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by Abigail Van Buren

Clingy Couple Are Too Close for Grandmother's Comfort

DEAR ABBY: How do you feel about a granddaughter who brings her fiance to dinner and then throughout the evening lies close to him on the sofa, caresses him, and can't keep her hands off him, apparently forgetting there are others present in the room?

Her parents seemed unconcerned, but I was shocked that they would display such behavior in front of so many people. I am sad that they showed her grandfather and me so little respect. Please respond. -- FLABBERGASTED IN VIRGINIA

DEAR FLABBERGASTED: Don't take it personally. I'm sure no disrespect was intended. People can't be expected to know what they haven't been told -- and obviously your granddaughter hasn't been told that intimate displays of affection make other people uncomfortable.

If you invite the young lovers to dinner, speak up and tell your granddaughter that while you're pleased that she's head-over-heels in love, you would prefer she keep both feet on the floor while she's at your house.

DEAR ABBY: Two days after Thanksgiving, my next-door neighbor's house burned to the ground. They had gone 10 miles away to spend the night with their children and grandchildren. We didn't know our neighbors well enough to know anyone to contact in case of emergency, although they know we are here for them and vice versa.

Abby, please urge people to think about possible emergencies and to plan ahead of time for them. It was more than two hours before these people could be located, and by then they had lost everything.

I only wish I had asked them for an emergency number ahead of time. You can be sure we will be giving a contact number to a few of our closest neighbors if we go away. -- SORRY WE WERE TOO LATE, McALESTER, OKLA.

DEAR SORRY: Not only should travelers make sure they can be reached in case of an emergency -- such as damage to property or a sudden illness or death in the family -- they should carry with them the name and phone number of someone to be contacted in case something happens to them while they're away.

DEAR ABBY (a.k.a. Pauline Phillips and Jeanne Phillips):

In 1957, Time magazine called Dear Abby "the fastest rising star in the field of journalism." Ever since, Dear Abby has symbolized a caring heart, a fountain of commonsense wisdom, and a solace to people who need a trusted friend in whom to confide. It is why you graced the radio waves for so long, and why 95 million people read you and learn from you in 1,250 newspapers every day.

For 45 years, you have fulfilled that early promise. In recognition of your achievement, on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, a Dear Abby "star" will be placed in front of the beautiful and historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Your star will shine more brightly than ever from the world's most famous boulevard of brightly shining stars. You have earned it and deserve this tribute from all of us who love you. -- JOHNNY GRANT, HONORARY MAYOR OF HOLLYWOOD

DEAR JOHNNY: I'm over the moon about the star! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Booklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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