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by Abigail Van Buren

Wives Aren't Welcome at Husband's Office Party

DEAR ABBY: Every year, my husband and his co-workers get together for a holiday dinner at a nice restaurant. More than 20 of them participate. Most of the men are married, but most of the women who work there are single. The problem is that wives are not welcome at these parties.

My husband and I have been married two years. He says this is a nice tradition and that I shouldn't make waves about not being invited.

I can't believe the other wives are happy with this tradition, but to my knowledge, none of them openly object to it. Am I wrong to feel that both members of the couple should be invited to social functions? -- RESENTFUL IN SEATTLE

DEAR RESENTFUL: Yes, you are wrong. Your husband is an employee of the company and does not make the rules. Do not make him feel guilty for attending the dinner without you. These occasions are part of the job. There are plenty of other nights when you and your husband can enjoy a holiday dinner at a nice restaurant of your choosing. So please stop giving him heartburn.

DEAR ABBY: There are times when we all need a pick-me-up.

Yesterday I was having a terrible day. It just kept going downhill. I had spent several hours at my grandmother's nursing home, as I do every week. I enjoy being of service, but always leave with mixed emotions.

I made a quick stop at a department store to look for something new to wear. I found a beautiful pale blue dress that was a perfect fit. However, after I paid for it, I noticed that a section of the dress had separated due to some missing stitching. Just my luck. Then I remembered an alteration shop that had recently opened near my home and thought I'd give it a try.

The woman behind the counter admired the dress and assured me it would be no problem to fix. I sat for a few minutes while she mended my dress.

Well, she did more than that, Abby. That kind lady mended my heavy heart. When the dress was done, I grabbed my wallet to pay. She refused the money with a smile and said, "You pay next time" -- even though we both knew I wasn't a regular customer and there could very well never be a next time. Her act of kindness lifted me up when I needed a boost.

This is a reminder to people who may think that one simple act isn't all that monumental. I beg to differ. One simple gesture can turn someone's day around.

We can all do our part to make a gloomy day begin to shine by recognizing acts of kindness when we encounter them. There is a letter in the mail from me to the owners of that alteration shop, with a glowing report about their employee's generosity. -- PASS IT ON, FOLSOM, CALIF.

DEAR PASS IT ON: The lady in the alterations shop was more than a welcome ray of sunshine. She's an astute businesswoman with a flair for public relations. By making her gallant gesture, she assured that when you need alterations in the future, you'll consider her services. And I'll bet you have already mentioned her generosity to some of your friends and family.

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

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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