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by Abigail Van Buren

Some of the Nicest People Flunk Firm-Handshake Test

DEAR ABBY: I have two brothers who are married. (So am I.) One brother lives in Minnesota and the other one lives in Louisiana. The Minnesota brother always sends birthday and anniversary cards, and promptly, too. The brother who lives down South never sends birthday or an�niversary greetings. (He doesn't even acknowledge the cards I send him.)

I made up my mind that unless I hear from my thoughtless brother down South, I am going to quit remembering him on special occasions.

I talked to my parents about this, and they said, "Do as you please, but don't involve us." I don't see why I should be so prompt and thoughtful to people who ignore me, do you? -- MIDWEST SISTER

DEAR SISTER: In every family, there are some who are more thoughtful than others. You may feel that by ignoring those who always forget you, you are "getting even," but you are actually widening the gap, until eventually there will be no communication at all.

Remember them anyway. Families need each other. Don't wait for a funeral to communicate.