DEAR ABBY: Hooray! I can write and don't have to sign my name - or else I'd be snubbed and called a heartless traitor in my small town - about the Mother's Day custom that frequently causes much pain. Certainly, mothers should be honored as well as fathers on their special day. But what about childless women?
Some churches ceremoniously present a flower to the oldest mother, the youngest mother, the mother with the most children, etc. However, there are among us many noble women - schoolteachers, nurses or perhaps just friends or neighbors - who, through circumstances beyond our control, have never experienced motherhood.How about the woman who conceived accidentally but gave her baby the right to live and be adopted? And the mother who, due to accident or poor health, lost every child she conceived? Where are the flowers for them? - NAMELESS AND HURTING
DEAR HURTING: You are right. There are many women who have never experienced motherhood but nevertheless have made significant contributions to the lives of others: the eldest sister who never married because it was her lot to raise her siblings, and who was then called upon to look after her aging parents or an ailing relative. And, of course, all the mothers and would-be mothers you mentioned.
For those women who will not receive a flower or any public recognition on Mother's Day because they are childless, or because their child is dead - or simply "elsewhere" - an orchid to you!
DEAR ABBY: In reference to the school bus driver who got no respect: I am enclosing something you may get a kick out of. I did. And so did my fellow school bus driver. Please withhold my name. - ATLANTAA BUS DRIVER'S PRAYER
Please, Lord, watch over me this day. Please help me remember to watch all five mirrors, two dozen windows, eight gauges, six warning lights, six dozen faces, three lanes of traffic and to keep a third eye open for wobbling bicycles and daydreaming pedestrians, especially teenagers wearing headsets who are off in another world!
Please, Lord, help me to hear all train whistles, truck and automobile horns, police sirens and the two-way radio.
Please, Lord, give me a hand for the gear lever, the steering wheel, the route book, the radio microphone and the turn-signal lever.
And, Lord, please grant me the self-control to keep my hands away from Johnny's neck! And one more thing, dear Lord, please don't let Mary be sick all over the bus.
And finally, Lord, please watch over us all so that we can do it all again next year. Amen.DEAR ABBY: The letter from the pack rat really popped my cork! I am also a pack rat, and I'm lucky I'm not married to the kind of woman who would throw out the newspaper while I was still reading it. We have been married for 34 years, and I greatly enjoy some of my hoardings, but if my wife were to throw away any of my things without my permission, I would retaliate with a "general housecleaning" in her clothes closet! - MERRITT ISLAND PACK RAT
To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)