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by Abigail Van Buren

Farmer's Wife Finds Letter That's Too Hot to Handle

DEAR ABBY: I am in a predicament! I don't know what to do. We live on a farm. Last night after the children were asleep, I went out to the barn and found my husband hurrying to put away a mysterious bag. I asked him what he was doing. He said, "Nothing, just going through some old things." When we returned to the house together, he had some old photos of his ex-wife he said he was giving to her sister. I didn't mind. I felt that at least he was getting rid of them.

This morning, after the kids went to school, my curiosity got the best of me. I opened the bag and found some old family photographs and collectibles. Underneath, I found an envelope with his name on it. I opened it and found a letter written by his ex-wife. It wasn't an ordinary love letter -- it was a sexual fantasy.

The contents of the letter are disgusting. Now I don't know if I should destroy it, confront him, or put it back and try to forget I ever saw it. I'm afraid if I mention it he'll get angry that I snooped through his private things. If I destroy it, he will get really angry. If I leave it, I'm afraid he will read it from time to time, and I'LL be angry all over again. I wish I hadn't found it.

Abby, I love my husband and have never had any reason not to trust him, but after finding that letter, I don't know what to do. -- THE FARMER'S SECOND WIFE

DEAR WIFE: Under no circumstances should you be the one to destroy the letter. Tell your husband what you did and offer him an apology for snooping. When you tell him how upsetting the contents of the letter were, he may volunteer to get rid of it. However, the decision should be his. And if he wants to keep it, he won't be the first man (or woman) to keep a souvenir of a dead romance.

DEAR ABBY: So many people can't seem to get off the couch and into an exercise program. May I offer the following "Exercise Program for Lazy People"?

-- Jumping to conclusions

-- Beating around the bush

-- Climbing the walls

-- Passing the buck

-- Dragging my heels

-- Pushing my luck

-- Making mountains out of molehills

-- Hitting the nail on the head

-- Running around in circles

-- Climbing the ladder of success

-- Opening a can of worms

-- Starting the ball rolling

-- Jumping on the bandwagon

-- Picking up the pieces

-- Going over the edge

-- ANN E. FINK, ORANGE CITY, FLA.

DEAR ANN: What I like best about your "exercises" is they require no particular talent and no expensive equipment. However, my favorite wasn't listed: Putting your foot in your mouth.

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

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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