DEAR ABBY: My father passed away recently. Flowers and plants were sent to the funeral home. After the funeral mass, the flowers were sent to the cemetery for the gravesite services. Afterward, I was asked to go to the funeral home to pick them up.
When I arrived, I saw my sister-in-law taking the plant her employer had sent into her car. She said it was HER plant. The next day, my other sister-in-law went to my mother's house to retrieve the plant HER company had sent.
Abby, I have never heard of this. I thought that because the flowers and plants had been sent to my mother, it should be up to her to decide whether or not she wants to distribute them. After all, she's the one suffering the greatest loss. What is the proper procedure for plants to be distributed after a funeral? -- CHRISTINE IN MISSOURI
DEAR CHRISTINE: The plants should be shared. Your mother is not the only person who is grieving. Your sisters-in-law are married to the sons of the deceased, so they should have the plants their employers sent to the funeral.
When there are more flowers and plants than the family can enjoy, people often have them delivered to nursing homes or homes for the elderly or disabled, where they can lend a burst of color and good cheer.
P.S. Thank-yous to the senders should be sent by your sisters-in-law for the plants they took.
DEAR ABBY: It seems strange to write to you, but I'd like to share this story about how small acts of kindness can multiply.
On a dark, miserable afternoon, I was out grocery shopping. The woman in line in front of me had two small children and two full carts of groceries. When all her bags were loaded, she began frantically searching in her purse for her car keys. When she couldn't find them, she realized that, in her haste, she had locked them inside her car. I asked if I could drive her home to get a spare key and she agreed.
I helped her into her house with her bags of groceries, then drove them all back to the store for her car. "How can I ever thank you?" she asked. My reply was, "No thanks are needed; just pass it on."
Two weeks later, I was at a party when a couple walked into the living room and the woman excitedly said, "There she is!" It was the woman from the market. She rushed over and proceeded to tell everyone how we met.
Then she said she'd had her chance to "pass it on." I asked what she told the person who had thanked HER, and she said, "I said what you did, 'No thanks are needed -- pass it on!'"
Small kindnesses bring big rewards. If anyone has been the recipient of an act of kindness, remember to pass it on. It's the Golden Rule.
Thanks, Dear Abby -- you "pass on" kindness with each column you write. -- LIVING THE GOLDEN RULE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR LIVING THE GOLDEN RULE: I am a firm believer in passing it on and have long shared that philosophy with friends. However, regardless of how long you preach, the best sermon is a good example.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)