaud the winner as if he was a hero. Do they never think about the millions of people who are starving? I would appreciate your comments.
— PRAGMATIST IN N.Y.
DEAR PRAGMATIST: No, I doubt they consider that while they are stuffing themselves, others are literally starving, nor have I heard that the sponsors have donated a portion of the proceeds to feed the hungry.
This Thanksgiving my local paper featured a color photo on the front page of a family celebrating at the beach, pulling a large turkey out of a fryer. Below the fold was another one, this of a woman in Sudan, sitting by a roadside, obviously undernourished, trying to sell her only goat so she could provide for herself and her family.
Closer to home, food banks are struggling and American children depend on school nutrition programs for survival, while audiences view eating contests as entertainment. And that's more obscene than any X-rated movie will ever be, in my opinion.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.