Dear Annie: I was told recently by a neighbor that the neighbors next door to me call me Mrs. Kravitz, a reference to the nosy neighbor on "Bewitched." I am bewildered and hurt.
My kitchen window is in view of their back door, and when I'm washing dishes or cleaning up the area, they can see me; I can't see them. Now I bend down so if they are anywhere around they won't see me. This is very uncomfortable for me, but I'd rather do this than have them make such hurtful remarks about me.
I never ask them any questions except, "How are you?" or "How's the family?" If this is considered nosy, I won't even ask that much.
What can I do to make them understand? I don't watch them as they think I do. — Not-So-Nosy Neighbor
Dear Not-So-Nosy: Who knows if they ever actually called you "Mrs. Kravitz"? It's possible this intermediary neighbor was just trying to stir the cauldron, so to speak. Even if they do call you that, the health of your neck and back is more important than the opinion of a few petty neighbors. Do not hunch over at the sink. I say stand tall and wash your dishes in peace, knowing you've done nothing wrong. But if this whole ordeal has shaken you up too much to do that, install some cute curtains.
Dear Annie: I read your column with the letter about people abandoning pets. I wrote a poem called "Spay It Forward" a couple of years ago, which you may use if you wish. I hope that it will make someone think twice before abandoning an animal.
It was just a little cat killed in the street
She just couldn't move fast, on her tiny frozen feet
The cars were too many, moving too fast
Now into eternity this small creature has passed.
You thought you were being kind, abandoning her alive
But it is rare in winter that former house pets survive
Her last few hours were full of suffering and fear
A creature that once someone held dear,
You couldn't keep her anymore, who knows why.
These things happen, no matter how we do try
The vet's needle would probably have been kinder.
Now that her crushed body lies there, as a sober reminder
Did she die right away, or in pain did she suffer
As car tires rolled over her, rougher and rougher?
She's out of it now, her life gone away
The miseries of life, forever, held at bay
So, if for an animal you can no longer care
Take them to a shelter, because that's only fair
The end result might still be the same
But it will be kinder, and filled with less shame.
Thank you for sharing. — Kenneth Brandhagen
Dear Kenneth: Thank you for your touching poem. If it prevents even one person from abandoning an animal outside, it's done a whole lot.
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