Annie Lane: Brightest flame burns the quickest

Published 6:30 am Saturday, August 29, 2020

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Dear Annie: Since you wrote “Ask Me Anything,” I’m taking you up on it.

I had known a lady for about a year when I finally asked her out. I was shocked when she said yes. The date was to be a game of miniature golf followed by a walk on the beach. Long story short, she stopped by my house first, and we never made it to miniature golf or the beach. Instead, I had a few of the best hours of my life.

After a couple of similar “dates,” I invited her to move in with me, and she accepted. Our relationship was close to perfect. She was extremely caring and affectionate. I didn’t want to bring up marriage too soon, but I did tell her I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, and she said the same to me.

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This continued for about three months. But then, one Sunday, she got up very early to go spend the day with her mother out of town. As she was getting ready, I hugged her and said, “I am happy you enjoy spending time with your mom, but it would be great if you would plan it a little later so we could enjoy some time together before you have to leave.”

Later that afternoon, she came back and was enraged that I’d said anything about her spending time with her mom. She hurriedly packed her things and left. That was 10 months ago. I tried several times to call her, but she wouldn’t answer. And she didn’t reply to any of the several emails I sent. I simply cannot fathom what caused her to go from the most loving person I’ve ever known to wanting nothing to do with me. Should I give up on her altogether? If not, what can I do to get her back?

— Whiplashed

Dear Whiplashed: When things go from 0 to 100 so quickly, it’s a sign you’re headed for a crash — in your case, a hit and run. With the way she split so quickly, you can be sure that it wasn’t just because of what you said that day; it was because she’d been planning to leave already.

Asking her to move in after a few dates was a mistake. You didn’t know her then, and you hardly know her now. Keep trying to move on. As hard as it is, it will get easier with time. The next time you meet someone special — and there will indeed be a next time — take things slow.

• • •

Dear Annie: My first reaction to the letter “Father Knows Best,” about a 40-year tradition of yard care was, “What a nice story!” But then my training as a master gardener kicked in, and I thought, “Why are they raking up all the grass clippings?”

If your lawn is kept regularly mowed, it is much better to leave the clippings where they are to decompose and help to fertilize the lawn naturally. In Florida, we are not allowed to use any chemical fertilizer on grass during the rainy summer months. The clippings help improve our mostly sandy soil by adding organic matter. Save yourself some trouble while doing the right thing for your lawn. Better still, reduce its area and replace it with garden beds and trees, and plants for the birds and the butterflies.

— Florida Master Gardener Yard Advisor

Dear Yard Advisor: I missed the mark in my response to “Father Knows Best,” as I didn’t consider the environmental benefits of leaving lawn clippings be. I heard from many readers about this one. Thank you for setting me straight.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to