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PRAISE FOR FREEDOM'S HEROES

Dear Readers: Today is Memorial Day. Don't forget to take a moment and, regardless of what your religious affiliation may be, offer a prayer for those brave souls who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. Blessed are they all.

Dear Abby: My 30-something girlfriend, "Heidi," is in her first year of business school. She is on a committee to organize the graduation party for students who will graduate next month.

It's going to be an all-night "affair" (good choice of words?), and will be held at a hotel, so the drinkers can stay overnight. Heidi is in charge of reserving a block of rooms, and for the past few weeks has been immersed in every detail of the event.

Heidi thinks there's nothing wrong with attending this graduation party as a member of the committee -- as well as staying overnight. I say it's a recipe for disaster. Your opinion is needed ASAP.

-- Dumbfounded Boyfriend in Nova Scotia
Dear Dumbfounded Boyfriend: Your girlfriend has worked hard to make this event a success, and I don't blame her for wanting to enjoy it. However, you know Heidi better than I do. If she has shown you in the past that she can't be trusted, you can't be blamed for feeling as you do.

P.S. If she has been as faithful as Fido -- YOU have an insecurity problem you had better deal with before you drive Heidi away.

Ceased communication

Dear Abby: "Hurt and Confused in Oregon" didn't know what to make of the fact that her friend of many years suddenly stopped talking to her. You advised that the reason could be that there's something going on in her friend's life that she's not willing to share.

Anyone whose friend stops communicating -- seemingly for no reason -- should ask him- or herself the following questions:

(1) Are you a braggart? Do you boast incessantly about yourself, your family, your abilities, etc.? Maybe your friend got tired of hearing it.

(2) Are YOU the favorite topic of your conversation? Maybe your friend isn't as fascinated by you as you are!

(3) When something good happens to your friend, do you show genuine happiness, or do you exhibit jealousy and resentment?

(4) Do you encourage your friend and build him/her up -- or do you say things to dampen your friend's spirits, thereby bringing that person down?

Sometimes people say things that alienate others without realizing they are doing so. I speak from experience, Abby.

-- Had Enough
Dear Had Enough: There is always room for improvement. This may be a time when introspection is called for. If one's friends are bailing, an honest look in the mirror may be in order.

Adieu, godchildren

Dear Abby: At what age can one relinquish the role of godparent? My godchildren are now adults, and I simply cannot afford to keep doling out gifts. They never phone or visit; we have little contact unless I initiate it. Frankly, I'd like to hang up my title and retire gracefully. What is the etiquette on this?

-- No Fairy Godmother in Washington State
Dear No Fairy Godmother: There is no law that compels you to bestow gifts from the cradle to the grave -- their cradle and your grave. Send the grown "godchildren" a lovely card and your heartfelt good wishes.

P.S. I'll bet you get a phone call!

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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