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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I recently took my father to my 11-year-old son's Little League game. While my son's team was at bat, a ball was hit up the first base line. The first baseman made a gallant attempt to catch the ball, but missed and it went into the outfield.

The right fielder stopped the runner at second base, and my father shouted to the first baseman, "You should have made that play!"

Concerned that he would hurt the boy's feelings, I told Dad he shouldn't shout at the boy. My father then became angry with me and said the boy needs to know that he "screwed up" so he would "learn from his mistakes."

My father's loud lecture embarrassed me. I told him after he calmed down that I would be sitting in the bleachers. A few minutes later, I looked for him and saw that he was walking home. I had driven him to the game. We have not spoken since.

I feel it is the coach's responsibility to instruct the players. Parents who attend should be supportive, not negative. Was I wrong to defend the boy and "insult" my father? -- FRUSTRATED LITTLE LEAGUE DAD

DEAR FRUSTRATED: The job of parents and grandparents at children's sporting events is to cheer them on. Your father's remarks were not helpful. They were hurtful to the first baseman's self-esteem. The boy couldn't help but know that he goofed.

Call your father and point out to him that he didn't like being corrected in public -- he got angry and walked home -- so why would he think a young first baseman would appreciate being yelled at by a stranger? Perhaps that will help him view his actions in a different light. If it doesn't, buy him some peanuts and Cracker Jack -- and leave him home.

DEAR ABBY: It's rare nowadays to find nice people willing to help a complete stranger. That's why I want to share this with you:

I live in Cheyenne, Wyo. I was seven months pregnant and was driving alone to Thermopolis, five hours away.

Three hours into my trip, I found myself in a major snowstorm. I couldn't go on and I couldn't turn back, so I left the interstate the first chance I got. The nearest town had only one gas station, one motel and two restaurants. Neither of the restaurants accepted credit cards, and all the rooms at the motel were already booked. I waited with other stranded motorists for the weather to clear. Unfortunately, it just got worse. The highway patrol eventually closed all the roads.

A wonderful couple checked into their room and invited me to share it with them. Then they bought me dinner. They refused to accept anything from me except my profuse thanks.

I never expected to meet people willing to put themselves out for someone they didn't even know. In this age of distrust, it's reassuring to know that there are still wonderful people out there. -- VALERIE GIBSON

DEAR VALERIE: Thank you for sharing your experience. As more and more people have written to me relating random acts of kindness, it is clearly apparent that generosity of spirit is alive and well in our country.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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