DEAR READERS: Several years ago, Richard J. Kent, a retired colonel who served in the U.S. Air Force, sent me a poem he'd written as a tribute to his father. I have kept it in my book of special treasures. Today I'm sharing it in honor of fathers, stepfathers and grandfathers everywhere. Read on:
A BELATED GRACE
by Richard J. Kent, Springfield, Va.
Make me half the man my father was
And I'll know that I've been blest.
Give me half his courage and loving care
And a kingdom I'll possess.
When I was young and foolish
I heard but I didn't hear
His words of wisdom, his sound advice,
The need to persevere.
When I grew older and wiser,
I saw what I hadn't seen:
His strength to cope with adversity
And do it with dignity.
No need for the Ten Commandments
When I came to a fork in the road.
I had only to think what he would have done
And again, he'd carry my load.
Make me half the father to my two sons
As the father he was to me
And I know that I will rest at peace
DEAR ABBY: Your columns about random acts of kindness prompt this letter. I'd like to tell you about some people I'll never forget.
I was taking the train to Oklahoma from Chicago for my Christmas vacation during World War II. I stood on the platform while all the servicemen boarded, and soon the train was packed. The conductor leaned out, announced, "There is no room for you!" and closed the door. I was standing in the snow and it was getting dark, and all I could think of was, "Will I ever get home?"
Then a couple of the cooks leaned out of the dining car and said I could ride with them. They had such wonderful smiles and laughs. They pulled me up, put an apron on me, and sat me beside a big, warm, pot-bellied stove. After they had served everyone else, they cooked a wonderful meal for me. It was so much fun.
When we arrived in St. Louis, they took my luggage and we ran through all the steam until we found the train going to Oklahoma. I'll never forget them, and think of them often. -- ANN IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ANN: You must be a person "of a certain age" to remember train travel when the industry was in its glory. Those were wonderful times.
The dining car staff was generous to take you under their wing, and you probably received better service than any other passenger.
DEAR ABBY: I recently saw a celebrity actually show his bare backside on a daytime talk show.
If this is called "mooning," what is it called when a woman lifts up her blouse and shows her bare breasts? -- CURIOUS IN BRADFORD, VT.
DEAR CURIOUS: Exhibitionism!
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