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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I never laughed so hard as I did when I read about "Gwen" in the letter from "Turkeyless in Arkansas." I like that girl! I'm sure there are a lot of "hunting widows" out there who would love to have done the same thing (yell, "Run, turkey, run!")

My response to Gwen: You can do one of two things if your man decides to confront you about your "insensitivity" to his hunting:

1. "RUN, GWEN, RUN!" You will always be second to his hunting. It may be the turkey season now, but next on the list will be deer, bear, elk, moose, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, duck, etc. If you should marry this guy, expect to wake up alone from late October to early April.

So, if snuggling in the morning is what you like to do, get a teddy bear. Don't make any plans without asking his schedule because morning isn't the only time they go hunting; late afternoons are popular, too. If dinners and movies are what you enjoy on Saturday evenings, take a girlfriend instead. And be sure to keep his "If I Go Hunting One More Time My Wife Is Going to Leave Me ... God, I'm Gonna Miss Her" T-shirt handy at all times. Or, you could:

2. JOIN HIM AND HAVE FUN! That is what I finally did after four years of griping and nagging. When I did, I got the opening-day prize -- a 10-inch bearded gobbler! My husband and I have fun hunting together, although I don't go all the time. It taught me to respect his favorite sport, his hunting buddies and him more!

My suggestion to "Turkeyless in Arkansas" is: If you care enough about Gwen, don't try to force her to love what you do. Has she considered ditching you because you break out in hives whenever she asks you to accompany her to the mall? If you dump her, watch out! Your friend, who has a much better sense of humor than you, may snatch her up, and next year you'll be hunting alone. -- TALKING TURKEY IN FLORIDA

DEAR TALKING TURKEY: I'm printing your letter in the hope that Gwen will spot it. As a hunter's wife, you have laid on the line what she should expect if she marries her boyfriend.

The comments about "Turkeyless in Arkansas" continue unabated. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Turkeyless in Arkansas." Abby, just because this couple are not birds of a feather doesn't mean they can't enjoy a beautiful nest together. There is nothing written that says you must enjoy the other's hobby. In fact, I personally recommend that each have his or her own personal interests -- it makes for more interesting individuals, who in turn enhance each other as a couple.

I'll bet "Turkeyless" would not want to take a special cooking class, but would like his turkey cooked to perfection. According to him, Gwen can cook and she looks good. She can pamper herself while he hunts, and then they can have a wonderful meal together while he feasts his eyes on her.

My husband loves tinkering with his old sprint and midget race cars. I sit in a rocking chair in my special corner of his workshop and do needlework, and we can still share time and conversation. Once in a while I will hand him a tool; occasionally he gives me an opininon on combining colors. Sometimes I accompany him to a vintage auto swap meet, and once in a while he will walk through a quilt display at a fair with me.

Relationships are give-and-take. Both must give and both must take. -- MARRIED TO VROOM-VROOM, SANTA ANA, CALIF.

DEAR MARRIED: Yours sounds like a model marriage. Happy companions make the best mates.

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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