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by Abigail Van Buren

Dad Misses Kisses He Once Shared With His Young Sons

DEAR ABBY: I'm an active senior citizen, very involved in my community. Because I understand how important it is to stay technologically up-to-date and not be buried in "the way it was," I use a cell phone and am somewhat computer literate. But I have reached my limit of patience with the extreme dependence on cell phones on the part of my family as well as others.

It's increasingly hard to have a simple visit or dinner without constant interruption, to the point of rudeness. What has happened to us that we can't spend time together without injecting an "Oops! Need to take this call ..."

Abby, how about making a helpful list of courtesy rules to share with your readers? -- GRANDMA JOY IN RICHLAND, MISS.

DEAR GRANDMA JOY: There is really just one "rule," and it's longstanding: When carrying on a conversation -- or sharing a meal -- give your companion your undivided attention. Taking a phone call and allowing yourself to be interrupted sends a message that the person you are with is less important than the caller.

The only exceptions to this I can think of would be an emergency call from a family member, baby-sitter or employer -- or if the person being called was a doctor. Or bail bondsman.