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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Thinks Stepsisters' Secret Is Unsafe to Keep

DEAR ABBY: My oldest sister has just married a very nice man. (It's her second marriage.) My only problem is that "Norman" is a taxidermist. Going to their home frightens my daughter and makes me feel, frankly, a bit nauseous. I have avoided going there since the first time, but have been getting questions from family about why I keep turning down invitations.

How do I answer these questions without hurting my sister's feelings? She's a great sister, and I really like Norman. But their house gives me and my animal-loving daughter nightmares. Please help. -- CREEPED OUT IN ARIZONA

DEAR CREEPED OUT: Be honest, but be gentle. Tell your sister that you love her and think her new husband is terrific, but the stuffed animals (etc.) make you uncomfortable. Make sure she knows that when she's having a barbecue or a swimming party (thank God you live in a state with a mild climate), you'd love to come over. But you're not up to another trip through the gallery of the living dead because it gave your daughter nightmares.