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by Abigail Van Buren

Seeds of Love and Peace Sown by Humble Dandelion

DEAR ABBY: It's been more than 20 years since I sprawled on the grass, discussing dandelions with my daughter, who was not yet 10. Our headline news was filled with trouble in some Middle Eastern country.

As we lay together in the grass, my daughter asked, "What happens to dandelion seeds when they blow away?" I explained that they plant themselves and grow to make new dandelions. Before I could tell her that's why Daddy doesn't want them in our grass, she excitedly said, "Wouldn't it be great if we could put LOVE on the seeds and blow them to the people fighting with each other, so love could grow instead?"

Her innocent, loving thought inspired me to write the following:

"If I could blow my thoughts like dandelions to the wind,

"Thoughts of love, peace and hope I'd send

"To seed hearts and souls the world therein."

Twenty years later our moment shared and my little poem came to mind yet again. I still have a loving daughter and still have the same dream. Perhaps these loving thoughts of my little girl will seed and inspire yet other loving thoughts to grow in this complex world we share. I pray that God will give our love seeds to grow. -- ANN McCLAIN WASHINGTON, MISSOULA, MONT.

DEAR ANN: The sentiments of your inspirational poem are a heartwarming reminder that we reap what we sow. Thank you for sharing it.

DEAR ABBY: I have read with interest the letters you have printed from readers about the difficulties they encountered when trying to settle the family estate after the parents pass on.

Before Mom and Dad died, they let it be known they didn't want any arguments or hard feelings during or after we kids divided up their worldly possessions. As executor of the estate, I felt responsible but had not yet devised a method for dividing the estate.

The day we six brothers and sisters arrived at the homestead in Oconto, Wis., Mom and Dad must have been watching over us. During the preliminary discussion, one of my sisters suggested that we put our names in a bowl for anything we wanted in the house and simply draw for it with no limitations. The next two days we spent together turned out to be the most heartwarming, enjoyable experience for all of us. I still remember my sisters ORDERING me to put my name in the bowl for an antique dish that I wasn't interested in but they thought my wife might like.

I still have the small aluminum bowl with all our names engraved on it. I also still have the note my wife gave me as I left our house for Oconto: "Dear Bill, please remember that there is no material thing on this Earth more important than family." -- BILL HOPPE, WAUKESHA, WIS.

DEAR BILL: Regardless of the material possessions your parents may or may not have left behind, you come from a wealthy family. And your wife is a jewel.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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