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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband travels all over the state of Florida as a disc jockey. He provides musical entertainment at weddings, conventions, school dances and corporate events. I recently accompanied him to an evening wedding that was held at an upscale country club.

No sooner had the ceremony begun when a young woman entered, crossed the center aisle and sat down. A moment later, her cell phone began to ring. Instead of turning off the phone, the woman took the call! She got up, walked in front of the videographer, and stood next to my husband and me behind our equipment while speaking loudly to the caller throughout the entire ceremony.

Although countless guests turned around and glared at her, she never once stopped to consider that perhaps her phone conversation was disrupting the bride and groom as they recited their vows, or that her voice would be the only one picked up by the videographer's microphone.

I felt so embarrassed I actually hid behind our equipment in order to avoid the murderous stares from the guests. Only after the ceremony was over did she finally end the call. To add insult to injury, her date arrived right before dinner wearing tennis shoes, shorts and a T-shirt with a nearly naked woman on the back.

Our society seems to have lost touch with any inkling of decent conduct. -- STILL SHOCKED IN FLORIDA

DEAR SHOCKED: How sad that a guest or someone in the wedding party was not assertive enough to escort the woman out of the room. However, since no one was willing to do so, whoever was officiating should have halted the ceremony and firmly instructed her to either end the call or complete it outside.

P.S. It appears she and her date are made for each other.

DEAR ABBY: This is for "Still Bugged in Illinois," whose thoughtful mother gave a bride and groom a gift of $20 (and she hadn't even been invited to the wedding). When the bride opened the envelope, she made a rude remark about the amount of the gift.

I fondly recall a much different response to a similar situation. Before the late Judy Garland married David Rose, a star-studded shower was held at the home of Judy, her mother and sister.

When I arrived and realized that my simple gift couldn't compare with the lavishly wrapped presents I saw, I became embarrassed. I hid my gift behind a potted plant, thinking I could give it to Judy privately after everyone had left the party.

Instead, her butler retrieved my present from behind the plant and added it to the others on the gift table. It was the very first gift Judy opened –- a copper silent butler for which I paid $6.95. It was all I could afford.

Upon opening it, Judy rushed over to me, gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you, Margie -– I love it!" The next gift was a complete portable bar from Joan Crawford, followed by a generous gift from Jimmy Stewart, etc.

"The bigger they are, the more gracious." -- MARGIE STEWART JOHNSON, STUDIO CITY, CALIF.

DEAR MARGIE: A gracious hostess would never humiliate a guest in her home, and Judy Garland was obviously a gracious hostess. Thank you for sharing your story.

P.S. I'm surprised Joan Crawford didn't also give Judy a set of wooden coat hangers.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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