DEAR ABBY: We live in earthquake country, and my family has always been prepared for any emergency that may occur. We have a large area in our basement containing bedding, clothing, food, water and medical supplies for a family of four.
We recently experienced a rather alarming tremor, and my neighbor called to express her fright. When I told her we were prepared for emergencies, she replied, "Well, great! Now we'll know where to come just in case."
Abby, how could I have answered her without being insulting? Surely neighbors should not be responsible for the welfare of others if they are capable of providing for themselves. -- SHOOK IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR SHOOK: You could have told your neighbor that in the event of a serious emergency, you and your family might be unable to provide for guests -- and if she hasn't already done so, she should see that her family is also prepared. It would have been an honest response, and also good advice.