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by Abigail Van Buren

Boyfriend's Valentine Roses Got a Joyful Second Bloom

DEAR ABBY: "Grinched in Iowa" (April 14) was upset that his girlfriend gave his Valentine roses to a stranger after he spent more than $82 on them. Several years ago, when my father was ill with cancer, he sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my mother. When I saw them, I commented on how pretty they were and, half-jokingly, asked if they wanted to make another person as happy as they had made my mom. I explained that my friend Patty was having a hard time coping with the fact her dad and mother-in-law both had cancer. My parents said, "Take them!"

Patty burst into tears when she saw me arrive with the flowers. I think "Grinched" should quit being such a grouch and be thankful for having a compassionate, caring girlfriend. -- SHELLEY IN MUSKEGON, MICH.

DEAR SHELLEY: Thank you for reminding me to "smell the roses." While I sympathized, in part, with "Grinched," readers' responses heavily favored his girlfriend. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Whether that guy spent $8 or $82, the flowers will die in a week. Sending flowers is an expression of love, and it is the ACT that brings joy to the recipient. Whether the bouquet or the memory of his generosity continues to bring joy is immaterial. He should be thrilled to have a girlfriend who is so full of love and joy she wanted to share that feeling and bring the same happiness to another couple.

"Grinch's" girlfriend should now decide if she wants to be with a guy who is more concerned about the money than the sentiment. -- PEEVED WITH HIM IN CANADA

DEAR ABBY: "Grinched's" girlfriend is too dumb to have thought about what you suggested. ("She could have given the stranger one or two of the roses ...") He should drop her quicker than petals drop from a rose! -- JON IN ST. PAUL, MINN.

DEAR ABBY: You should have set "Grinched" straight instead of coddling him. If he had any brains he would have married his girlfriend on the spot. Any woman who is so selfless she would give her gift to another person in need is someone he should hang onto and never let go. Perhaps he is too blind and emotionally insecure to realize this loving woman would treat HIM the same way. -- RANDY IN TROY, MICH.

DEAR ABBY: Maybe she was trying to tell him she did not want any roses. Could it be time for a ring? -- JILL IN EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR ABBY: "Grinched's" gift did what it was supposed to do -- show his girlfriend he cared. When the roses were passed along to another person, his gift benefited three people instead of just one. In this day and age, we need more kindness. -- LISA IN AKRON, OHIO

DEAR ABBY: The roses had already served their purpose. The girlfriend was able to see how much he cared for her, as were her co-workers. (Why else would he send them to her at work?) Once she took them home, the roses would have sat in a vase until it was time to throw them out. Instead, they brought joy a second time, and she proved herself to be a compassionate, sensitive person who knew how to embrace the true spirit of Valentine's Day. -- MAUREEN IN MANCHESTER, N.H.

DEAR ABBY: Roses: $82. Groceries: $37. A relationship with someone who would reach out with concern to someone in need: Priceless! -- HARLEY IN LAS CRUCES, N.M.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)