Dear Abby: Some dinner hosts prefer that you don’t help with cleanup

Here’s a poem to inform guests they’re not welcome in the kitchen.

SHARE Dear Abby: Some dinner hosts prefer that you don’t help with cleanup

DEAR ABBY: I have seen letters in your column from people upset that their guests don’t help them after dinner. I am the opposite. I held onto a poem you printed years ago and had it perma-plaqued and posted on a kitchen cabinet.

For more than 20 years, my husband and I hosted a dinner every Sunday after church. I set the table for 10, but we often had more. When guests offered to help, I handed them a copy of that poem. Could you print it again for your readers? — FAITHFUL FOLLOWER IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR FOLLOWER: Gladly. That poem has been requested many times over the years. It resonates with hosts who are territorial about their space when entertaining. It is included in my booklet “Keepers,” which is a collection of poems, essays and letters readers have told me they clipped and saved to reread until they were yellowed with age and fell apart. You were clever to perma-plaque yours.

“Keepers” is both witty and philosophical. It covers many subjects including children, parenting, animals, aging, death, forgiveness and more. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

It’s a quick and easy read as well as an inexpensive gift for newlyweds, pet lovers, new parents and anyone grieving or recovering from an illness.


By Susan Sawyer

Please stay away from my kitchen

From my dishwashing, cooking and such;

You were kind to have offered to pitch in

But thanks, no, thank you so much!

Please don’t think me ungracious

When I ask that you leave me alone;

For my kitchen’s not any too spacious

And my routine is strictly my own.

Tell you what: You stay out of my kitchen

With its sodden, hot, lackluster lures —

When you’re here, stay out of my kitchen

And I promise to stay out of yours!

DEAR ABBY: I had weight-loss surgery six months ago. I haven’t had the dramatic transformation that some people experience. I’ve only lost about 50 pounds.

My problem is, friends who know I had the operation keep asking me how much weight I lost. I think it’s a rude question and none of their business. I understand people are curious, especially since they haven’t seen me in person because of COVID restrictions. How do I answer without saying, “None of your business”? — LOSING IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR LOSING: Your friends may just be curious and want to congratulate you on a big loss, and 50 pounds is one. That said, you do not have to answer every question that is asked. All you need to say is, “I’ll let you guess once you see me again.” If they ask for a hint, stick to your guns and change the subject. Then consider this: They may be gauging the success of your surgery for themselves.

DEAR READERS: Today’s the day for the wearing of the green. A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all! — LOVE, ABBY

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

The Latest
Nastrini feels strong, works two innings of one-run ball vs. Rangers
The regiono reached a high of 71 degrees Monday, breaking the previous high of 64 set in 2000 for this day. February is on track to beat the previous monthly high, set in 1882.
Chicagoans need continual public assurances that Mayor Brandon Johnson and alderpersons are paying attention and prioritizing short-term solutions as much as addressing the underlying causes of gun violence.
A 19-year-old woman was killed and three people were injured in a shooting in Rogers Park Sunday. Two women heard the shots and ran to help.
A cyclist was struck and injured Friday by a motorist who fled the scene before police arrived. Last year, two blocks away, another cyclist was struck and killed by a motorist.