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DEAR ABBY: I recently graduated from college and received "congrats" and small gifts from well-wishers, all of which I responded to with written thank-you notes -- with one exception: my father. He still attempts to carry on a father/daughter relationship, regardless of my feelings. Even though I made a decision years ago to cut off all contact with him, he sent me a graduation card with a large check enclosed.

Abby, throughout my childhood and teens, my father emotionally and physically abused my mother. After their divorce, he attempted to do the same to me. That's when I stopped communicating with him.

Mom thinks I should keep the money. I could really use it, but I honestly don't think it's right to keep it without sending a note of thanks. It's the last thing I want to do. Please give me your opinion. No name or location -- sign me ... GRAD TORN OVER DAD

DEAR GRAD: Return the money. Your father is trying to buy his way back into your life. If you allow it, the price YOU will pay for maintaining a relationship with your abusive father won't be worth any amount of money.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 52-year-old man ending my third marriage, and I'm beginning to wonder if my three ex-wives could be right -- the consensus is I'm "nuts."

Am I "nuts" for cleaning the house after my wife said she just cleaned it? Am I "nuts" for ironing a shirt she already ironed? After we'd go to bed, I'd get up in the middle of the night to rewash the dinner dishes and sweep the kitchen floor. I could go on and on.

I finally took the advice of wife No. 3 and went to my doctor. He listened for a couple of minutes, prescribed two meds, and sent me away with, "Have a nice day." Then I went to a licensed therapist, and in five minutes was told this could take years of counseling. Well, we all know what that means -- ka-ching, ka-ching! Tell me, Abby, AM I nuts? -- MR. CLEAN IN OHIO

DEAR MR. CLEAN: No, you are not "nuts." (And no one should call you that.) You ARE obsessive-compulsive. It's a condition that can be treated with a combination of medications and counseling. Please avail yourself of both. It will be money well spent. Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: I am not writing for advice or airing a complaint. I'd like to share an act of kindness.

On Mother's Day, my husband and I went to an upscale restaurant for dinner. We were also celebrating my husband's 86th birthday. We had almost finished our meal when our food server informed us that a gentleman, who had come in with a group and passed our table, had asked that our check be given to him.

We were surprised because we did not know this man. After we finished, my husband and I went to his table and thanked him. He told us that we reminded him of his grandparents and seeing us had "made his day."

So, you see, Abby -- there ARE good and thoughtful people who perform good deeds, but we seldom hear about them. I hope if this appears in your column, that dear man will see it and know how very much my husband and I appreciated his kindness. -- VIRGINIA IN SACRAMENTO

DEAR VIRGINIA: You're right. Good deeds are seldom publicized. That gentleman must have loved his grandparents very much.

P.S. Your letter made MY day.

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