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DEAR ABBY: Our daughter is celebrating her 50th birthday next month. Her husband, "Ben," is throwing her a surprise party at a restaurant. We know because he has asked us to watch and feed the grandkids, who are in their teens.

We have been taking care of the grandkids since they were born and have them anywhere from two to seven days a week, sometimes 24 hours a day, when their parents want a vacation without them. Over the years we have chauffeured them to doctor appointments, hair appointments, to and from school, sports functions, etc.

Ben says he wants to make the party for adults only. I have mixed feelings about it. I feel left out because, after all, she is our daughter. Am I wrong? My husband doesn't care one way or another. -- LEFT OUT IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR LEFT OUT: Considering that you have stepped up to the plate every time your daughter and son-in-law have needed your help, I think your feelings are valid. You and your husband should have been included in the fun.


DEAR ABBY: During a recent trip across the U.S. to visit family, we spent the night in a motel. While we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast the next morning, a middle-aged lady bustled around, keeping serving plates full, wiping the tables clean, and greeting everyone with a smile and a cheery, "Good morning!" There was no tip jar in sight. When I handed her a tip, she smiled and thanked me. I'm pretty sure most people who enjoyed the food and clean dining area never thought to tip her.

Please remind your readers that many service workers in our country are paid less than minimum wage (which isn't a living). They depend on the tips they are given. I mentioned it to the receptionist at the front desk when I checked out. She promised that she would propose a tip jar at the next managers' meeting. Please, folks, even without that reminder, take notice of workers like her who make your travel more pleasant, and reward them accordingly. -- TRAVEL TIP

DEAR TRAVEL TIP: Amen!


DEAR ABBY: Why do married couples exclude single people? I have been friends with these people since long after I was divorced. But sometimes when they get together, they leave out their single friends. We are not a threat to their relationships. Is there a reason for this? -- EXCLUDED IN THE EAST

DEAR EXCLUDED: You are asking a question for which there is no single answer. The reasons could vary from something as simple as having to do with the seating arrangements to concern that the single person might not be comfortable when all the other guests are couples. Readers?

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