DEAR ABBY: Video dinner parties help distant family stay close

Friday, June 26, 2020

DEAR ABBY: May I share with you a way my husband and I are staying connected? My daughter came up with the idea. She and her daughter live a good distance from us. She decided the four of us should have a virtual dinner together three times a week.

We move our dining chairs together and position a tablet opposite us so we are visible on the screen. They do the same. We use FaceTime (Skype or a similar app would also work) to connect online. We set dinner on the table, say grace together and proceed to eat -- all the while talking, joking and laughing as if we were in each other’s presence.

Abby, I can’t tell you how much this has alleviated the feelings of isolation. We look forward to it all day. We phone, text and email at other times, as well, but these dinners together are a very special hour or more that give us a feeling of still being connected. It’s a difficult time right now, but this is such a simple thing. I bless my amazing and wonderful daughter every day for thinking of it. — STAYING CLOSE IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR STAYING CLOSE: For those who, because of travel restrictions or financial constraints, cannot be together in person, this is a tradition that could continue well after the quarantine has lifted. I, too, bless your amazing and wonderful daughter for coming up with the idea and you for sharing it. Salut and bon appetit!

DEAR ABBY: I’m at my wits’ end. I love my husband, but when we have company, he dominates the conversation, usually repeating the same stories over and over. If friends and family tell him they’ve heard the story before, he just ignores the remark and continues.

He is retired, and I realize he doesn’t socialize enough. His health has not been the best. By the end of the evening, I am worn out. What can I do? — PAIN IN HOSTING

DEAR PAIN: That your husband is retired and isolated may contribute to his problem. As soon as it’s feasible, encourage him to get out of the house and involve himself in some new activities where he can put his talents and experience to good use. However, if his repetitiveness is new behavior, this should be discussed with his doctor so he can be evaluated, because it could indicate the onset of a medical or neurological problem.