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LAUNCHING A FAMILY LEGEND

Dear Abby: Thank you for printing the letter about the reincarnated rabbit, "Blossom." It has been years since I had such a good laugh. I had heard the tale before and knew it was a joke. I'm glad you were not taken in.

It reminded me of a true incident that happened in our household many years ago. My brother, Jack, had two pet green anole lizards. One day I came home from school before he did and found my cat, Yoda, in the lizard tank. I was horrified to find only one lizard.

I begged my mom to lend me the car and off to the pet store I went. When Jack came home, he found two green lizards, and one with a half-chewed-off tail in the tank. (I guess it been hiding under the rock.) Jack was old enough to know how lizards have babies, so he was confused as to how the third lizard arrived. Caught in the act of replacement, I had to 'fess up. Jack was furious at Yoda, but happy to have an additional pet lizard.

We still laugh about the incident. -- Kim in Massachusetts

Dear Kim: I looked up the word "anole" and my Webster's dictionary defined it as "any of a genus of arboreal American lizards (as the American chameleon) that have ... the ability to change color." It reminded me of a story I heard years ago (probably apocryphal) about a woman whose pet chameleon died after she placed it on a piece of cloth that was plaid.

The letter about "Blossom" brought back memories from another reader, too. Read on:

Dear Abby: While the letter about Blossom was funny, I have a similar incident that is true. When I was 15, I adopted a cat from the S.P.C.A. I named him Elvis, and he instantly became part of the family. On Aug. 16, 2002 (the 25th anniversary of the death of the real king), my Elvis disappeared. He had missed his supper, which was unusual, so a friend and I went looking for him. We didn't find him, but after my friend left to go home, he called and said he had seen a cat up the street that looked like Elvis, dead in the road.

My dad and I took the truck, and sure enough, there lay a gray-and-white striped tabby cat. After three hours of mourning and crying in the driveway, we buried him with some of his favorite toys.

The next morning I woke up with my eyes still swollen from crying and looked out the back door. There lay Elvis sunning himself. After a moment of thoughts flashing through my head of Elvis unburying himself, I ran outside to make sure it was my cat. It was.

A few months later, while attending a neighborhood watch meeting, a neighbor mentioned that her cat had gone missing. He, too, was a gray striped tabby -- identical to my Elvis.

I think sometimes God lets us know how it would feel to be without something we love without actually taking it away, to teach us to be more grateful. -- The King lives on, Midland, Texas

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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