Picture: Advice from Melody Windover-Midden

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I, Melody Windover-Midden, am so glad to be dispensing advice with my furry friends Sing-Boy and Lady-Paws, and the Swami Ralph, while Lady Felicia and Sir Charles are still in hospital. Sickness is but a mental state, as we all know, and if they merely thought themselves well, they would be. I'm sure my sister would be, anyway, but her husband keeps perpetuating the illness by clutching his chest and moaning, "The limburger! The limburger!"

October 17, 1997

Picture: One's Mother-in-Law in a Fine Lather Of course, there was the accident afterwards, too. Just a minor thing. You see, once the ambulances had safely taken away dear Sir Chuck and Fizzie (that's what I used to call my sister when I was just a baby and she was many many many many many years older than I, ever so long ago), I went back to their estate and was immediately struck at how empty and lonely it was. Full of things, yes. But the people of the lost island of Atlantis had things, didn't they? And look what happened to them.

The Swami Ralph--such a dear man, and very handy at boiling frozen curry packets--had been recommending feng shui for the entire first floor, and I simply knew what had to be done. Out came the moving vans, and away went all the dusty antiques and weapons and Persian carpets and Dresden shepherdesses. In came my lovely statue of Buddha and some bean bag chairs and some lovely scarves and a bit of coconut matting. It really made the place softer, and would have saved the poor un-unionized servants such a lot of cleaning. I was a princess in a former life, you see, so I sympathize with the plight of the common folk. (My sister Felicia was one of the servants.)

And wouldn't you know, in came my sister and Sir Chuck that evening, somewhat recovered from the Chutney Parade, where they caught me moving my things from the quaint but slightly wee room they'd given me in the far west wing to a larger suite and gracious, were their auras ever red! Sir Chuck simply fainted and hit his head on the floor, poor thing. My sister, though . . . well, she must not be very happy, even with all that money. The things she said. I hope that her karma counter in the aether was taking into account the aftereffects of inhaling Layered Pickled Kidneys and Curried Steak Tartare in a Limburger Aspic gone slightly off. I know the Swami Ralph was upset, and Sing-Sing and Paw-Paw were racing around saying in the little voices that only I can hear, "Mummy, make the red lady stop shouting!" But it wasn't until she noticed that I'd replaced the portrait of her (Andy Warhol is so out, and dear Sing-Sing had already used the canvas to sharpen her claws, sweet thing!) with a lovely Krishna watercolour that she joined her husband flat on her back on the coconut matting.

But Paw-Paw is talking to me now. "Mummy!" he is saying. "Pet me! Pet me!" Yes, I pet my little Paw-Paw. Yes, Paw-Paw! He is the more intelligent of my two babies, though Mummy doesn't play favourites. But he is quite smart! When I say to him, "Paw-Paw! Paw-Paw! Put down the Grandiose Emeralds, sweeties, and tell mommy what the square root of nine is," I can just look into his eyes and know that if he could, the word 'four!' would be popping out of his sweet little mouth. Clever, clever Paw-Paw!

But on to our questions for the week. I'm so sorry that my sister or her husband couldn't be here to answer them, but they're probably still in hospital regretting having the servants move my things back to the fourth-floor west wing bedroom. No, really, I don't mind the draught. I was an Egyptian queen in a past life, you know, and can understand discomfort. (My sister was the slave girl doorstop.)

In with anger and out with love,
Melody Windover-Midden

Dolly writes:

Picture: One's Mother-in-Law in a Fine Lather Dearest Sir Charles,

Although an avid reader of your column, I've not mustered the courage to write a submission to you up until now. Let me just say that your column is an inspiration to me and that your advice has been quite useful in steering my path away from the necessary evils that life has to offer. In fact, the only other printed matter which holds a higher plateau in my life is that masterful witty expense of ink that some would call a comic strip -- Family Circus.

I eagerly await the comical adventures of Billy and his family, losing sleep as I ponder just what clever lesson will be expelled in the next day's edition. Not to slight you in the least, Sir Charles, as I think your column comes a very close second to Family Circus.

I even see how you yourself draw some inspiration from the comic. In fact, when you had your second nephew Mortimar take over your column while you were on vacation, I was reminded of how that comical genius Mr. Keane has young Billy take over for his column in much the same way.

One suggestion to strengthen your column, however. I find that some of the funniest and most clever moments in Family Circus are relayed when we are presented with a picture of some building or landscape, complete with little arrows tracing silly Billy's path through life. If only you could do something similar, I might vault you to the top of my list of influential works.

Yours Truly,
Dolly X

Melody Windover-Midden replies:

Thank you for asking!

Most people are perfectly content to feed their darling feline friends any old thing they find on the shelves, even though those tinned foods are simply full of nasty preservatives and crude meats too delicate for Sing-Sing and Paw-Paw's tum-tums!

My Kitty Chiropractor has recommended a simple but nourishing macrobiotic regimen for my darlings, and I find that after a few weeks on it, their little box smells positively rosy! The kitty colonics help too, you know. And they're not as hard to administer as they sound, with a firm grasp and a really good quality hot water bottle.

In with anger and out with love,
Melody Windover-Midden

Broken Hearted writes:

Dear Lady,

My heart is most trubbled. You see every relationship that I have had has gone wrong.

The last relation ship that I had I tried to fool myself into thinking that I didn't like him. I am embarrased to say that it didn't work and now that he is gone I regret the fact that I didn't notice this sooner.

Do you think that there is any way to get over this broken hearted boyfriend withdrawl?

broken hearted

Melody Windover-Midden replies:


How horrid! You see, I would have noticed he was gone right away.

But yes, I think two drops of Rescue Remedy nightly in your tooth glass will bring back the sparkle in your eye!

In with love and out with anger,
Melody Windover-Midden

Steve writes:

Picture: One's Mother-in-Law in a Fine LatherDear Lady Felicia,

I do love my fiance, but sometimes I feel like I should tell her about my little Mistress. I don't want to break her heart, but my Mistress has been by me for the last three years. What should I do?


Melody Windover-Midden replies:


Is Mistress a long-haired or short-haired cat? I'm imagining Persian, with a name like that! Of course you should tell your fiance about your Mistress! Think of all the fun they could have together, batting your balls about between them!

Of course, there are some women . . . oh, I won't mention any names . . . who simply can't abide cats. Oh, I know. Wicked, isn't it? They snigger behind their hands, saying things like, "Don't mind my sister. Cats are a mania with her," or "Get out the strait-jacket. My sister Melody's coming to visit." Then they put you in the smallest room in the bloody mansion and barely give you enough cat litter to keep your darlings from crossing their legs constantly. Oh, she might be rich and wealthy and beautiful and titled in this lifetime, but you never know, sister dear, you could end up as a cockroach in the next, couldn't you, and then wouldn't you be surprised when you see the can of RoachOff! coming, hmmmm?

In with anger and out with anger,
Melody Windover-Midden

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