DEAR ABBY: While making a delivery for the volunteer organization Meals on Wheels, I found myself at the door of an elderly, partially disabled woman. After identifying myself by shouting to her, she shouted back, saying she had to go find the key to the door.

After entering her home, she told me that she had a dead-bolt lock on the inside of the door that could be opened only with a key. This startled me, because I noticed that all the doors and windows were secured with iron bars. I tried to explain as diplomatically as possible that this might be a dangerous situation in case she had to get out quickly in the event of fire, or for some other reason.This same condition existed in another home I visited, also inhabited by an elderly, disabled person. Abby, wouldn't it be a good idea for these people to wear the key on a chain or string around their necks? - PAUL E. MORRILL, TULSA

DEAR PAUL: An excellent idea. The key could remain out of sight, worn inside the clothing. It's not uncommon for keys to be misplaced - the resident could easily forget where he or she placed it for safekeeping.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, I took a trip from Mississippi to Denver, which took me through Kansas. Needing gas, I pulled into a self-service station and proceeded to fill my tank.

I noticed a young college girl filling a car tire with air. She continued and continued and continued and I finally asked her if she had a tire gauge, which she didn't. I told her that it looked like she was inflating the tire to the extreme and most tires require only about 32 pounds, and it needed to be checked.

She came out with a gauge and we measured the tire, which had 45 pounds of pressure at that point. She would have kept going if I hadn't cautioned her.

Abby, please, please caution your readers, especially those who are novices around cars, that radial tires DO look soft. They are supposed to.

I once saw the aftermath of a tire blowout as a result of overinflation, and it was deadly. Always have a tire gauge, or have someone who works at the filling station tend to the air. If a tire blows, not only does the rubber shatter, but the steel rims also act like grenade fragments and will maim for life, if there is any life left. Thanks, Abby. -- CAUTIOUS IN OCEAN SPRINGS, MISS.

DEAR CAUTIOUS: A word to the wise . . . Those who are unsure about how much air they should have in their tires should take the time to read the owner's manual that comes with the car. Each automaker has its own recommendations for city and freeway driving.

DEAR ABBY: Some time ago, you had a beautiful poem in your column that ended, "I had a mother who read to me."

Is it possible to see it again in your column, together with the author's name? I would be most grateful. - CECELIA MIGLIONICO, MARGATE, FLA.

DEAR CECELIA: The poem is "The Reading Mother," written by Strickland Gillilan. There are five stanzas, but I published only the last stanza, which I found very poignant. And here it is:

"You may have tangible wealth untold;

"Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

"Richer than I you can never be -

"I had a mother who read to me."

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