DEAR ABBY: I am a 45-year-old single woman. My best friend, "Gavin," and I have known each other since I was 3. We were raised together and consider ourselves like brother and sister. We have always had a strictly platonic friendship.
Gavin is married to a wonderful woman, "Evie," who is also a friend of mine. Until recently, Gavin and Evie took frequent trips on his touring motorcycle. But because of a physical disability, Evie can no longer ride with him.
Gavin's police department recently held a charity motorcycle ride to a state landmark two hours away. Evie suggested I might enjoy going along and experiencing what a ride is like. I did and had a wonderful time.
Since then, I have learned that several people have been spreading rumors that Gavin and I are having an affair because I was seen on the motorcycle with him. Evie says not to worry about it, but my feelings are hurt, and I feel my reputation is being tarnished. Why can't friends go on a motorcycle trip without rumors being spread? And how do I handle this? - UNEASY RIDER IN MYRTLE BEACH
Dear Uneasy: In a community where small minds dwell, there is always a rumor mill and gossips who make assumptions about things they know nothing about. How to handle it? Hold your head high and ignore it.
DEAR ABBY: My adult siblings and I need some help. Our mother insists year after year that we "kids" celebrate their anniversary in a big way. We don't mind recognizing their achievement - this year will be their 45th - but we don't feel it should be our "responsibility" to throw a party or host a big night out.
Mom expects it for every anniversary, birthday and holiday. A simple card or phone call is not acceptable.
Not everyone is available on their anniversary this year, and the guilting has begun. We're all married with our own families and schedules. We feel an anniversary should be a celebration for the couple and by the couple. Are we "bad children" because we resent having to do something each and every year, for each and every event? - TUCKERED OUT IN MARYLAND
Dear Tuckered Out: No. But because a pattern has been established, your mother isn't going to be happy hearing you want to change it, so be prepared. Approach her as a group and tell her you'll be sending flowers for their anniversary from now on because you're all saving up to throw them a 50th.
DEAR ABBY: I work in a busy hospital with many patients from other countries. Our volunteer office collects magazines to distribute throughout the hospital for patients and visitors.
Please encourage your readers to donate magazines in English as well as any other languages that are spoken in their communities. These can help to ease the endless hours of waiting that inevitably occur. Thanks, Abby. - EMILY P. IN HOUSTON
Dear Emily P.: You're welcome. And chemotherapy and dialysis centers would also welcome magazines for patients to read while they are being transfused. These are excellent ways to "recycle."