DEAR ABBY: I am a funeral director in Minneapolis and take part in many processions to cemeteries. It seems that most people are not too concerned about funeral processions. They dart in and out of cars and join the mourners in order to run through red lights.
This letter, however, is to show my appreciation to a couple of individuals who remain fixed in my mind. To the man who pulled over, stopped his car and took off his hat, placing it on his chest -- thank you! You didn't know the family or the young man who had died. You didn't know the 3-year-old daughter who didn't understand all that was going on around her, but you gave her, and other family and friends, a moment of your time.
Thank you, too, to the teen-ager who was hanging out with his friends on the corner as we passed. When you removed your cap and bowed your head, you showed respect and consideration.
Simple acts of kindness like these don't go unnoticed, and they mean so much.
Funeral processions shouldn't be regarded as nuisances that make you late. Take that moment and reflect on your own life, and give that family the same respect you would want for yours. -- DANIEL C. ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
DEAR MR. ANDERSON: Thank you for a wonderful letter. But taking a moment to be considerate should not be limited to special circumstances. Simple courtesies extended to neighbors, co-workers and strangers improve the quality of life for everyone.
DEAR ABBY: I have saved this "Dear Abby" letter since 1979. Please run it one more time for people who insist that "a piece of paper" doesn't mean anything. I am a longtime reader from ... BUFFALO, N.Y.
DEAR LONGTIME READER: I agree. It's worth a second time around:
DEAR ABBY: Many couples who live together without marriage say: "We don't need a piece of paper to make our commitment to each other binding. A piece of paper doesn't mean a thing!"
Wrong! May I point out that when a person buys an automobile, he had better have that "piece of paper" or he could be in a lot of trouble.
Also, a driver's license may be "just a piece of paper," but you'd better not be caught driving without it.
When a person buys a home or any other piece of property, he makes sure he has that "piece of paper."
And when a person graduates from high school, college or trade school, that "piece of paper" can make the difference between getting a job or not getting one.
We live our lives with pieces of paper, beginning with a birth certificate and ending with a death certificate. And let's not forget the will -- another very important piece of paper.
So when I hear people say, "A piece of paper doesn't mean a thing," I'm reminded of the classic adage, "Ignorance is bliss." -- PAPER IS PROOF
CONFIDENTIAL TO NOTHING TO LIVE FOR IN ATLANTA: Live one day at a time. No one ever collapsed under the burdens of a single day; it's when the burdens of tomorrow are added to it that it becomes unbearable.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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