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Ella Marie Francis


FARMINGTON – Ella Marie Francis passed away March 12, 2018, at Parkland Health Center at the age of 85. She was born May 21, 1932, in Cornwall, Missouri, to the late tony Elbert Elders and Gladys Jewell (Corcoran) Elders. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a daughter, Patricia Diane Francis; sisters, Glenda Ruth Hahn, Mary Lou Hunt and infant sister, Dorothy May Elders.

Ella went to high school in Doe Run, Missouri and in August of 1950 married Lee Francis in Pocahontas, Arkansas. They lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for eight years before moving back home to the Farmington area. She was in real estate sales for many years and also co-owned Farmington Kawasaki with her husband. She was a member of past president of the Mineral Area Board of Realtors. She enjoyed cooking, gardening and making jewelry. Music was a big part of Ella’s life. She played piano and accordion and sang as well. She firmly believed in the teachings of Jesus Christ and had been a Sunday School teacher. The love of God and family guided her through life.

A member of the Eastern Star, she worked her way through the chairs to become Worthy Matron. She was a member of the Beauceant, where she was director of music.

Survivors include her husband of 67 years, Lee Francis; a son, Duaine Lee Francis; a grandson, Aaron Lee Francis; siblings, Ray (Sharon) Elders, Norma Jewel Upchurch and Charlotte Ann Tidwell; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Friends may call Thursday, March 15, at Cozean Memorial Chapel from 9-10 a.m. with a funeral service to follow in the Cozean Chapel at 10 a.m. with Rev. Donn Adamson officiating. Interment will follow at Parkview Cemetery. Memorials in lieu of flowers may be made to the National Parkinson’s Foundation. View the online obituary and share your condolences at

Gaige Peery

BONNE TERRE -- Gaige Benjamin Peery, 19, of Bonne Terre passed away March 9, 2018, at Regional One Health Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee. He was born October 20, 1998, in Crystal City. Gaige was a 2017 graduate of North County High School. He loved his family and friends unconditionally. He enjoyed playing video games, animals and working at Imo’s Pizza in Farmington. Gaige was an organ donor. His donation will enhance the lives of over one hundred people through tissue donation and a minimum of five lives through organ donation.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Nikola Peery; paternal grandpa, Rick Peery, Sr.; maternal great-grandparents, Benjamin and Annabell Merritt.

Gaige is survived by his mother, Jennifer (Gerstenschlager) Michel; father, Richard Peery, Jr.; five siblings, Destiny Peery, Chance Peery, Haeven Peery, Gracsyn Peery and Sophia Peery; maternal grandparents, David and Connie Macklin; paternal grandmother, Caroline Barton; paternal grandfather, Robbie Dunlap; two uncles, David and Sheila Gerstenschlager and James and Andrea Barton; two aunts, Prudence Peery and Crystal Mercer. Many special cousins also survive.

A memorial visitation will be held Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 1 p.m. until the time of memorial service at 3 p.m. at the C. Z. Boyer & Son Funeral Home in Bonne Terre with Rev. James Merritt officiating. Memorials may be made to the family to cover medical and funeral expenses. View obituary and share condolences online at

Mary Smith

PERRYVILLE -- Mary Lucille Smith, of Perryville and formerly or Ste. Genevieve, passed away at Independence Health Care in Perryville on February 19, 2018, at the age of 85. She was born July 2, 1932, in Avon to the late Harry Richey and Audell (Bloom) Richey. In addition to her parents she was preceded by her husband, Perry William Smith; an infant son, Michael Smith; and sisters, Alma Griffith and Janice Russell.

Mary was a member of Pine Log Church. She was a talented musician who could play several instruments. An avid reader, she also enjoyed sewing, crocheting and flower gardening.

Survivors include her three children, Judy Long, Nancy Windle and Larry Smith, eight grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and three sisters, Virginia House, Sylvia Mayberry and Wanda Pirtle.

Friends may call at Cozean Memorial Chapel on Thursday, February 22, 2018, from 5-8 p.m. Visitation will resume Friday morning at 7 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 9:30 a.m. Interment will follow in Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Share your condolences at

LaDon Sirclum, Jr.

DOE RUN – LaDon Sirclum, Jr., 54, passed March 13, 2018, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Arrangements pending at Cozean Memorial Chapel & Crematory. Full obituary at

Gary Dieckhoff

FARMINGTON – Gary Dieckhoff passed March 10, 2018, in Farmington. Arrangements pending at Cozean Memorial Chapel & Crematory. Full obituary at

Caroline Elizabeth Cozean Detring


FARMINGTON – Mrs. Caroline Elizabeth Detring passed away peacefully on Monday, March 12, 2018, at the age of 96 years old. She was born on October 20, 1921, to the late Rolla Smith Cozean and Elva Octavia Rinke Cozean.

On October 3, 1953, she married Clifford Edward Detring. To this union came two surviving children, a son, David Detring and his wife Debbie, and a daughter, Susan Neurohr and husband Henry, all of Farmington. She is also survived by two grandsons, Jason Detring of Lake Orion, Michigan, and Tyler Detring, and his wife, Rachel, of Kansas City, Missouri. She was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her first great-granddaughter in May, 2018.

Mrs. Detring was an active member of St. Paul Lutheran Church. She was graduated from Farmington High School. She received her Associates of Arts Degree from Flat River Junior College. For many years she was a homemaker who loved to cook, bake, cultivate her flower gardens, can her garden vegetables, and take care of her children. She returned to work at the Division of Family Services, retiring in 1984 as a Supervisor in Child Services. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and St. Francois County Extension Club. She and Clifford enjoyed square dancing, playing pinochle, dominoes, and taking vacations. She loved being Grandma and caring for two little grandsons named Jason and Tyler, who she's very proud of today.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by three brothers, Hugo Cozean, Rolla R. (Bud) Cozean, and John M. (Jack) Cozean.

Other survivors include, sister-in-law, Harriet Cozean, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Duane and Nadine Thomas. Numerous nieces, nephews other relatives, and a large circle of precious friends also survive.

Friends may call on Thursday, March 15, 2018, from 5-8 p.m. Visitation will resume on Friday, March 16, 2018, at 7 a.m. until the service at 10 a.m. in the Cozean Chapel. Interment will follow at Copenhagen Cemetery in Farmington. View the tribute video and share your condolences at

Clifford Eugene Drummonds


DESLOGE -- Clifford Drummonds, 82, of Desloge, formerly of Leadwood, passed away at Southbrook Skilled Nursing Center in Farmington, March 13, 2018. He was born August 31, 1935, in Leadwood, to the late Herbert Franklin and Bertha Irene (Crump) Drummonds. Clifford was a member of the First Baptist Church of Desloge and volunteered in the Family Ministry Center. He also served in the National Guard for 23 years and on the Leadwood Cemetery Board since 1981.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Kevin Eugene Drummonds; brothers, William “Tom” Drummonds, and Donald Drummonds in infancy.

Clifford is survived by his wife Jane A. (Hulsey) Drummonds; two daughters, Leslie Leimbach and husband Mark, and Lori Crump; four grandchildren, Brett Leimbach, Kylie Leimbach, Jordan Crump, and Jaida Crump. The family would like to sincerely thank Serenity Hospice for their love and compassion shown to them in their time of need.

Visitation will be held at C.Z. Boyer and Son Funeral Home in Desloge, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. The visitation will resume at 9 a.m. March 15, 2018, in the C.Z. Boyer and Son Chapel, with the service immediately following at 11 a.m. Reverend Kendall Hughes will be officiating. Interment will follow at Leadwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the First Baptist Church of Desloge. View tribute and share your memories and condolences at

Marcella Foster

FARMINGTON -- Marcella June Foster, 79, died March 12, 2018, at her residence. Marcella was born October 28, 1938, in Sullivan, Indiana, and was the daughter of Milford Bollinger and Lucile ‘Hornbeck’ Bollinger. Also preceding-in-death were: her husband, Jimmy Eual Foster and a brother, Milford Wayne Bollinger.

Marcella was a member of the Abundant Life Family Church of Farmington.

Survivors include: three daughters, Cheryl (James) Todd, of Farmington; Diana Foster, of Bunker; Melissa (Keith) Ball, of Marshfield. Three sons, Jimmie Foster, of Oklahoma City; Terry (Clarissa) Foster, of Bunker; Donald (Tammy) Foster, of Sikeston. One sister, Jeri Lou Bollinger, of Sikeston. Two brothers, Richard Bollinger, of Illinois; Herbert (June) Bollinger, of Barnhart. Also surviving are nineteen grandchildren and twenty-six great-grandchildren.

Visitation starts Thursday, 11:00 a.m. and funeral 1:00 p.m. at Abundant Life Family Church of Farmington, with Rev. Rick Hensley officiating, under direction of Taylor Funeral Service, Inc., Farmington. Photo obituary; guestbook and video tribute online:

Larry Davis

FARMINGTON -- Funeral services for Larry Davis today at 11:00 a.m. at Cozean Memorial Chapel & Crematory in Farmington. Full obituary at

Martin Johns

FARMINGTON – Martin Johns, 94, passed March 13, 2018, at Presbyterian Manor in Farmington. Arrangements pending at Cozean Memorial Chapel & Crematory. Full obituary at

Ask The Doctors

DEAR DOCTOR: I've been hearing about adenovirus, which is often mistaken as the flu. How can you tell the difference? And is it as serious as the flu?

DEAR READER: Your question is a great reminder, especially during flu season, of how complex and ubiquitous viruses are. They cause a host of illnesses, with the common cold alone blamed on more than 200 identified subtypes of virus and many more that are still unidentified. One main group of viruses is adenovirus.

Adenovirus got its name because it was first isolated in the adenoids, although this isn't the only place it's found. More than 60 types of adenovirus exist, with some causing much different symptoms than others. Serotypes 3, 5, 7, 14 and 21, for example, have been associated with more severe disease.

Adenoviruses most commonly cause upper respiratory symptoms. These include inflammation of the throat, leading to a sore throat, and swelling of the membranes in the nose, leading to runny nose and nasal congestion. Such symptoms are often accompanied by headache, fever, fatigue, muscle pain and stomach pain.

But adenovirus can also lead to conjunctivitis, laryngitis, bronchitis and even pneumonia. Adenovirus-caused pneumonia more often affects those younger than 5 years old, accounting for 15 percent of pneumonias in this age group. Young children can also be affected by subtypes of adenovirus that lead to diarrhea, which can last up to eight to 12 days.

In rare cases, the virus can affect the brain, causing meningitis or encephalitis, or lead to inflammation of the liver and the heart muscle. In people with a compromised immune system or those who have had an organ transplant, adenovirus can lead to more severe disease and possible death.

Adenovirus is a resilient virus. It can survive for long periods on environmental surfaces and -- though bleach, formaldehyde and heat can inactivate it -- the virus is resistant to many disinfectants. It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets spread by sneezing, coughing or contact with secretions. Adenovirus is also shed in the stool for many weeks after an acute infection. Without proper handwashing by all parties, the virus can then be taken in orally by another individual.

Because adenovirus is easily transmissible, it's associated with outbreaks of infection in day care settings and among military recruits. In fact, military recruits are now vaccinated against adenovirus, which has decreased their rate of infection.

Adenovirus is diagnosed by either viral culture or by tests producing more rapid results. The treatment is similar to those for other cold viruses -- fluid intake, rest, acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) for headache and medications for diarrhea. For people who are taking drugs to suppress the immune system, the antiviral medication cidofovir can improve survival.

Yes, many of the symptoms are similar to influenza, especially in young children. The fever in those under 5 with adenovirus averages 102.6 degrees. This is similar to influenza. However, influenza is a much deadlier virus, especially among older individuals, causing thousands of deaths per year. Although adenovirus can cause significant illness, it doesn't usually lead to the intensity of sickness and the death rates seen with flu.

Rapid flu tests can help distinguish whether a specific illness is due to influenza or another virus, such as adenovirus, but the point remains: If a person becomes dehydrated or if his or her mental state changes, seek emergency help. Neither illness should be taken lightly.

Robert Ashley, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Send your questions to, or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o Media Relations, UCLA Health, 924 Westwood Blvd., Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA, 90095. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I'm frustrated that guests in my home almost never use the guest towels I've put out for them in the bathroom. Why do they do this?

I remember a little poem in your column that addresses this. I'd like to clip it and put it in there next to the towels. Please print it again! -- GOOD HOSTESS IN CLOVER, S.C.

DEAR HOSTESS: With pleasure -- here it is:


by Mabel Craddock

Please use me, Guest;

Don't hesitate.

Don't turn your back

Or vacillate.

Don't dry your hands

On petticoat,

On handkerchief,

Or redingote.

I'm here to use;

I'm made for drying.

Just hanging here

Gets very tiring.

I thought the poem was clever enough when I first saw it that many of you would enjoy it. After it appeared, many readers thanked me for printing it. Some said they'd framed and hung it in the bathroom their guests used. (Problem solved!) I hear from many readers asking me to re-run articles that hold meaning for them. Some say the articles have been saved until they are yellowed with age and falling apart. Eventually, it was suggested they be put together in a booklet. Since so many readers kept the items to re-read, the booklet is titled "Keepers." It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus a check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby, Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Filled with clever observations, "Keepers" is both witty and philosophical. It contains poems, essays and letters on subjects as diverse as children, parents, human nature, philosophy and death. It's a quick and easy read as well as an inexpensive gift for newly married couples, pet lovers, new parents, and anyone grieving or recovering from an illness.

DEAR ABBY: Do you think it is right that my parents disowned me because I'm seeing a guy they don't like? I don't think it is. I'm 25, and I live on my own with my son. -- NOT RIGHT IN WASHINGTON

DEAR NOT RIGHT: Not knowing the guy or your parents' reason for disliking him, I can only suggest that their reaction seems extreme. By age 25 you should be mature enough to decide something like this without being emotionally blackmailed. Please recognize that if you give in to this, they will be making your decisions for you until they are no longer on this side of the sod.

DEAR ABBY: I have a close friend with whom I often travel and attend events. She's a lovely person, but she has the odd habit of singing in public -- in gift shops, restaurants, or any public place where music is playing (and sometimes even when it's not). I can't have the radio on in the car without her singing along. She has an OK voice, but her style is a bit operatic. How can I gently tell her that her spontaneous performances are inappropriate and excessive? -- NOT KARAOKE IN THE EAST

DEAR NOT KARAOKE: I suspect your friend craves attention, which is why she does it. Pay her the compliment she's looking for by telling her how nice her voice is, but you would prefer she not sing when you're out in public together because you find it embarrassing.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I live in a beachfront condo complex with a population of mostly retired people who are friendly and active. Last year a divorced woman moved in and was welcomed into the community. Although she has been invited to social gatherings and outings, she rarely attends. My wife and I went out of our way to try to make her feel comfortable. We had her to dinner in our home and asked her to join us for several outings. I also volunteered to do chores in her home, always accompanied by my wife.

Recently she confided to us that she has never really had any friends. She complains that she's not included and has criticized most of the residents at various times. Some of the things she says are cruel and unwarranted, including about people she doesn't know. She seems to enjoy trying to turn people against each other.

At a recent event, when a couple we know well entered the room, the wife came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. She later did the same to my wife, who was standing across the room. That's how she greets most people she knows. Later our "friend" told my wife I had been flirting with the other woman and she had seen me kiss her. A week later I learned she had told the woman's husband I flirted with his wife, which was untrue.

How do we react to this new neighbor? Should we confront her, distance ourselves from her, and/or warn others about her critical behavior and lying? -- MIFFED IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR MIFFED: The answer to all three of your questions is yes. And when you and your wife talk to your friends about this toxic woman, be sure to caution them that if they ever hear anything negative about anyone else from her, to always check with the person she is talking about to determine if what she said is true.

DEAR ABBY: I have lost a large portion of my vision, and will be trained soon in the use of a white cane. Although I still have some vision left, I often bump into things when I'm in unfamiliar surroundings. I'm sure the cane will be helpful and make me feel more secure.

There is something I think is important for your readers to know. When they see someone with a white cane, it does not necessarily mean the person is totally blind. I have read of instances where people were using their cane, but perhaps sat down at a bus stop and read a text on their cellphone. These people were accused of being fakes.

I am still able to read a newspaper, but I can no longer drive. I'm unable to see at night, and the loss of my peripheral vision has become dangerous for me. Please let your readers know that a person with a white cane may still be able to see to some degree, but they do need the cane for their own safety. -- SAFETY FIRST

DEAR SAFETY FIRST: Thank you for your letter. When I looked online for more information about white canes, I learned there are many different kinds. They include the "symbol cane" is held to let others know the person is blind or vision-challenged. It's carried when out in public to remind others to be careful about possibly colliding with him or her.

Other canes are the "guide cane" and the "long cane," which are used to detect objects in front of the sightless person, to prevent tripping on curbs, steps or other objects. (There are also red-and-white banded canes, which indicate the person carrying one has a hearing impairment as well as sight loss.)

Readers, I know it's easy to be cynical, but if you see someone with a white cane, please do not accuse the person of faking, because he or she is contending with enough challenges already.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter graduated more than two years ago. I offered to help her with her thank-you notes, but I dropped the ball and never got them completed and sent out. I feel terrible and guilty.

Would it be wrong to send out letters to everyone and explain what happened? Or how else can I resolve this mess and put my conscience to rest? -- PROUD MAMA IN OHIO

DEAR PROUD MAMA: The task of writing thank-you letters was your daughter's responsibility from the start. She should send them out right away, with her apologies. Better late than never.

DEAR ABBY: My twin sister and I are juniors in high school and starting to plan to apply to colleges. It has always been assumed that we would go to the same college and be roommates. My sister still wants it this way. I, however, think it's finally time for some separation. We've been "roommates" our whole lives and shared a bed until we were 14, when Mom finally let us get twin beds for our room.

My sister was hurt and upset when I told her I prefer that we go to separate colleges, and she took it personally. It is nothing personal. I love her with all my heart. I would just like to finally be an individual after us having always being known as "the twins."

Our mom agrees with my sister and tells me stories about friends of hers whose kids ended up with "roommates from hell." She says we have always gotten along beautifully sharing a room, so why argue with success? Well, I'm willing to take my chances. If I get a roommate I don't like, I'll find a way to deal with it.

Please give me your opinion. Also, please give me advice on how to make my sister understand that this is nothing against her. -- TWIN SISTER

DEAR TWIN SISTER: My mother and my aunt were identical twins. Like you, they shared a room and slept in the same bed for many years. Their parents dressed them alike and gave them names that were mirror images (Pauline Esther and Esther Pauline). Like you, my aunt yearned to be an individual. My mother loved the attention that being a twin brought. This created serious conflict for them later in life.

You deserve the chance to spread your wings and be your own person. If you do, you will grow from the experience, and so will your sister. You should not have to "sell" her on this, but explain it to your sister that way. Your mother should be GLAD that you are independent.

DEAR ABBY: I strongly feel this is an issue many women besides me struggle with. Maybe you can offer some insight.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive without success for several years. I don't want to reveal our struggles to friends or family, but how do you handle questions like "Why don't you have a baby yet?" and "When are you giving me grandkids?"

The older we get, the more pointed these questions become. I don't know how to respond. What should I say? I feel like either lying and saying I'm not ready yet, or telling the truth about the possibility of never having children, although I'm sure the questioner doesn't intend to go down the path of "Let's discuss my fertility." -- STRUGGLING IN WEST VIRGINIA

DEAR STRUGGLING: I'm sure many of the questioners have no idea they are delving into a subject that is painful and frustrating for you. Perhaps the most diplomatic answer would be to say, "If I'm lucky enough to be expecting, I will let you know." It shows you are open to the possibility, and it's either going to happen or it won't.

DEAR ABBY: Our daughters aren't speaking. One says she really doesn't "like" the other. These are mature women who have had their differences throughout their lives. But they have tolerated each other, one more than the other.

The older one claims her sister posted not-so-nice things about her. The younger one threatens not to attend any gatherings if her sister is there. This needs to be resolved before years go by and our family is torn apart.

They stopped speaking a month ago -- on their dad's birthday yet. It was one of the worst days of our lives. We're in our 80s, and I may never again see them together. The older one says she's willing to go to counseling, but the younger refuses.

We're desperate for a reconciliation. They don't have to be best friends, just be civil and tolerate a holiday together for our sake. Please advise. -- HELPLESS AND SAD IN DALLAS

DEAR HELPLESS AND SAD: Unless both of your daughters are willing to accept counseling or mediation, they will not reconcile. For your younger daughter to resort to emotional blackmail ("if she's there, I won't be") is despicable. Please do not give in to it. Tell her that if she decides to change her mind, she's always welcome, and then proceed without her. You may be desperate for a reconciliation, but until your daughters are, it won't happen and you will have to accept it.

DEAR ABBY: Recently I was listening to a couple talking about who and who not to invite to a wedding because seating was limited.

I'm wondering whether there would be anything wrong with sending out a letter stating that although they would like to invite everyone, seating is limited. Explain that, of course, immediate family (parents, siblings and their spouses) would be invited without exception. However, the remaining seating would be on a "lottery" basis. If people accept the invitation, they would be in the lottery and then notified of the results.

Is this acceptable? I think it would solve a lot of problems. Just wondering. -- JUST A THOUGHT IN OHIO

DEAR JUST A THOUGHT: If I were you, I would forget this concept. Depending upon the size of the guest list, I strongly suspect it would offend anyone who didn't "win" the lottery.

DEAR ABBY: I sometimes have social anxiety. I would like to go out with friends and acquaintances, but I worry I won't have enough to talk about or won't know what to say, and it makes me nervous. Do you have any advice? -- LONER IN ILLINOIS

DEAR LONER: Almost everyone has social anxiety to some extent. If your only worry is that you won't have enough to talk about, don't let it stop you. Most people like to talk about themselves and will appreciate a good listener.

If you would like to bring up topics, listen to the news or read your newspaper and jot down a few topics. If your level of anxiety is so high that you cannot interact with others, then it's time to discuss it with your physician and ask for a referral to someone who can give you medical and psychological help.

DEAR ABBY: I live in a 55-plus community. I am younger than my husband by 10 years, so I was 49 when we moved here. We have lost 49 neighbors during the past five years -- yes, seriously. Others are in nursing homes with no quality of life.

While walking my dog yesterday, a neighbor stopped me. She was standing in her driveway crying and nearly hysterical. Her husband has been in a nursing home for three years. He doesn't know what is going on or who she is. She told me that she visits him every day, but she cannot stand it anymore. She said she wants to kill herself, but isn't strong enough to do it.

They are in their 80s and had a wonderful 50-year marriage. He is not on life support, but has just been lying there for all this time. What can she do? What can I do to help her? -- LISA IN FLORIDA

DEAR LISA: Your poor neighbor was having an awful day. You already helped by listening to her and allowing her to vent. However, she needs to be able to do a lot more of it, and a way to help her further would be to suggest she talk to a doctor who specializes in the needs of older patients (a geriatrician). There may be a support group in your 55-plus community she could join, and she should be encouraged to do more for herself than she has been.

If she doesn't know of a doctor to consult, ask your physician if he/she knows someone who is good. Doctors usually refer patients to doctors at their own level of competence. She could also inquire in the facility her husband is at and ask about support groups there as well.

DEAR ABBY: My son, "Allen," is 27 and a pretty good writer, mostly fantasy stuff. I don't like that genre myself, but I have enjoyed reading some of his work. He writes not only short stories but also entire books.

I have tried to convince him to submit his work to publishers to no avail. He has a college degree, but doesn't use it. He's content working a minimum-wage job when he could be doing what he loves AND possibly make a living at it. Oh! And he still lives at home and does very little work around the house. Advice, please? -- FRUSTRATED FATHER

DEAR FRUSTRATED FATHER: Has it occurred to you that your son may be in a comfortable rut? I assume you have already spoken to him regarding his lack of ambition. While his job may not be what you think he's capable of doing, it may allow him the time to write. He may hesitate to submit his work to publishers because he's afraid rejection would be too painful.

Not knowing your son, I can't guess his reasons for living the life he has chosen. However, if what's really bothering you is the fact that at 27 he's still living at home and not helping enough around the house, that is fixable. Explain what you expect of him if he's going to continue to stay there, and if he doesn't live up to his responsibilities, tell him he will have to leave. It's your home and you have a right to be assertive about what goes on in it.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I went on a trip with his brother and his wife recently. Three days into the trip, while we were having dinner at a restaurant, my sister-in-law yelled at me, "Shut up! You talk too much!" I was stunned. Then my husband said, "I agree with her." Words cannot express how surprised and hurt I felt.

I do sometimes talk a lot when I'm excited, but no one has ever said this to me, certainly not my husband. The next day I felt very angry, especially at my husband for siding with her against me in public. I asked him to please tell me when we are alone if he has a problem with something I said or did, rather than embarrass me. I feel betrayed and angry. What should I do? -- ANGRY AND HURT

DEAR ANGRY AND HURT: Your feelings are justified. Your sister-in-law may have been frustrated at your verbosity, but she should not have attacked you at the dinner table. Her "helpful criticism" should have been offered privately and in gentler terms. The same is true about your husband, who should not have ganged up on you. What he did was hurtful, not helpful. Both of them owe you an apology.

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I had a party. A very good friend of mine came with her 4-year-old daughter, "Emma." It grew late and my friend wanted to stay for a while, so we put Emma in our bed to sleep (the guest room was unavailable).

After going upstairs to get Emma later in the evening, my friend came downstairs with Emma and told us that the child had wet our bed. Not wanting to make Emma feel bad, we said it was no problem.

My friend did not strip the bed, offer to wash the sheets, or anything. She hasn't mentioned it since, and didn't follow up to make sure we were able to get the urine out of our bedding and the mattress. I find this to be incredibly rude and inconsiderate, but at the same time, what's done is done and there was no lasting damage. Should I say something to my friend, or let it go? -- ACCIDENT IN THE BEDROOM

DEAR ACCIDENT: Let it go. You should have spoken up about your true feelings when the accident happened. In the future, consider purchasing a moisture-resistant mattress cover for your bed and the one in the guest room in case of "accidents." It may reduce the "ick" factor if you're squeamish.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069