DEAR ABBY: I am a professional ornithologist (bird expert) with a substantial record of accomplishments -- books, scientific papers, blog, website, consultant work, etc.
My hometown has held a bird festival for more than a decade and each year it features a main speaker at the dinner. My expertise and experience far outshine that of any of the speakers they have invited by a considerable margin. I am well-known in town, but have not been asked to speak.
I talked to the festival board members, and they say I haven't been deliberately excluded, but they didn't give me any reason why I have been ignored. There's no history of bad feelings, but I'm starting to develop some now. It feels like a personal and professional snub. How do I respond? -- UNAPPRECIATED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNAPPRECIATED: You're not alone with this dilemma. To paraphrase a verse from the Bible (which also sounds like Rodney Dangerfield), "A prophet is without honor in his own hometown."
Because the festival board members have been made aware that you are qualified and would like to be a speaker, it's time to step back. Make other plans for when the festival is held. It's possible your absence may make their hearts grow fonder. However, if it doesn't, at least you won't be sitting at home and brooding. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)
DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I have a private argument, he shares our problems with our 11-year-old daughter when I am not around. Later, she will tell me she sides with him about our argument.
I feel my husband should not involve our daughter in our disagreements. It makes me feel betrayed. How should I deal with this issue? -- VIOLATED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR VIOLATED: You married a man who appears to be manipulative and not above using your daughter to "get to you." I agree he shouldn't discuss your disagreements with her -- not because it's a betrayal, but because it's unfair that she is being put in the middle.
Because there are problems the two of you can't resolve, they should be talked out with a licensed marriage counselor, not a child. If your husband refuses to go, you definitely should go without him.
DEAR ABBY: We love our son-in-law, "Chip," but not his family. Family get-togethers are very strained because they drink -- a lot.
Chip's brother has given beer to his 3-year-old and no one says anything. I find it appalling and a form of child abuse. Chip's brother is a know-it-all, sarcastic and rude. I am worried about my grandson spending any time with them. My daughter has also made her concerns known to Chip, but nothing changes. Should I stay out of this? -- TEETOTALING GRANDMA
DEAR GRANDMA: Much as you might wish to, neither you nor your daughter is going to change the behavior of a belligerent drunk, which Chip's brother appears to be. Because alcohol impairs his judgment to the extent that he's giving liquor to his 3-year-old and the child's mother allows it, someone should contact child protective services and ask what can be done. I recommend that you do it soon, because giving alcohol to a minor is not only against the law, but could make the child sick or create a dependency.
As to your grandson, the boy should never be around his aunt and uncle unless there is strict supervision.
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.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.