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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I was inspired by the "Old-Timer's Bedtime" poem about the elderly couple who slept in their birthday suits. It inspired me to share what happened to me:

The poem about the couple

Sleeping in the nude

Was really quite revealing

And it put me in the mood.

I talked about it to my wife

And we tried it, bit by bit --

But with "branches entwined," we quickly saw

Our legs just didn't fit.

And then what happened, Abby,

Is something that we all dread --

Our branches got so tangled

That we fell right out of bed!



I don't doubt for a minute

What you've said to me is true --

I only hope the two of you

weren't bruised all black and blue.

I offer this advice to you --

And take it, please, I plead.

To you and your beloved --

Don't try everything you read!

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law has two family pictures of my husband and his ex-wife hanging on their living room wall. We have been married for nearly three years and have a 2-year-old daughter. She is starting to look at the pictures. We would prefer that she not find out by looking at pictures that her father was married before. (There were no children from the previous marriage.)

I told my husband that I would like the photos to come down. He agrees, but his family doesn't deal well with "family dynamics." He still has not told his parents how I feel about the photos, and we are scheduled to visit them again next month. I trust your advice. -- LOOKING FOR HELP IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR LOOKING FOR HELP: Pick up the phone and explain to your in-laws that your young daughter is old enough to notice her father with another woman in the photos -- but too young to understand prior marriages. That's a reasonable explanation to justify your request that the pictures be taken down -- at least when you're visiting.

DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of the bride and I just made a whopper of a mistake. When we were planning the wedding, the groom's parents gave me an "A" and a "B" guest list. After budgeting carefully, we realized we could only afford to invite guests on the "A" list. Unfortunately, I mistakenly sent "save the date" cards to everyone on the "B" list.

Is there any way I can undo the damage I've done? I feel terrible about it. -- GUILTY MOTHER OF THE BRIDE IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR GUILTY M-O-B: There is no graceful way to "take back" the implied invitations without offending people. Either take out a loan or downsize the reception to accommodate everyone.

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.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600