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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I live in Seattle, which is famous for its beautiful environment, lovely gardens and quiet neighborhoods -- until summertime, that is. Then out come all the ice cream trucks with their loudspeakers playing obnoxious music over and over at high volume.

I used to look forward to the peaceful summer days when I could be outside and enjoy my garden, but now all I want to do is hide inside with a stack of pillows.

Noise pollution is on the increase in our already overstimulated world. Is it any wonder that people's nerves are frayed? I also feel sorry for the drivers, who must listen to that awful noise eight hours a day. What do you think? -- ICE CREAM TRUCK HATER

DEAR ICE CREAM TRUCK HATER: Don't fight an American institution, akin to Mom and apple pie. No doubt many adults find ice cream trucks annoying; however, they have a timeless appeal to children, and I have even heard some grown-ups admit that the music takes them back to their childhood.

When you hear the truck approaching, cover your ears and observe the delighted expressions on the faces of the children gathered around it. The good humor may be contagious.

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Needs Help in New York."

I was married March 14, and everyone thought it was a beautiful wedding. My parents were thrilled when we told them we were engaged, but they were also financially limited. They told me they would be able to spend "x" amount of money only -- and that's what they did.

My husband's parents gave us a beautiful rehearsal dinner. My husband's brother and sister and their spouses helped foot the bill for the reception. No one was required to take out a loan from anyone.

Our wedding was a collective effort on the part of everyone who loves us -- from those who stood up for us, to those who worked behind the scenes, to those who helped out financially. Our wedding was special and beautiful because those who are dear to us did what they could to make it so.

"Needs Help" should talk with her daughter and her ex-husband and try to come up with a compromise that will make their daughter's wedding what it should be -- a beautiful memory, not a painful monthly payment. You may use my name. -- JENNIFER L. INGRAM, ST. JOSEPH, MO.

DEAR JENNIFER: I agree. And may I add that from your description, your wedding was the ideal -- a joining of two families, accomplished through an outpouring of love and generosity on both sides. Congratulations and continued good fortune.

DEAR ABBY: I read the letter from "Grieving in Orange, Texas," and I decided to write. I am an 11-year-old girl whose family goes to a local nursing home every week to visit the people there. We enjoy the visits tremendously -- and I know for a fact that the patients enjoy our company. -- TRYING TO HELP IN SPRINGFIELD, ORE.

DEAR TRYING TO HELP: Your letter about this wonderful family project made my day, just as I know that your visits to the nursing home make the residents' days.

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