DEAR ABBY: Is it true that if a man or woman has lost a family member in war, that person is automatically exempt from active duty should a war break out?

Please clarify this in your column, as we are having a small war in our household over this question. - BATTLING IN BOSTONDEAR BATTLING: Hold your fire! According to the Public Affairs Office of the Department of the Army, if a member of the armed services has lost an immediate family member (father, mother, brother, sister or child) in a DESIGNATED hostile-fire or imminent-danger area (the loss may be due to death, missing in action, or from a 100 percent physical or mental disability), the service person can apply for exemption. It is not "automatic."

The service member initiates action by contacting his company commander. For an immediate family member to make application, a request must be made in writing to: HQDA, DAPC-EPO-C, Alexandria, VA 22331-0400. And the service member may waive a request initiated by an immediate family member and still serve in the hostile-fire area.

DEAR ABBY: Some time ago, you had a letter about a woman who had left her dentures on a counter of a large department store in Washington state. The finders tracked her down and shipped the dentures to her, but she never bothered to write a note of thanks. Well, you ain't heard nuthin' yet:

I am the manager of a fine restaurant in Atlanta that caters to conventioneers. After a busy evening, one of our busboys turned in an envelope containing $465 in cash and a check stub with nothing but the name of a New York university and "travel advance" printed on the envelope. The busboy, who makes $3.35 an hour, turned the money over to me, since I was the manager on duty, and I put it in the safe. The next day, I phoned the university in New York and explained the situation.

The next day, the woman who had lost the envelope came in to claim the $465. She gushed her thanks saying, "I'm from New York and I'm not used to this kind of honesty." She asked for the name of our supervisor so she could write a letter of thanks and praise for the busboy who had turned it in. I gave her the information, hoping she would reward the busboy with a little something.

Not only did he receive nothing - not even a note - she did not write to our supervisor. I was flabbergasted. The busboy is young, and I can only hope he doesn't go through the rest of his life thinking honesty stinks. - NO NAME, PLEASE

DEAR READERS: Who said, "Going to bed with a woman never hurt a baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for them that does a guy in"?

Pete Rose? . . . No.

Babe Ruth? . . . No.

Steve Garvey? . . . No.

None other than Casey Stengel. By popular request, Abby shares more of her favorite prize-winning easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)