DEAR ABBY: I am a newly hired airport security screener with the Transportation Security Administration. Since many of your readers will travel by air this holiday season, I would like to encourage all of them to visit the TSA's Web site at: www.TSA.gov. This site provides a complete list of what passengers are NOT allowed to take on board in their carry-on luggage. It is important to know that many items that cannot be brought into the cabin ARE allowed in the cargo hold.
One of my favorite travel tips comes from frequent fliers. They have stopped using traditional shaving kits and cosmetic bags and instead put their toiletries in clear, resealable freezer bags. When searching a suitcase, the transparent baggies allow me to easily determine if someone has any prohibited items -- and it means I don't have to handle the traveler's possessions. One woman even packed her nylons and underwear in plastic bags. It enabled me to adequately "crush and feel" for security purposes without having to paw through her undergarments.
Thanks for getting the word out, Abby. Airline passengers can save themselves (and us) a lot of time by "packing smart." -- MARGARET MEYERS, MERION STATION, PA.
DEAR MARGARET: Excellent advice. The quicker and more efficiently travelers can pass through airport security, the safer we'll all be.
DEAR ABBY: Last December you ran a letter in your column from "Feeling Like the Grinch." The writer complained about an elderly neighbor coming over on Christmas morning as gifts were being opened. Let me tell you what happened to us.
When the first grandchild in our family was about 3, my brother reluctantly informed my husband and me that he and his wife wanted to keep Christmas morning "private," and we should discontinue the family tradition of being together at their home for Santa Claus, etc.
At the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, we received an S.O.S. phone call asking us to please forgive them and to get over there FAST! They said when their little boy woke up and walked into the living room, he plopped himself down on the sofa, crying, "Some Christmas -- nobody's HERE!"
Abby, from a child's perspective, sharing can be the whole enchilada. -- DOTING AUNT IN GEORGIA
DEAR DOTING AUNT: From the mouths of babes ... The spirit of Christmas is all about sharing. How nice that someone in that family understood it before it was too late.
DEAR ABBY: My father passed away recently. A few years back, my daughter gave both her grandparents a personal planning guide to record their individual wishes in making final arrangements. Dad listed exactly how he wanted to be dressed (including wearing his glasses), the hymns he would like sung, the people he had chosen as his pallbearers and the designated stipend for each. He also stated where he kept the deed to the cemetery lots, as well as other important documents we needed after his death.
Abby, it was a blessing to be able to give my father exactly what he wanted. I hope every person reading this will follow suit. It is by far the wisest way one can best serve his or her loved ones. -- CAROLYN SALVITTI, AUSTIN, TEXAS
DEAR CAROLYN: Your letter carries an important reminder. The only way to be sure your end-of-life wishes are carried out is to spell them out, orally and in writing. Your father was a wise man.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600