Dear Annie 2020

Dear Annie: My husband and I are 77 years old. Our lake home has four bedrooms and plenty of space for family visits. During the summer, the family knows they have to make “reservations” to visit. We feel fortunate that we can allow them to have a family vacation that is relatively inexpensive for them. 

However, we plan several breakfasts and lunches and most evening meals. All but one family will bring extra food, including snacks and their own drinks. Some will cook an evening meal for us while they are here. All groups will treat us to an evening meal at a local restaurant. One family also leaves us gift certificates to local businesses. We do ask that they change the beds before they leave for the next group of visitors. All willingly do this.

We never expect all the help, but it is greatly appreciated. When one adds up the cost of extra food, disposable cups and plates and utilities for 10 weeks a year, it can be expensive.

Over the years, we have learned there are two kinds of guests: visitors and vacationers. Visitors come to see us, enjoy the lake and surroundings and help in any way they can to make their visit easier and more enjoyable for us. Vacationers are those who come to our “hotel” and restaurant and expect to be waited on while they are here. Needless to say, we don’t have “vacationers” more than once.

 — Visitors and Vacationers

Dear Visitors and Vacationers: I love your classification of guests as visitors and vacationers. I would take it a step farther and say that most people fall into two categories — those who are considerate of others and how they are feeling, and those who have a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude.

Dear Annie: I married a man with a son from his first marriage, who was 12 years old when we started dating. What really attracted me to my husband was the fact that he and his ex-wife were wonderful co-parents. 

His ex was always included in family gatherings and my in-laws provided child care for their grandson while his mother worked weekends as a nurse at the hospital. My stepson came to our state to live with his father when he started high school, as his mother thought he would need more of a male influence at that time in his life.

Our home was always open to his mother whenever she wanted to visit. I’m sure my welcoming attitude cemented my relationship with my husband’s parents. I even counted my husband’s ex as a good friend. Sadly, she passed away two years ago, and I miss her infectious laugh and warm hugs. My stepson has become a fine man, husband and father of two. So, it is possible to have a blended family that works in harmony.

 — Blended Family Working

Dear Blended Family: What a wonderful story of making what could have been a challenging and contentious relationship into a loving and harmonious one.

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