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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Retirement Puts an End to Sons' Free Ride at Home

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I recently attended a lovely party at a home with two baby grand pianos. One of the guests -- I'll call her "Sophie" -- is an accomplished pianist, and she dearly wanted to sit down and play.

We encouraged her but she refused, stating that the host and hostess might not appreciate having their party interrupted. Should Sophie have asked permission, or would that have created undue pressure on the hostess? -- DAVID IN CUPERTINO, CALIF.

DEAR DAVID: It depends on the hosts. Some would welcome it; others might not. Sophie was correct to refrain from playing the piano without being asked to. It could have, indeed, been disruptive. And if either (or both) of the hosts is a serious musician, many musicians prefer that their instruments not be played by someone else.