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Dear Madrone,

My problem is my son, my only child, the apple of my eye. Such a nice boy. He's handsome, like a movie star, polite, treats me like a queen. He makes good money, and is here every Thursday for my gnocchi, which he says is like no other. He buys us presents, like a new car on our anniversary and a cruise last summer. Not like some of those no goods who mooch off their parents and think who they are. So, why do I write? It's this. He's pushing forty, and he's not married. I know what you're thinking, but it's not that. I almost, god forbid, wish it were, if it meant he would settle down. No, every few months, he brings home a new bimbo. Blonde, built and beautiful, if you like that type. Which he does, and so does his father, who appreciates the scenery a little too much, but keeps his hands to himself, he values his life. In other words, no grandchildren. What can I do? No one is getting any younger, least of all me.

No bambinos, Wantaugh

Dear No,

You, the mother of one family, can not make a new family, this is not possible under any circumstances. You can throw yourself at the knees of whoever you want, you can hint at large sums to be inherited, you can threaten at knifepoint, (believe me, I've tried.) Accept that it is out of your power and enjoy your cruises. Remember, grandchildren come along with a number of annoyances, including their own mother and a set of in laws. Many otherwise savvy people miss this point.

God bless, Donna

Dear Madrone,

Last month, I hit the tri state powerball, for quite a tidy sum. I immediately put on the red ribbon, but I am sad to say this has not helped ward off the evil eye. As soon as the news went out, and this, I found out, is a difficult matter to keep on the QT, my problems began. This one and that one are calling me up, asking me for handouts and talking about me if I do not respond with the open hand. Here's the worst: my father is not speaking to me because I will not pay for his goombah's dentures. Am I obligated?

Be careful what you wish for, Peoria

Dear Careful,

Ah, hitting the lotto, the dream of dreams, next to going on disability for "back trouble ." What can I say? It's your money, do what you want. You are under no obligation other than to repay your monetary debts. Peace in the family is not bought or sold, and if there is war between you and your father, it has to do with something else. Pay for the dentures or not, until you figure out what that is, expect trouble. That's just how it is. God bless, Donna

Dear Readers,

This being summer, and the barbeque season, I get many requests for my favorite recipes…which under no circumstances will I write down. Forget that. God bless, Donna





Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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