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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Show-and-Tell Makes Dinner a Downer for Her Son

DEAR ABBY: Perhaps you or one of your readers can tell me why so many people are reluctant to use the guest towels in the homes of people they visit.

I have a basket with soft pink paper towels on the counter next to the sink, but rarely does anybody use one.

Instead, I see "used" places on the heavy pink bath towels that hang from the towel bars. I can understand their preference not to use the terry towel that's there, but why do they shun paper and go for the freshly laundered bath towels? I feel I need to launder them again so they will be fresh for the family.

I've considered displaying a little sign saying "Please use the guest towels," but I'm afraid that would look tacky.

Abby, have others noticed the same thing in their homes? I'd love to understand people's thinking, or hear any suggestions you have. Sign me ... TIRED IN TUCSON

DEAR TIRED: Yes. It's happened to me. I've even had guests dry their hands on the bathroom window curtains rather than use a guest towel.

Five years ago, I published a letter from Mildred Lutz of Wichita, Kan., who asked the same question. I responded with a poem from another reader who had grown tired of having guests ignore her pretty little guest towels ... and here's the poem:

A GUEST TOWEL SPEAKS

by Mabel Craddock, Ventura, Calif.

Please use me, Guest;

Don't hesitate.

Don't turn your back

Or vacillate.

Don't dry your hands

On petticoat,

On handkerchief,

Or redingote.

I'm here to use;

I'm made for drying.

Just hanging here

Gets very tiring.