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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.

DEAR ABBY: I can't believe you let the woman who didn't know whether to tell her son that his dad is in jail get by with such flippancy about the nature of his crime. Driving drunk IS a violent crime. On at least three occasions he could have killed people, and if her big city is like ours (Houston), it's unlikely that he was caught every time he broke the law, and likely that he was completely over the edge before the police noticed. That she dismissed his level of wrongdoing by saying, "My husband didn't steal anything, nor did he commit a violent crime," indicates that she still doesn't get it.

I'd rather have a role model for my child who stole to feed the family, than one who takes others' lives in his hands so casually and without redemption. -- DEBRA DANBURG, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, AUSTIN, TEXAS

DEAR MS. DANBURG: The mother wrote asking whether she should tell her 6 1/2-year-old son that his father was in jail for a year for driving drunk -- or would it be better to say, "Daddy is away on business and he may be gone for a long time"?

I advised her to tell her son the truth; I didn't think it was necessary to rub salt in her wounds by reiterating that driving drunk is a very serious crime. She already knows that.

CONFIDENTIAL TO CHARLIE IN CINCINNATI: Samuel Johnson said, "Every animal revenges his pains upon those who happen to be near." Man is no exception.

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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