Dear Ann Landers: After reading your column about obese people traveling on airplanes, I knew I had to write. Our second son, now 18, has always been large -- not obese, just large. When "John" tried to sign up for football, we were told he couldn't play because he was too big. (How can one be too big for football?) He wasn't fat, but he was a head taller than most of his classmates and weighed more. The league had a special division for undersize children, but nothing for the "oversize." He wasn't allowed to move into an older age category because school officials said it wasn't safe.
John played high school football and did well. Last June, he was accepted by the West Point Military Academy, where he will continue to play. He just made their maximum weight allowance, which is 285 pounds.
For the long flight from California to New York, we bought John a first-class ticket so he would have plenty of room. We figured it was the least we could do, since we will not have to pay for his education. He said it was great. Maybe all obese people should consider going first class. It's cheaper than two seats in coach, and they and their seatmates will be a lot more comfortable.
-- San Jose, Calif.
Dear San Jose: Lucky John, but not everyone can afford first class. And congratulations on having a son who made it to West Point. They take only the cream of the crop. And now, if he can help West Point beat Annapolis, that will be a super achievement.
Even unto death
Dear Ann Landers: I'm writing to warn others about unsigned contracts. I wish someone had warned me. This is what happened:
In August 1998, I paid $450 to reserve a reception hall for our 50th wedding anniversary, which was in June 1999. On Jan. 20, 1999, my husband passed away. I phoned the reception hall immediately, told them what had happened and requested a refund. This was a good six months before the date. They told me they normally do not refund down payments, and weren't sure what could be done in case of death. They promised to get back to me.
Weeks passed, and I heard nothing, so I sent a letter. They then called and said if the hall was rented by someone else on that day, I might be able to get my money back. It is now three months past the date, and I have not been contacted by anyone, so I guess that means I won't be getting a refund.
Please warn your readers who reserve months in advance to ask, "What happens in case of death?" And get it in writing.
-- Maxine in Burnsville, Minn.
Dear Maxine: Here's your letter, with my thanks for your help in educating millions of readers. In my opinion, you were not treated very generously. Meanwhile, the name of your town, Burnsville, is strangely appropriate.
Dear Ann Landers: Someone sent me this little poem, and I thought you might want to share it with your readers. It's a takeoff on the Serenity Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous.
-- A Princeton Pal
Dear Prince: Thanks for being a Prince of a pal. Your prayer is a good one, and I'm pleased to round off my Saturday with this laugh for the day:
God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do,
And the eyesight to tell the difference.