DEAR ABBY: I recently graduated from college and received “congrats” and small gifts from well-wishers, all of which I responded to with written thank-you notes – with one exception: my father. He still attempts to carry on a father/daughter relationship, regardless of my feelings. Even though I made a decision years ago to cut off all contact with him, he sent me a graduation card with a large check enclosed.

Abby, throughout my childhood and teens, my father emotionally and physically abused my mother. After their divorce, he attempted to do the same to me. That’s when I stopped communicating with him.

Mom thinks I should keep the money. I could really use it, but I honestly don’t think it’s right to keep it without sending a note of thanks. It’s the last thing I want to do. Please give me your opinion. No name or location – sign me … GRAD TORN OVER DAD

Return the money. Your father is trying to buy his way back into your life. If you allow it, the price YOU will pay for maintaining a relationship with your abusive father won’t be worth any amount of money.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 52-year-old man ending my third marriage, and I’m beginning to wonder if my three ex-wives could be right – the consensus is I’m “nuts.”

Am I “nuts” for cleaning the house after my wife said she just cleaned it? Am I “nuts” for ironing a shirt she already ironed? After we’d go to bed, I’d get up in the middle of the night to rewash the dinner dishes and sweep the kitchen floor. I could go on and on.

I finally took the advice of wife No. 3 and went to my doctor. He listened for a couple of minutes, prescribed two meds, and sent me away with, “Have a nice day.” Then I went to a licensed therapist, and in five minutes was told this could take years of counseling. Well, we all know what that means – ka-ching, ka-ching! Tell me, Abby, AM I nuts? – MR. CLEAN IN OHIO

No, you are not “nuts.” (And no one should call you that.) You ARE obsessive-compulsive. It’s a condition that can be treated with a combination of medications and counseling. Please avail yourself of both. It will be money well spent. Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: I am not writing for advice or airing a complaint. I’d like to share an act of kindness.

On Mother’s Day, my husband and I went to an upscale restaurant for dinner. We were also celebrating my husband’s 86th birthday. We had almost finished our meal when our food server informed us that a gentleman, who had come in with a group and passed our table, had asked that our check be given to him.

We were surprised because we did not know this man. After we finished, my husband and I went to his table and thanked him. He told us that we reminded him of his grandparents and seeing us had “made his day.”

So, you see, Abby – there ARE good and thoughtful people who perform good deeds, but we seldom hear about them. I hope if this appears in your column, that dear man will see it and know how very much my husband and I appreciated his kindness. – VIRGINIA IN SACRAMENTO

You’re right. Good deeds are seldom publicized. That gentleman must have loved his grandparents very much.

P.S. Your letter made MY day.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby – Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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