Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Still Happily Married

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: Last month, I took my grandkids to a water park. While I was watching the crowds, I noticed a man with a boy who looked to be around 12 years old crouched behind a picnic table. They looked as if they were waiting for someone to come by so they could jump up and startle the person. What I found odd was that the man kept pulling the boy into his lap, putting his arms all the way around the boy's waist. The boy tried to pull away, but the man kept pulling him back. Then, the man leaned forward and gently kissed the boy on the back. The boy bolted. A little later, I saw the man, the boy and a woman in a pool where the boy was floating on an inner tube, and the man had his hand on the boy's behind.

At one point, I saw the woman by herself and asked whether she and the man were married. She told me they had been married for eight years, so I don't know whether the man was the boy's father or not. I told her I had misinterpreted something I saw, but since she was married to the man, I was probably mistaken. I felt like a fool.

If she had been dating this guy, I would have told her the whole story. Should I have approached her or just minded my own business? -- Plainview, Texas

Dear Texas: Married or not doesn't matter. But it is not a simple thing to interpret such actions. The man may have molested the boy previously, which would explain the child's reaction. But it is also possible that the man was simply trying to show affection to his stepson, and the boy was resisting, as many 12-year-olds would.

You were not wrong to speak up, and we would have suggested telling the mother more specifically of your concerns so she could be aware of the situation. If she is upset with you, it is a small price to pay for potentially protecting this boy.

Dear Annie: My mother lets the dog lick from our plates and pans. She has no problem with this, but it disgusts me. I realize everything gets washed in hot water afterward, but still, I don't want to eat off a plate that the dog ate off of. Thoughts? -- Chicago

Dear Chicago: Believe it or not, if the plates are washed in soap and hot water after the dog licks them, they are clean enough to be used. And we doubt you could convince your mother otherwise. Even though it is sufficiently sanitary, you obviously object to the idea of it, so we suggest you scrub each plate to your satisfaction before eating off of it.


Dear Annie: "Disgusted in Louisiana" disagreed when you said couples should flirt with each other. My precious husband and I hit a "stale season" in our marriage in our late 40s. It could have ended badly, but we each had an affair -- with each other.

One day at lunch, in a room full of women we didn't know, my husband asked in a raised voice, "Does your husband know we are meeting like this?" I played along, much to our mutual delight, and the room got very quiet.

That started a flurry of single roses with notes only saying, "Lunch at the Crossroads," along with dark glasses, wigs and motel dates. (One motel proprietor refused to let my husband into my room.) We enjoyed renewing our love, and the romance and excitement made our everyday marriage special again. Of course, my hairdresser had to tell some of her clients the truth when they started spreading rumors about my "affair," and my aunt called to scold me, asking how I could do this to such a wonderful man. But it was great fun for us. We are celebrating our 55th year of "happily ever after" this month. -- Still Happily Married


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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