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DEAR ABBY: Yesterday at the grocery store, I observed a woman with two young children in the parking lot. While she loaded her groceries and her toddler from the cart into her van, she left the younger child (under a year old) sitting in the cart behind her vehicle.

The scene brought back an incident when my own child was just a year old. I parked the grocery cart at the rear of my small pickup truck and hesitated only a moment before deciding to load my child into the pickup before my purchases. I had taken only three steps when a car pulling out of the parking space directly behind me slammed into my grocery cart hard enough that the cart dented the tailgate of my truck. Customers all over the parking lot heard the impact. Even if my child had not died from the impact, he would have been seriously -- and possibly permanently -- injured.

During the time that this woman took to load her toddler and groceries, the cart and the baby were out of her line of sight. Someone could have pulled up and taken her child, could have hit the cart, or the cart could have rolled into the path of a car.

Abby, please remind your readers that the most important thing in a grocery cart is your child. Always put the child (or children) in the car first. -- DIANE IN SCAPPOOSE, ORE.

DEAR DIANE: When I read your letter, the hairs on my arms stood straight up! In case other parents need this reminder: If a child is a passenger in the grocery cart, the cart should be placed beside the parent's vehicle where it's protected from traffic. And, of course, the child (or children) should be placed first in the vehicle.

DEAR ABBY: The letter regarding calendars depicting almost nude women hanging in businesses frequented by both men and women brought back an incident that I experienced.

I worked in a car radio company and had to regularly visit the garage where the radios were installed. The installers had many calendars in their work areas that offended me, some depicting completely nude women.

I spoke to the owner (a woman) about my feelings and she had the perfect solution. She bought a magazine (Playgirl) that contained photos of completely naked men and tacked a few of the pics up in the garage. The installers had a fit, telling her that the pictures were "obscene." Needless to say, all the girlie pics were down the next day!

By the way, this was 25 years ago, long before there were any laws regarding sexual harassment. -- JO IN LARGO, FLA.

DEAR JO: What's good for the gander is good for the goose! I have to wonder at the logic that pictures of nude women are art and pictures of nude men are obscene, since both the subjects were formed by the same creator.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "CONSIDERING DIPLOMACY AS A CAREER": Art Linkletter described diplomacy succinctly: "The art of jumping into troubled water without making a splash."

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