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Wife sees trouble in eyes of husband and store employee

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Dear Abby: My husband, "Wade," and I went into a convenience store near our home that we frequent regularly. A new employee -- a pretty, much younger girl – stared at Wade with an expression of recognition and surprise on her face. When I asked him what that was about, he laughed it off and said I was "imagining things."

The next time we saw her, Wade acted nervous and started talking fast, as if trying to distract me. He seemed to be avoiding eye contact with her. She ignored me while obviously trying to lock eyes with Wade. The third time, she again ignored me but smirked and giggled while we were checking out. Then she shouted, "See ya later!" to my husband as we were walking out the door. When I turned, I caught Wade glaring at her.

When I asked why he did it, he replied, "I looked at her like that because she was acting like an idiot." When I asked why she'd be acting like an idiot if they didn't know each other, he started screaming at me. He called me crazy and threatened to leave me if I bring the subject up again.

Should I ask her why she seems so amused by my husband? And why is he angry at me? – Smells Something Fishy

Dear Smells: By all means ask because I'll bet she is dying to tell you. Your husband may have been seeing her or someone she knows. He attacked you because he felt guilty about something and didn't want to discuss it.

It proves the truth of the adage, "The best defense is a strong offense." Believe me, you have my sympathy, but you need to get to the bottom of this, so don't put it off.

Dear Abby: What do you call additions to your family that result from second or third marriages? Our daughter died several years ago. I refer to her widower as my son-in-law, but what term should I use when I introduce his new wife? She has two daughters from a previous marriage – sweet girls who call me "Granddad." Technically, they are not my granddaughters – but what are they?

These are just two examples of modern relationships that seem to require a new vocabulary. I have tried searching the Internet for answers without luck. Any suggestions? – Family Man in Texas

Dear Family Man: When introducing your late daughter's husband and his wife, try this: "This is my son-in-law 'Sam' and his wife, 'Virginia.'" If you're asked for clarification, which I doubt will happen, give more details. As to the woman's daughters who are not blood related to you, because they call you "Granddad," refer to them as your granddaughters and leave it at that.

Dear Abby: Where does the priest get the ashes for Ash Wednesday? – Mary in Vista, Calif.

Dear Mary: Traditionally, palm branches from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned to create the ashes, and those ashes are retained for the next year's Ash Wednesday. Some people keep the palm fronds from the last Palm Sunday tucked behind a cross or a religious picture in their home and bring them to be burned. I have this on good authority. (When I told a priest I would have guessed they were left over from the Inquisition, he laughed.)

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

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