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by Abigail Van Buren

Neighbor Irritated by Noise Gets Earful From Angry Mom

DEAR ABBY: I have a 16-year-old son, "Jordy." He has a lot of guy friends who occasionally sleep over on weekends, listening to CDs and playing on the computer. They are all good kids. They talk to me and are respectful of the house.

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday night at about 11 p.m., Jordy and three other guys were in the driveway playing basketball. A neighbor called the police to complain about the noise. Two officers showed up and spoke to the boys. The kids were quick to apologize. The police never spoke to me -- I was in the house with the door open, but was unaware of the incident.

I was angry that a neighbor would call the police before talking to me or the boys first. Eventually, I found out which neighbor made the call; I confronted him. Now he's put out with me for "making a big deal" out of the fact that the cops were called.

Jordy and his friends never meant to cause trouble. They were having fun and got carried away with their laughter. The arrival of the squad car embarrassed them.

Frankly, I'm glad I can provide a safe place for them to hang out, so they're not wandering around town being bored.

I wish neighbors would be just that -- neighbors. I thought we were supposed to look out for each other. I'm trying to let this go, but I won't be satisfied until that neighbor apologizes to Jordy and his friends. Am I right, Abby? -- PITMAN, N.J., MOM

DEAR MOM: I don't know your neighbor; however, it is possible he is the kind of person who dislikes confrontation -- and that's why the police were called. Police routinely investigate noise complaints. The fact they stopped by isn't going to mar anyone's record.

It's unfortunate that the neighbor didn't complain to you or the boys first, but I don't think an apology is called for. Now that you know you have a noise-sensitive neighbor, have the boys in the house by 10 p.m., or ask him to let you know when the boys are too loud.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl who learned something very special last holiday season. I learned there's more to Christmas than just getting gifts -- it's also GIVING gifts. Some families can't afford to give their kids presents.

My family participated in a program through my mom's work called Adopt-a-Family. Through this program, you receive a piece of paper with the name and address of a needy family. There is also a list of some items that they want or need. We bought gifts for a mother and her two sons who are 6 and 7.

Instead of requesting DVD players and computer games, these kids wanted warm clothes and board games. Those little boys wanted things that are practical. The mother also listed items like towels, washcloths, dishes and a toaster.

If more families quit thinking about what they want and gave more thought to what others need, they could also help a needy family around Christmastime and other times. If they do, it will make their Christmas a whole lot better! -- WANTING TO HELP IN OREGON

DEAR WANTING TO HELP: That's a terrific idea. Families, churches and businesses who would like to participate in such a program should contact the local department of social services or local churches and get the names of needy families. Blessed are those who give from the heart -- and bless you for a wonderful suggestion.

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