Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Long-Distance Love Affair Ends in Trip to the Altar

DEAR ABBY: In December 1987, I sent Christmas cards to all six of the addresses you had in your Operation Dear Abby III column. I received three responses -- one was from a Ken Castaneda, serving on the USS Coral Sea. (The others wrote nice letters, but Ken's was special.)

When Ken received my Christmas card, he was on a Mediterranean cruise, and we corresponded until his ship pulled into Norfolk, Va., in March of 1988. Ken went on leave to his hometown of Brighton, Colo., and we talked for the first time when he called me in my hometown of St. Charles, Mo. He decided to drive from Colorado through Missouri to meet me on his way back to Virginia. (We still joke that if it hadn't been "on the way" we would not have met.)

To make a long story short, we had an awesome time together -- and we have had a long-distance relationship since then. But now, we are making our dream come true, as you can see from the enclosed wedding invitation. How can I thank you? -- TONJA DILLON

DEAR TONJA: You just did, and when this goes to press you will be Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Castaneda. Congratulations and all good wishes to you both.