The left­overs thief

Manteca Bulletin - - Comics - An­nie Lane

Dear An­nie: I have had this is­sue with a cer­tain fam­ily mem­ber, and I am hop­ing you can ad­vise me on what to do. When the fam­ily of one of our sons vis­its and eats din­ner at our house, his wife cleans up af­ter­ward, which is ap­pre­ci­ated, but the prob­lem is that she takes 90 per­cent of the food for her­self and her grown chil­dren with­out ask­ing. If they were hav­ing fi­nan­cial prob­lems, I would gladly give it all to them, but this is def­i­nitely not the case. One year, she wrapped up the re­mains of a 5-pound ham. I am now stop­ping the meals and of­fer­ing only dessert, which I feel bad about. I feel worse about her tak­ing what isn’t hers to take. Help, please. I will be watch­ing for your re­ply. Thank you so much for lis­ten­ing. -- Long­time Fan

Dear Long­time Fan: You never know what goes on be­hind closed doors. Maybe they are hav­ing fi­nan­cial prob­lems. Re­gard­less, she is feed­ing your grand­chil­dren. If it re­ally both­ers you that she takes all the left­overs, per­haps you could set aside a plate of left­overs and put a cute name tag on it for her. Ei­ther way, I would be ex­tremely re­luc­tant to cut her off from tak­ing home some of the food -- and

don’t set­tle for serv­ing only dessert when you and your fam­ily would pre­fer a real meal.

Dear An­nie: Up un­til six months ago, my 96-year-old father was ac­tive. He was driv­ing, help­ing with farm chores and even driv­ing the trac­tor in the fields to as­sist with har­vest­ing. We are a longestab­lished Up­per Mid­west­ern farm fam­ily. We have a won­der­ful com­mu­nity of lov­ing peo­ple. Mom (who passed away many years ago) and Dad were vi­brant. Dad was a leader in many ways and re­spected in all ar­eas of his ca­reer, church and com­mu­nity. Un­til re­cently, he was vis­it­ing shut-ins and help­ing oth­ers any way he could. Now he is the one who is a shut-in -- suf­fer­ing from a stroke and un­able to take care of him­self.

I am so an­gry with those peo­ple he loves so much who can­not find the time to visit or send a card or make a phone call. Don’t ask me how Dad is do­ing! Visit him. Take him a cookie or a cup of ice cream. Let him know how much you have ap­pre­ci­ated him over the years. Share a good story. Even a short visit means every­thing. His whole world has changed. He knows he is de­clin­ing. “Busy” isn’t go­ing to mat­ter when your loved ones are gone.

An­nie, thank you for your plat­form. I am ap­pre­cia­tive of ev­ery minute I have with my father and wish that all chil­dren could feel that emo­tion. I was away from the com­mu­nity for most of my life and un­der­stand how day-to­day liv­ing can di­min­ish fam­ily his­tory and her­itage. When our par­ents are gone, it seems that so much tra­di­tion is gone. -- Daugh­ter in Wis­con­sin

Dear Daugh­ter: Your mes­sage will be rel­e­vant to many fam­i­lies, so I’m happy to pro­vide a plat­form. But if you’re try­ing to get through to your fam­ily mem­bers, this isn’t the most ef­fi­cient way. You need to com­mu­ni­cate to them how lonely and iso­lated your dad is feel­ing and what di­rect ac­tions they can take to help. Sure, ide­ally, they would have sprung to ac­tion on their own ac­cord, but in re­al­ity, it might take a wake-up call. Pick up the phone.

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