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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Over the years, you have recommended to readers that they clip one of your columns and show it to a particular person who may need to be made aware of some character flaw.

May I ask that you recommend to your readers that they not send these columns anonymously?

A dear friend of mine received a column of yours by mail with no return address or postmark. My friend was very hurt because she didn't feel the column applied to her -- and after having read it, I agree with her.

After receiving that column, she has missed at least one social event because she was afraid of offending someone. It is very sad.

I understand that in some circumstances, someone might think an anonymous note is in order, but I urge your readers to stop and think before sending one. The recipient is placed in the awkward position of knowing that someone she knows is annoyed with her, but doesn't know who. -- SCARLETT IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR SCARLETT: When I tell people to "clip this column and share it" with someone, what I have in mind is a face-to-face conversation -- using the column as a tactful way of showing that the breach of etiquette is common. For someone to send it anonymously is cowardly, unkind and cruel. For shame.

DEAR ABBY: I got chills when I read the letter from Dave Brown about how he found a brand-new 2001 penny in his car.

That very day I, too, found a brand-new shiny 2001 penny in my truck. I thought of my dad the instant I saw it. He has been gone more than 12 years. I still have it; I carry it in my wallet. -- B.D., ORANGE, CALIF.

DEAR B.D.: I'm glad the discovery of a penny makes "cents" to you. Since you find it comforting -- that's terrific. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I loved the stories about the pennies from heaven. To my chagrin, my late husband would pick up any and all loose change he found on the ground, proclaiming himself to someday be rich because of what others threw away. Even if it was just one penny he would stop, bend over and pick it up. He has been gone just over a year, and whenever I saw a coin on the ground I would think of him and be a bit sad.

No more! After reading your interpretation of what these coins could mean, I smile each and every time I see a shiny penny. Thank you, Abby, for taking a sad memory and turning it into a happy one. -- RICHER BECAUSE OF PENNIES FROM HEAVEN

DEAR RICHER: You're welcome. The "pennies from heaven" letters were a subject that many people have taken to heart and commented upon. I catch myself singing "... and if it keeps on thundering, don't run under a tree, there'll be pennies from heaven for you and for me" in the mornings when I'm taking my shower. (The acoustics are great in there.) Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Recent letters in your column about the symbolism of finding pennies prompt my own.

I am 74 years old. Every time I see a penny on the ground I bend down to pick it up and say to myself, "99 more bends and I'll have a buck!" -- OL' MAN TOM IN LONG ISLAND, N.Y.

DEAR OL' MAN TOM: You are indeed penny-wise. However, if you crouch down to pick up a dollar's worth of pennies, you won't have to spend them on medication to relieve the pain in your lower back you'll get from bending.

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

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 $7.90 ($9 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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