DEAR HELOISE: I received a call from my sister telling me that my mother had passed away. I had to get from Arizona to New Jersey in a hurry, so I took an airplane to get home.

I was so tired and sad, all I wanted to do was sleep on the plane, but the woman next to me kept rambling away about every subject you can name. I closed my eyes and started to drift off when this passenger tapped on my arm to wake me up so she could go on with her story. I told her I really needed a nap, but she kept on talking.

Please tell your readers that some people do not want to carry on a conversation on a plane, and some, like me, are too tired, too sad or too preoccupied to talk. So please, just leave us alone.

— Frederick H., Mesa, Arizona

Frederick, it’s rude to badger someone who clearly does not want to carry on a conversation. My condolences on the loss of your mother.

— Heloise

Enjoy your good things

DEAR HELOISE: I used to put my cut crystal in plastic bags or self-sealing plastic wrap. The problem was that everything was dusty and jammed into a cupboard. I finally decided that I would no longer put all of my good things away. I use it every day. Why wait for company? I felt my husband and I deserved to use the good things every day instead of waiting for company or a special occasion. We love it and feel we’re special enough to use our best china and crystal daily.

— Lana W., Columbia, S.C.

Lana, I use my fine china and crystal daily as well. I’ve got it and might as well use it.

— Heloise

Name cards

DEAR HELOISE: We have a large family with several children. That means gift wrapping can get expensive. I save our Christmas cards and birthday cards and use them to cut out name cards for gifts. I punch a hole in the corner, pass a thin ribbon through the opening and before you know it, I have a pretty name tag.

— Carolyn V., Suncook, N.H.

Old wedding dress

DEAR HELOISE: When my daughter said she was getting married, I wanted to give her something that would have meaning. My old wedding dress was so dated looking, but there was a lot of material in it. I cut up the fabric and made a quilt out of it, along with some additional fabric I bought. It turned out beautifully. She now uses it as a wall hanging in her bedroom. Little did I know I had created a family heirloom.

— Eleanor S., Monrovia, Indiana

Chimney sweep

DEAR HELOISE: Just a word to the wise. If you have a fireplace, have a chimney sweep come in and check out your chimney before you use it this coming winter. I didn’t do that last year, and we had a problem with a clogged chimney. Smoke poured into the living room, and the carpets and sofa had to be cleaned professionally. It was expensive!

— Karen C., Seattle

Send hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email Heloise@Heloise.com.