Dear Abby: My husband served in Vietnam and proudly wears a Vietnam veteran insignia on his jacket or cap everywhere he goes. People approach him all the time and thank him for his service, which is wonderful. The big question is, how should he respond? He isn't quite sure what to say back to them -- "You're welcome"? "It was my honor to serve"? "Thank you for caring"?
I'm not sure of the right response, either. So I told my husband I'd ask you. What's the proper thing to say when someone is kind enough to take a minute and say thanks?
-- Vet's Wife in Phoenix
Dear Vet's Wife: I'm sure being thanked for his service in Vietnam is music to your husband's ears. When members of the military returned from Vietnam, many of them were treated with hostility. A proper response when someone thanks him for his service would be any of those you offered, or a simple, "Thanks for saying that. I appreciate it."
Using a vacation home
Dear Abby: My husband and I have dear friends who live in another country. They also have a vacation home in a very nice part of the U.S. They have often invited us to use their vacation place while they're away, since it stands empty 11 months of the year.
I have hesitated in the past because I know we would use utilities and it would be of some expense to them. They are insistent that they will not let us pay for the use.
We would love to spend some time there. Is there anything we could do to show our appreciation without paying them?
-- Appreciative, But ...
Dear Appreciative: Yes. After spending time in their vacation home, write a letter thanking them and describing the experience. Consider sending an album of photos you took during your vacation there, or buy a gift for their vacation home. That way you will have repaid them without "paying" them.