DEAR ABBY: How is a great-grandmother supposed to feel when her great-grandchild calls to tell her he has a child who was born out of wedlock?
The father is 18 and the mother is 16. Both are school dropouts, no jobs and no place to call home.
I do not resent the baby. It did not ask to be born. But I do resent the idea of bringing an innocent child into the world out of wedlock.
My great-grandchild was baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church, but once he got out of our sight, he strayed and thinks nothing of "shacking up."
I don't care to have the baby's mother come to visit us, but I cannot turn them away if they come to my door. Please respond, before they call to say they're coming. -- DISGUSTED IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR DISGUSTED: Your feelings are understandable and you are entitled to them. However, being kind and friendly doesn't mean you have to approve. You are under no obligation to invite them to your home -- but if they show up, be charitable. They need all the kindness they can get.
DEAR ABBY: While you're on the subject of pantyhose, this story may win the blue ribbon.
Fifteen years ago, we rented a sailing yawl with several friends to see the sights of the San Juan Islands in Washington state. When we arrived in Friday Harbor, my cousin Dave, an ingenious chemical engineer, bought several pair of cheap pantyhose at the local drugstore. When we asked why, he said mysteriously, "You'll see."
A few days later, we were moored in a shallow harbor off one of the islands. David had been fishing earlier that week and had saved some fish guts and heads. He stuffed them into the toes of the pantyhose, tied the waist to a rope, and lowered the rope into the calm waters until the pantyhose and bait hit the bottom. Fifteen minutes later, he pulled the rope up -- and there were several crabs dangling from the pantyhose. Apparently the claws of the crab caught in the mesh of the hosiery and they couldn't free themselves! We grabbed a colander and scooped crabs onto the deck every 15 minutes until we had reached our limit. After checking for correct size and gender, we kept the legal ones, boiled and cleaned them, and had a Crab Louie feast for dinner. Leave it to an engineer to figure out the most compact crab trap for seafood lovers. -- ELAINE JACOBS, TACOMA, WASH.
DEAR ELAINE: That was ingenious! And if you also have an appetite for catfish, read on:
DEAR ABBY: The letter from the lady who was on the road in an RV in Arizona prompts my own. They had a broken fan belt on their engine and a truck driver repaired it temporarily with a pair of pantyhose. The story reminded me of an experience we had years ago on a family camping and fishing trip.
When we got to the river, we discovered the men had forgotten to bring their net to catch minnows for bait. Well, sometimes a person has to get inventive. I went into the camper and came out with a pair of pantyhose. My son snapped a branch from a tree and attached the pantyhose to it. It made a first-class minnow net. Our fishermen got a pantyhose full of minnows, which attracted lots of delicious catfish. -- MARY THOMPSON, WATHENA, KAN.
DEAR MARY: Now that's one heck of a fish story if I ever heard one.
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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