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Dear Abby: My problem is my 16-year-old son. "Ryan" is a wonderful young man - everything a mother could ask for in a son: handsome, smart (honor student) and an all-around great guy. He seems to be obsessed with a 16-year-old girl I'll call Beth. When he is not at her house, he's on the phone with her. I finally told him that he had to be off the phone by 11 p.m. - of course, by that time he's already been on the phone for at least two hours!

I can't understand what they can talk about for that long. I know they talk about marriage, but Ryan has such a bright future, I can't see him tying himself down to this one girl - at age 16.There seems to be such an intense physical attraction - Beth hangs all over him, sits on his lap, and he can't understand that kind of behavior is not acceptable in public. I am so afraid that he will mess up his life with an unplanned pregnancy. We've talked about it, and he keeps assuring me that he isn't doing anything "wrong."

Abby, I realize that he is human and he could get carried away and ruin his life. It's happened to other terrific kids, and I'm worried that it might happen to him.

His father and I have been divorced since Ryan was 3, and his father has since remarried. His support checks help, but Ryan rarely sees him, so he's no help. Have you any suggestions?

- Ryan's Mom

Dear Mom: If you and Beth's mother aren't friendly, I suggest you become friendlier, because you have a common problem. Limiting the time Ryan and Beth spend together will help, but it's not the total solution.

Keep the lines of communication open so your son will be open and honest with you.

Discussing birth control with young people who are on the verge of becoming sexually active does not necessarily give them the green light, and when hormones are raging, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Dear Abby: I laughed out loud when I read about that idiotic woman from Beloit, Wis., who is "proud" of her 13 sets of wind chimes. She said, "Someone else must also like wind chimes because a thief stole three sets from my porch!"

Wake up, Beloit! That "thief" is probably a neighbor whom you have driven to the brink of insanity with the relentless, irritating sounds of your stupid wind chimes.

A neighbor in our suburban neighborhood apparently thought everybody on the block should enjoy the racket of his large metal cowbell that would wake me up in the middle of the night when the winds were gusty.

I politely asked that it be taken down. After two weeks of no response to my polite request, I sneaked over there in the middle of the night and jammed a rag in the bell to silence it.

Finally, the cowbell was removed. Peace at least. Thank God!

- Steve Horner,

Apple Valley, Minn.

Dear Steve: Now, a word from another reader concerning wind chimes:

Dear Abby: Congratulations to the bird lady in Beloit who has 13 sets of wind chimes, fine wind ornaments and a bird feeder on her front porch. May the bluebirds of happiness "decorate" her deck chairs.

- Grandma in Cedar Rapids

Dear Abby: On behalf of the Marine Detachment, USS Ranger (CV-61), I want to thank all of the readers who have taken the time to write to us. To date, we have received hundreds of letters! Each one has boosted the morale of the Marines on board and gone a long way in easing the difficulty of being deployed during the holiday season.

Marines are known for taking care of their own. In this case, you and your readers have taken care of us. Thank you, Dear Abby, very much indeed for your support! Semper fidelis.

- F.R. Conner, Captain, USMC

Most teenagers do not know the facts about drugs, AIDS and how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It's all in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

1992 Universal Press Syndicate