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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I recently went to visit my widowed, elderly father in Florida. Like many elderly, his eyesight is not what it once was. He suffers from macular degeneration and has trouble reading small print. What disturbed me so was the fact that he could no longer go to restaurants because he couldn't read the menu.

Why don't restaurants print menus in large print? I'm not suggesting that all of their menus be that way, only to have some on hand for people who would like them.

Abby, my father is not alone -- his friends are not going to restaurants either. They're embarrassed. I asked him why they don't ask the restaurants to provide large-print menus. He said they would laugh at him. I felt awful.

Please, Abby, be the voice of the elderly once again. These people have a lot of spendable cash, and it wouldn't hurt the restaurants to cater to this large group of people. We're all going to be there one day.

A word to the restaurant association would be appreciated by many. -- MILDRED, A LOVING AND CONCERNED DAUGHTER IN ILLINOIS

DEAR MILDRED: I'm pleased to pass the word along, but a person doesn't have to be elderly to have trouble reading small print; being over the age of 40 is usually enough. Large-print menus are an excellent suggestion -- and while I'm at it, a clever restaurateur should be willing to keep a few pairs of reading glasses on hand as well as a couple of flashlights in case the ambient lighting isn't enough.

DEAR ABBY: Our 15-year-old daughter is grounded. My husband gave the punishment of one week off the phone, which I felt was appropriate. After one day of no phone calls, she asked to get on the Internet to check her e-mail. Her dad said no, because the Internet requires a phone line so that's considered the phone.

I told him I did not agree. I feel that if he takes away the Internet that it is considered another punishment. Rather than argue, we decided to let you decide, and both of us will abide by your decision for future disciplinary action. -- OAK HILL, W.VA., MOM

DEAR WEST VIRGINIA MOM: I vote with your husband. The purpose of the punishment was to give your daughter a week of "quiet time" to rethink the actions that led to her being disciplined in the first place.

DEAR ABBY: I would like to share this information with your readers so they may start this great act of charity at their places of worship.

At our church, many of the children bring nonperishable food from home and put it into big baskets on the altar while the collection baskets are passed around. The food is then distributed to local food banks. The children enjoy doing it, and they learn the meaning of sharing and helping others in need. -- KIM IN SAVAGE, MINN.

DEAR KIM: That is an idea worth emulating -- and thank you for it. I'm sure that many churches, in many denominations, will find it worth considering.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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