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by Abigail Van Buren

Widow Remembers Husband by Sharing His Love of Horses

DEAR ABBY: I found this "Horse's Prayer" in my late husband's desk in 1991, the year he died. He loved horses and took very good care of them.

My husband was a farmer and a dedicated man who took pride in his work. He unloaded horses and cattle for the Southern Pacific Co. for 25 years. -- CATHERINE E. LANFRANCO, FRESNO, CALIF.

DEAR CATHERINE: Thank you for sharing it. I know many of my readers who love horses will relate to it.


Feed me, water me and care for me. And when my day's work is done, provide me with shelter, a clean, dry bed, and a stall wide enough for me to lie down in comfort.

Talk to me. Your voice often means as much to me as the reins.

Pet me sometimes, that I may serve you the more gladly and learn to love you.

Do not jerk the reins and do not whip me when going uphill.

Never strike, beat or kick me when I do not understand what you mean, but give me a chance to understand.

Watch me, and if I fail to do your bidding, see if something is wrong with my harness or feet. Examine my teeth when I do not eat. I may have an ulcerated tooth that is very painful.

Do not tie my head in an unnatural position, or take away my best defense against flies by cutting off my tail. (I don't take away YOUR mosquito curtains.)

Don't smoke in my barn or leave me tied up overnight and perhaps burn me to death while you are sleeping in your comfortable bed.

And last, my master: When my strength is gone, do not turn me out in a pasture with no shelter and let me freeze to death, or sell me to some cruel owner to be slowly starved or worked to death, but take my life in the kindest way, and your God will reward you -- hereafter. -- AUTHOR UNKNOWN

DEAR ABBY: My mother has plenty of money. In fact, she's obsessed with it. We keep telling her to spend it and enjoy life, but she doesn't listen. It's like money is her god.

The topper came on my daughter's birthday. My mother sent her a card with nothing in it! I never thought she'd be so tight she'd deprive her grandchild. Believe me, $10 wouldn't have hurt her at all.

Since talking to her only makes her angry, if you print this letter, maybe she'll see it, recognize herself and wise up. -- UPSET IN DULUTH

DEAR UPSET: Please keep in mind that no one is obligated to give birthday gifts. Gifts are voluntary. Many grandparents cease giving gifts when children fail to send thank-you notes.

DEAR ABBY: Whatever you say, I promised my sister I'd do.

My boyfriend, "Chuck," has been married three times and has children from all three marriages. Chuck told me he had married young the first time and just made "bad" choices the other two times.

Before I get in any deeper with Chuck, my sister suggested I call his ex-wives and get their side of the story. She also heard that he'd been engaged before. My sister says Chuck is bad news. I believe he is just the romantic type who jumped into these marriages after whirlwind romances with what turned out to be crazy women. What do you think? -- BEING CAREFUL

DEAR BEING CAREFUL: Listen to your sister and chuck Chuck. Her advice is right on target.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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