DEAR ABBY: I read the letter today about the lady who warned about drinking and cooking at the same time, because she fell asleep and almost burned the house down.
Ever since I was a child, my mother told me about how my great-grandfather, Charles Gabriel, would write hymns along with his good friend, Samuel Clemens. They would sit at the same table and share a bottle of gin between them while they created their celebrated masterpieces.
My mother received royalties from his saintly work until her death.
Today I do most of my creative work in the kitchen while drinking. I'm not driving. I usually have some beautiful music in the background, and never once have I "fallen asleep" like "Karen in Tampa" did. I enjoy every minute I spend in the kitchen, and so do those who join us at our dinner table.
Please don't give responsible drinkers a black eye. Just think what turn our American literature would have taken if we had removed that bottle of gin from Mark Twain's table 120 years ago! –- ONE OF A LONG LINE OF DRINKERS
DEAR DRINKER: ... and Dashiell Hammett's and Dorothy Parker's and F. Scott Fitzgerald's, to name a celebrated few. Some of our gifted writers might have been "less entertaining," but they would have lived longer.
DEAR ABBY: You mentioned obsessive-compulsive disorder in your answer to the wife of the farmer who hoards useless objects in their cluttered home. You told your readers that help was available.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by fearful and repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and senseless rituals (compulsions) that temporarily reduce the fearful thoughts. Hoarding is one of several forms of OCD. Other forms include contamination obsessions and washing or cleaning compulsions, persistent doubts, such as whether or not one has locked the door, and the urge to count, order or "even up" objects.
Please let your readers know that the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation is a great resource. The national OC Foundation and many local chapters exist to educate people about this treatable neurological disorder; to help them locate qualified professionals in their area; and to give people the information and support they need to manage their OC symptoms so they can lead happy, productive lives.
Abby, people can contact the national OC Foundation at (203) 315-2190, or at Web site: www.ocfoundation.org. Readers will be referred to local groups across the United States. –- SUSAN A. RICHMAN, PRESIDENT, METRO CHICAGO OC FOUNDATION
DEAR SUSAN: Thank you for your helpful letter. An estimated 5 million to 6 million people suffer from this problem. I'm sure they and their families will be relieved to know you are there for them.
DEAR ABBY: After reading the article about the Easter lily causing the death of a cat, I thought I had better write to you.
Two years ago during our Easter dinner celebration, we moved our Easter lily to make room for some guests. We relocated it too close to our cockatiel, and after he nibbled some of the petals, we later found him dead.
So, Abby, Easter lilies aren't safe for birds either. -- MARGARET IN TUCSON
DEAR MARGARET: What a sad story. Perhaps the safest place for the Easter lily was on the poor little creature's grave. Bird lovers, be warned.
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 $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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