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Musician 3rd Class Amanda Thompson of Bow, a vocalist for the U.S. Fleet Forces Four Star Edition rock band, performs at William E. Waters Middle School in Portsmouth, Va., as part of Fleet Week Hampton Roads this fall in celebration of the Navy’s 243rd birthday.

DEAR ABBY: I gave birth to my daughter three months ago, after 44 grueling hours of labor. My mother, assuming I would want her in the delivery room, booked her flight, flew across the country and stayed at my house without asking when I’d like her to come to help me.

Last December, Joyce Ano, 63, had a surprise delivered to her Northfield home: new gloves, pajamas, writing paper and pens from an anonymous gift-giver acting as a secret Santa to seniors and handicapped Franklin-area residents who receive Meals on Wheels.

Columns

DEAR HELOISE: One of my favorite hints is very simple: When trying to open a bottle that’s hard to open, I use a NUTCRACKER to grip the cap and twist it off. Most grocery stores sell metal nutcrackers.

DEAR READERS: Temperatures should be chilly over most of the country now. Have you given thought to the PIPES in your home? Water expands in the cold weather — this can put pressure on your pipes.

DEAR ABBY: I thought I had a best friend. We got to know each other when we worked together for almost four years. He’s straight, I’m gay and we’re total opposites. However, he taught me how to fish and took me shooting at his family’s ranch; we would go to dinners/lunches and go to the city…

DEAR ABBY: The holiday season is here, with the traditional family dinner get-togethers. Our problem is, our two children (ages 27 and 29) don’t like each other and rarely have contact during the year. This creates such stressful holiday meals that my wife and I would prefer to simply not ha…

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