DEAR READERS: Here it is, St. Valentine's Day again.
Some years ago, when I was less savvy about equal rights for women, I unabashedly wrote a St. Valentine's column on "how to keep your man happy." I called it the Ten Commandments for Women - and soon it was followed by a Ten Commandments for Men.Then an early feminist, Mandy Stillman of Milwaukee, wrote, demanding equality for the sexes and insisting that there should be only one set of commandments for both genders. Well, Stillman won - and here they are:TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE
Put your mate before your mother, your father, your son and your daughter, for your mate is your lifelong companion.
Do not abuse your body with excessive food, tobacco or drink, so that your life may be long and healthy, in the presence of those you love.
Do not permit your business or your hobby to make you a stranger to your children, for the most precious gift a parent can give his or her family is time.
Do not forget that cleanliness is a virtue.
Do not make your mate a beggar, but willingly share with him or her your worldly goods.
Remember to say, "I love you." For even though your love may be constant, your mate yearns to hear those words.
Remember always that the approval of your mate is worth more than the admiring glances of a hundred strangers, so remain faithful and loyal to your mate, and forsake all others.
Keep your home in good repair, for out of it come the joys of old age.
Forgive with grace. For who among us does not need to be forgiven?
Honor the Lord your God all the days of your life, and your children will grow up and bless you.
DEAR ABBY: I am in my late 60s and have medical problems that dictate that I move on to whatever follows life in the very near future. But this letter is not a letter of sorrow. It is a celebration of life and all that it offers to us.
I have had the singular honor of feeding oats to the milkman's horse. I have spent lazy summer days wading in the creek and catching crayfish. I have had my knuckles rapped by the teacher for talking too much in class. I have seen days during the Depression when, as hard as they tried, my parents could not provide us with the best of food or clothing. I have been blessed with good parents who cared. I have been to war and seen men die. I have had the wild times of my late teens and 20s. I have watched my children, and their children, grow - and I am proud of them. And I have had a wonderful wife to share the good times and the bad.
When I check out of this world, whoever takes my place had better do it right. It has been a darn good place, and I don't want it fouled up. That doesn't mean not making mistakes. I have done a lot of things right in my life, but I probably did a lot more things wrong. I don't regret any of them; I've learned a lot from my mistakes. I've learned that happiness does not come in a bottle, a pill or a needle. It comes from friends and family who believe in you. I have loved and I have known love. Sign me . . . LUCKY IN PHOENIX
Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)