DEAR ABBY: I have seen letters in your column from people upset that their guests don't help them after dinner. I am the opposite. I held onto a poem you printed years ago and had it perma-plaqued and posted on a kitchen cabinet.
For more than 20 years, my husband and I hosted a dinner every Sunday after church. I set the table for 10, but we often had more. When guests offered to help, I handed them a copy of that poem. Could you print it again for your readers? -- FAITHFUL FOLLOWER IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR FOLLOWER: Gladly. That poem has been requested many times over the years. It resonates with hosts who are territorial about their space when entertaining. It is included in my booklet "Keepers," which is a collection of poems, essays and letters readers have told me they clipped and saved to reread until they were yellowed with age and fell apart. You were clever to perma-plaque yours. "Keepers" is both witty and philosophical. It covers many subjects including children, parenting, animals, aging, death, forgiveness and more. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
It's a quick and easy read as well as an inexpensive gift for newlyweds, pet lovers, new parents and anyone grieving or recovering from an illness.
STAY OUT OF MY KITCHEN by Susan Sawyer
Please stay away from my kitchen
From my dishwashing, cooking and such;
You were kind to have offered to pitch in
But thanks, no, thank you so much!
Please don't think me ungracious
When I ask that you leave me alone;
For my kitchen's not any too spacious
And my routine is strictly my own.
Tell you what: You stay out of my kitchen
With its sodden, hot, lackluster lures --
When you're here, stay out of my kitchen
And I promise to stay out of yours!