DEAR ABBY: Family vacation season is almost upon us, and I'd like to share an experience that my husband and I will never forget. Several years ago, my husband's family gathered for a reunion at a resort in the Midwest. When we arrived, we found our rented condos well-maintained and spotlessly clean.
While my husband and adventurous 5-year-old son explored the grounds, I put our 14-month-old daughter to bed for a nap and started unpacking.
Next to the Bible in the bedside table drawer -- within easy reach of inquisitive children -- I discovered a handgun. I called the security office and demanded they remove it immediately.
Several hours later, I received a call from Housekeeping indicating there was a problem with our accommodations and that someone would be right over to take care of it. I informed them that I had already found the "problem" and it had been removed by Security. The housekeeper apologized profusely and admitted that the maid had reported the handgun, but Housekeeping had forgotten to remove it. It wasn't until they saw on the hotel registration that young children were also occupying our unit that someone remembered.
Abby, please remind your readers that just because accommodations are clean doesn't mean they are safe. My 5-year-old could just as easily have discovered that weapon. (But the danger could have been something else -- a syringe, a condom or prescription medication.)
I'm happy to say that we had a wonderful vacation and returned home healthy and in one piece. I hope this letter will help others do the same. -- MARION W. ATHEARN, FALL RIVER, MASS.
DEAR MARION: Thank you for a valuable reminder that travelers (especially parents) should make it a top priority to thoroughly check their accommodations (drawers, closets, cupboards) before they unpack.