DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, as part of a group of about 100 tourists, I found myself in Kiev, Soviet Union, in a large dining hall. One member of our group, Gene, who was a wonderful organizer, initiated group singing in the spirit of international friendship. He circulated between the long tables and asked for suggestions as to which songs could be sung by the largest number of our group.
We began with "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad," and I've been amused ever since wondering how any translator could explain that song to a foreign audience.A group of Jordanians responded lustily with a stirring Jordanian song. Then some other groups, no doubt some of them Russian, contributed to the entertainment. We couldn't understand the words, but the spirit of nationalistic pride was evident in every measure.
When our turn came, we sang "America the Beautiful," and a few others, which has me wondering - of all the folk and camp songs we have collectively heard, which are the most widely known among our entire population? - PEG NICHOLS, OLATHE, KAN.
DEAR PEG: A few that come to mind are: "Nothing Could Be Finer Than to Be in Carolina in the Morning," "My Blue Heaven," "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "White Christmas," "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night." (And for those who can't remember all the words, "La, la, la" is perfectly acceptable.)
DEAR ABBY: I recently attended a lovely wedding. That is, except for the ending when the priest pronounced the couple "man and wife." Almost every television and movie script is written the same way. It is very annoying; it sounds as if the woman has just been married, but the man is still single.
Abby, please publish this so that clergy and everyone else who perform marriage ceremonies will say, "I now pronounce you HUSBAND and wife" - instead of "man and wife." Or else, say, "I now pronounce you MAN and WOMAN," which would make them more equal. I work in a church and really think the words spoken at a wedding should be equitable for both partners. - JUDY WEAVER, DIACONAL MINISTER, UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
DEAR JUDY: I agree. Following a marriage ceremony, the appropriate pronouncement would be, "I now pronounce you husband and wife."
"I now pronounce you man and woman" would be appropriate only when spoken by a surgeon following a sex-change operation.
DEAR ABBY: Talk about a contradiction!
I pulled up behind a station wagon in traffic the other day, and on the bumper were three stickers that said: I AM PRO-LIFE, PREVENT CHILD ABUSE and HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR CHILD TODAY?
And yet, standing up in the middle of the backseat was a preschool-age boy!
Abby, when will people get the message that one of the best ways to be pro-life, prevent child abuse and love your kids is to secure them into seat belts or child restraints?
Will we ever learn? - MAD IN ALABAMA
DEAR MAD: Some people will learn after they have experienced a tragic loss for failing to heed the above.