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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from the bride-to-be who had spina bifida, asking how to get down the aisle gracefully at her wedding without using her walker, I would like to share the following:

I, too, was born with spina bifida, and I, too, suffer from spasms, among other conditions unique to this condition. When my wife and I were married, we had our ceremony with her seated in a chair beside my wheelchair. It went off without a hitch.

Those who attend weddings are usually family and friends. So my advice to that lucky lady is to relax and just be herself -- spasms, walker and all. Everyone expects no less -- or more -- than that. Sign me ... TEXAS FOUR-WHEELER

DEAR TEX: Your advice is terrific, and I hope that the nervous bride-to-be will relax and give it serious consideration. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: A young woman with a physical disability wrote you concerning her worries that she would not be able to walk down the aisle on her wedding day. I recently attended a wedding where the bride had similar concerns. She managed the day in an electric scooter decked with flowers and garlands that matched her lovely dress. Perhaps her solution could be applied here. -- MATT IN ROME, N.Y.

DEAR MATT: I don't see why not -- all it would take is a florist with artistry and ingenuity.

DEAR ABBY: May I suggest another way for "Worried Bride-to-Be" to look at her "disability"?

In the early 1900s, the New York Giants baseball team had a pitcher named Luther H. Taylor. He was a deaf mute who was, in an era of insensitivity, nicknamed "Dummy." Taylor lost a lot of games due to his inability to communicate with his teammates.

John McGraw, the manager of the Giants, was under enormous pressure from the team's owner, the fans and the sportswriters to trade Taylor. Instead, McGraw required the entire Giant team to learn American Sign Language. Once that was accomplished, McGraw used hand signals to lead his team. That's the origin of the hand signals that are used in baseball today.

Rather than be embarrassed about her disability, "Worried" should find a way to use her special abilities. -- STEPHEN REDMOND, M.D., MORGAN HILL, CALIF.

DEAR DR. REDMOND: Thank you for not only a fascinating tidbit of information, but also a healthy helping of food for thought. I love the way you look at life's challenges.

DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law (28) and his fiancee (19) make it a practice during family meals to engage in whispered conversation that involves only the two of them. In addition, they spend parts of the meals passionately deep-kissing and rubbing noses.

Am I wrong to feel this behavior is rude, immature and inappropriate? -- LOSING MY APPETITE IN LA PORTE, IND.

DEAR LOSING MY APPETITE: Not at all. In polite company, whispered conversations that exclude others are considered rude. And tongue should not be eaten at the table unless it has first been thoroughly cooked and properly seasoned.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, 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.)

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