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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My grandsons are 16, 18 and 20 years old, and they all have girlfriends. Each also has his own bedroom.

When I visit my son's house a few times each week, the boys are always in their bedrooms with their girlfriends -- with their doors closed, supposedly listening to music or watching a movie on television. My son and daughter-in-law are either in other rooms, or outside in their pool, and choose not to disturb them.

Abby, knowing teen-agers have raging hormones, I don't think this is a very good policy, but I don't feel it's my place to say anything.

My son and daughter-in-law's attitude is, "Get with it -- this is the '90s," -- whatever that's supposed to mean.

What do you make of this, Abby? -- OLD-FASHIONED GRANDPA

DEAR GRANDPA: I'm "old-fashioned," too. What goes on behind closed doors could be perfectly innocent, but I see no reason why your grandsons can't watch movies or listen to music with their doors open. Young people need some privacy, but too much of a good thing can result in temptations too intense to resist.

Talk to your son and daughter-in-law and share the wisdom of your years by suggesting an "open-door" policy.

DEAR ABBY: When I was in law school, I shared an apartment with three other graduate students who, like me, held part-time jobs and had little time, money, cooking ability or interest in preparing meals. Each of us got his own breakfast and we took turns preparing dinner -- which usually consisted of a canned vegetable, hamburger meat, a baked potato or the like -- and was barely edible. (I lost 25 pounds going through law school.) But no matter how poor the meal was, my roommate "Joe" invariably said, "That was a mighty fine dinner!"

One evening, when the meal I had prepared was even worse than usual and Joe had nevertheless complimented me, I asked, "Joe, you know that food was hardly fit for human consumption. Why do you always say it's good?"

"I come from a family of 11 children," Joe answered. "My mother would spend all afternoon in the kitchen preparing the evening meal. Then, one night when she called us to the table, there was only a plate at each place with a pile of hay on it. My father looked at it and asked her, 'Jessie, what is this hay doing on our plates?' Mother said, 'Oh, you noticed! This is the first time any of you have ever given any indication that you know what was on your plate!'"

"I vowed then and there," Joe added, "that I would always express my appreciation to the person who had prepared my meal."

Ever since then I have followed Joe's example. (Fortunately, I married a great cook as well as the best wife a man ever had.) -- PAUL M. BARNES, GREEN VALLEY, ARIZ.

DEAR PAUL: Thanks for a cute letter, and for the reminder that we should all take a moment to express gratitude for the things we take for granted. I hope you will share this column with your wife. I'm sure she'll appreciate the hearty endorsement.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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