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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandma's Goose Tale Is Strictly for the Birds

DEAR ABBY: I am 87 years old and live in a retirement apartment. Sixteen years ago, you printed a funny letter in your column about a mother's wild goose tale.

Over the years I have entertained a lot of people with that story. Please consider printing it again. Our country could use a good laugh. -- HELEN RODGER, KOKOMO, IND.

DEAR HELEN: You're right. It IS a funny story and worth repeating. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Whenever you mention the poem, "I Had a Mother Who Read to Me," I have to laugh because my mother NEVER read to me. Instead, she'd tell me bedtime stories that were more or less true.

The one I liked best was the one about how she and her cousin Alice tried to make whiskey.

They filled a large crock with water, wheat, oats, grain, raisins, raw potato peelings, and any other garbage they could find. After a couple of weeks, the mixture in the crock smelled so bad my grandmother insisted they get rid of it. Mom and Alice carried the crock down by the river and dumped it on the bank. Naturally, Grandma's geese followed them and gobbled it all up.

A while later, Grandma looked out the window and saw her geese lying about in the yard. She thought they were dead, so she instructed the girls to pluck all the down from the geese and told them as soon as their grandfather got home from the lumber mill, he'd have to bury those dead geese. (The geese were not dead; they were drunk!)

The next morning, the geese were running around the yard stark naked, so Grandma crocheted little jackets for them to wear. That was the last time my mother and her cousin Alice tried to make whiskey. -- JOE EASTMAN, COLORADO SPRINGS

DEAR ABBY: Yesterday, I was afraid of needles, and I was terribly busy, so I didn't donate blood. Today my country has been attacked by terrorists, and my neighbors have been murdered and wounded, so I stood in line for three hours, rolled up my sleeve and donated -- because I'm an American, and that's what we do.

Yesterday, I had too many financial problems of my own to think about giving money to charity. Today, my country has been attacked by terrorists. My neighbors are in need, so I opened my wallet and gave -- because I'm an American, and that's what we do.

Yesterday, I viewed my immigrant neighbors with suspicion, because they looked, dressed and believed differently than I do. Today, I see the same grief in their eyes that I see in my own when I look in the mirror. The United States is their home, too. Today, I put aside my distrust and extended my hand in friendship and solidarity -- because I'm an American, and that's what we do.

We'll pick ourselves up out of the wreckage, and we will rebuild -- because we're Americans, and that's what we do. -- HOPEFUL AND COMMITTED IN CHARLOTTE, N.C.

DEAR HOPEFUL AND COMMITTED: You said it, my friend. Bless you.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds)

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