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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to the letter from "Ice-Cream Truck Hater," who complained that ice-cream trucks make too much noise. You advised this person not to fight an "American institution, akin to Mom and apple pie." I believe you overlooked an important point:

The practice of driving ice-cream trucks through the neighborhood may be old, but the electronic music they play nowadays is not. I remember when I was young, the ice-cream truck played a soft bell -- something quieter and less obnoxious than the tinny, constantly recycled "music" that blasts from loudspeakers. You can hear them a mile away.

Noise pollution is bound to get worse. I suggest that "Ice-Cream Truck Hater" pressure City Hall to pass an ordinance that will keep noise to a minimum. That's what we did, and our neighborhood is now peaceful again. -- NO MORE NOISY NUISANCE

DEAR NO MORE: I was surprised at the amount of emotion stirred up by ice-cream trucks. From the descriptions of many readers, the new versions are both unpleasant and intrusive. Many neighborhoods have banded together to ban excessive noise and limit the number of times a truck can drive through their neighborhood.

In fairness, however, I did hear from readers for whom the mention of ice-cream trucks evoked wonderful memories. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Ice-cream trucks are a beautiful reminder. I frequently baby-sat my older grandchildren. I watched with them as the "pretty music" trucks drove by. Sometimes we sang along with the music or made up stories that fit it.

One day, the oldest came running in with the news: "Granny, did you know that those music trucks sell ice cream?" I pretended to be shocked. "Really, Granny," he insisted. "Uncle Eddie bought me one yesterday."

My tightly kept secret was out. My grandson turned 19 last week, and he still checks the freezer when he drops by. Thanks for the sweet memory. -- HAPPY GRANNY OF 10

DEAR HAPPY GRANNY: You are not the only reader who wrote to share a happy memory recalled because of the letter from "Ice-Cream Truck Hater." Read on:

DEAR ABBY: My children were older and in school when the ice-cream truck came by our house, but when Luke, my large German shepherd, heard it, he'd come flying into the house, barking and jumping into the air.

I'd grab my change purse, and Luke and I would join the neighborhood children in line. I'd buy myself an ice-cream sandwich and Luke a cone. The look on his face as he lay in front of my garage, with his two front paws tightly wrapped around his ice-cream cone, was something to see. Every lick was a moment of sheer bliss. I'll always treasure the memory of Luke and me and the ice-cream truck. Thanks for the memories, Abby. -- SADIE FALK, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

DEAR ABBY: What can I say when my 6-year-old grandson asks, "Why are you divorced?" -- GRANDMOTHER

DEAR GRANDMOTHER: Make it brief and honest. Say, "Honey, we just couldn't get along with each other."

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600