DEAR ABBY: Two weeks ago, out of the blue, my middle-aged neighbor, “Ed,” brought over a bushel of apples from his tree. He told me he didn’t want them to go to waste, and he wasn’t going to do anything with them. I told Ed I didn’t want them, but he left them with me anyway.

Reluctantly, I spent my days off peeling, coring and cooking them into batches of apple crisp, pies and jam. I gave away all of the items to friends and family, and saved one pie to give to Ed.

When I took it over to him, he said, “Is that it? What did you do with all the rest?” When I told him I had given everything else away, Ed got upset and said he should have gotten more because they were his apples!

Abby, I am just furious. I didn’t want, ask for or need those apples in the first place. I worked hard preparing them, and the last thing I expected was for my neighbor to be so ungrateful. Am I overreacting? I seriously want nothing more to do with the man. – OFFENDED IN APPLETON, WIS.

DEAR OFFENDED: Once your neighbor gave you the bushel of apples, they were yours to do with as you chose. While it would have been generous of you to have given him a sample of each of the items you created with them, you were under no obligation to do so. To hold a grudge against this presumptuous man is a waste of time, so let it go. Something tells me he won’t burden you with his apples again anytime soon.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I married very young by today’s standards. We met when I was 17, started dating when I was 18, became engaged at 19 and married at 20. My family supported the marriage. We completed a full year of premarital counseling and a weekend marriage course, as well. We’re financially stable and very much in love.

Two years later, we’re still happy as ever and know that marrying was the right choice for us.

Acquaintances and strangers often feel the need to tell us that our marriage “won’t last.” Some even go as far as to say, “Are you crazy? Why would you do that?” Is there a polite way to respond to these comments? We find them hurtful and insulting. – YOUNG AND IN LOVE

DEAR IN LOVE: Those comments are not only rude and insulting, they are also presumptuous, and a reflection of the speakers’ biases and possible problems with making a commitment. But please do not sink to their level. Marrying late is no guarantee that the union will be successful, either. To those who say it won’t last, smile and reply, “Time will tell.” It’s the truth.

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem remembering people’s names, even though I have been attending church with some of them for nearly 10 years. It’s embarrassing when someone greets me and I can’t recall his or her name. Have you any suggestions for me? – BEWILDERED IN GRAND RAPIDS

DEAR BEWILDERED: Your problem is very common. Some people have solved it by using word association when they meet people, and by repeating the name after being introduced. Example: “It’s nice to meet you, (true, blue) Sue.” (The true and blue are, of course, silent.) A group picture from the church newsletter with a caption underneath can also be a powerful memory-jogger if you look at it before you leave for church.

If all else fails, fall back on that old show-business standby, “DAHLING, you look MAH-velous!”

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.

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