Dear Annie: I wonder what you would say to a son who is constantly demanding that his father make out a will and leave his 10-acre property to him, excluding his sister.
My husband and I have been married just over a year. He has a grown son and daughter from a previous marriage, both of whom are married with children of their own. I have two grown daughters who are doing very well. None of our children lives anywhere near us.
My husband is 59 years old and is a very caring person who loves all our children. Several years ago, he generously told his son, “Johnny,” that he could visit the property any time he wants, and if he would like to do some landscaping or whatever, he should feel free to do so. Johnny gestured, rubbing his thumb and finger together, saying, “Not until I have that piece of paper.” I could see that my husband was hurt and embarrassed.
Recently, Johnny sent a letter stating that he and his family are moving to another country and he wants written documentation that the property will be left to him. In the letter, he also states that his dad “owes him” because my husband wasn’t always a perfect father.
We have plans to retire on that land in three years and live out our final days there. I cannot imagine having a son or daughter who keeps looking forward to the day you die. How do we stop Johnny’s constant preoccupation with our retirement nest egg? — Headed for Retirement in Michigan
Dear Michigan: You and your husband should see a lawyer about making your wills, leaving whatever you plan to leave to whomever you wish to leave it. (We strongly urge you to give each child an equal share.) Johnny is not entitled to know the contents of his father’s will until after Dad’s death. When he asks about the property, he should be told, “Don’t worry. It’s all taken care of.”
Dear Annie: I am concerned about teenagers who, despite warnings of skin cancer in the future, continue to sun tan and use tanning booths. I wonder if you might have room for the story of how we got through to my granddaughter.
“Katie” tanned to a deep bronze each summer and used tanning booths during the rest of the year to maintain the color. Her father, a physician, tried to tell her that she risked cancer in later years. I tried to warn her. Her response was a blithe, “Oh, Grandma, by the time I’m your age, they’ll have a cure for cancer.”
One day, I told her to take a good look at my face. “These wrinkles and
that ugly brown spot are not from age. They’re from sun damage.” That was the end of the tanning. You can’t scare teenagers by talking about a disfiguring and painful disease that seems abstract to them. Rather, talk about what they can see for themselves. The language of beauty is one they understand. — Madison, Wis., Grandma
Dear Grandma: We’re glad you found a way to reach your granddaughter and make her realize that sun damage doesn’t happen overnight. You have to work at it.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Valley Village,” who was embarrassed because her husband used a penlight to read the menu in a dark restaurant. I say, “What a great idea.”
As I’ve gotten older, dim lighting makes it hard for me to see small print. I once struggled to read a menu by the table’s candle. Imagine my embarrassment when the menu caught fire. Now I carry a penlight, too. — Mark in Okinawa, Japan
Dear Mark: Bet the other patrons were thrilled when your menu caught fire. They could finally see theirs.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.