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Dear Abby 10/27
Tribute to golf club member ruled out of bounds by owner
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    DEAR ABBY: My family owns a golf course. One of the longtime members, a man I'll call "Jack," died suddenly. Another member took it upon himself to commission a watercolor of a golf scene and hang it in the pro shop in Jack's memory. The painting is tastefully done, matted and framed with a brass plaque stating, "In Memory of ..."
    The problem is, it just appeared on the wall without getting permission. The deceased member's family saw it recently and had no idea it had been done or who did it. Apparently, the golf pro knew about it, but he left on vacation right after it was put up and never notified us. He quit as soon as he returned from vacation — but he did identify the person who had the painting commissioned.
    The fact that someone would think it appropriate to put a memorial in another's place of business strikes me as odd. We have had many members pass away, and there is no picture hanging in their memory. Jack donated time and money to the course, and a bridge has been dedicated in his memory and a sign erected at the bridge. However, other past members have contributed as much or more than Jack did, and there's nothing in their honor or memory.
    Enough is enough. I think the best place for the picture is with Jack's widow. I believe she would appreciate the fact that a club member had the painting done in her husband's memory and would enjoy looking at it — in her home. What do you think, Abby? — STRIKES ME AS ODD
    DEAR STRIKES ME AS ODD: Obviously Jack was well-liked, or a bridge would not have been dedicated in his memory. Although your family owns the club, you should realize that when members join your club — if they like it and feel at home there — they begin to feel some "ownership" in it.
    While it may have been presumptuous for the person who commissioned the painting to have hung it in your pro shop without first asking for permission, I see it as a sentimental gesture, not someone trying to usurp your authority. However, because you are the owner (or one of them) and because you are offended, you should take it up with the person who ordered the painting.

    DEAR ABBY: Given all your years of giving advice, what would you say is the main basic problem in society today? I think it's a lack of communication skills. Perhaps if we all just began speaking up, speaking plainly and with others' feelings in mind, many things would be easier. What do you think? — TAB IN SWANSEA, ILL.
    DEAR TAB: You have posed an interesting question. While I agree that if people of conscience were willing to speak their minds we would live in a less complicated world, there is no "one" basic problem in society today.
    I receive more than 10,000 letters and e-mails a week from people pouring out not only their headaches, but their heartaches as well. Many of them are hoping to find quick and easy solutions to problems they've struggled with for years, while others don't expect an answer — they write only to complain, unload or confess. Many of those who write to me are lonely and have no one to talk to. They know they can confide in me and that I will treat them with respect.
    My mother used to describe herself as "an amateur wailing wall without portfolio." And I can attest to the fact that there are as many different kinds of problems as stones in the wailing wall.
    Readers, what do you think society's greatest problem is today?
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