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Dear Ann Landers: I am writing about "Unwelcome in San Diego," who had a bitter argument with her son. He asked her not to come to his wedding because her ex-husband would be there, and after all, the ex was paying for the rehearsal dinner and a honeymoon cruise. Mom was really angry. She had given her son some silverware as a gift, and now, she wants it back. You told her to forget about the silverware and ask a third party to negotiate a truce. You also suggested that she take an anger management class. Frankly, I think everyone involved could use some anger management classes.

Too many family relationships are destroyed by episodes of temporary stupidity that result in permanent damage. Sure, her ex-husband is being opportunistic. And shame on her son for disinviting her to the wedding. I assume he and his bride were under a lot of pressure, which clouded their judgment. I also suspect that the argument he had with his mother was more significant and nasty than Mom is letting on.

The only way out of such catastrophic events is for someone to apologize and act unselfishly. I know from experience. My sister and father went for a year without speaking because of something my father did to my mother. My parents patched up their disagreement, but the rift with my sister remained. Finally, one day, my sister decided to apologize, even though they were both wrong. Because she took that magnanimous step, our family is together again.

"Unwelcome" has to stop being so resentful and angry, and take the first step to make things right. Her son is equally at fault, but if he isn't willing to apologize, she should do it. Life is too short to hold grudges.

-- Wilmington, N.C.
Dear Wil: The last sentence in your letter is one that should be cross-stitched on sofa pillows and given to each member of that family. In fact, it would make a nifty commercial item, because so many families need to be reminded of this fact of life. Thank you for what could result in a universal olive branch.

Peaceable kingdom

Dear Ann Landers: You have printed a few stories about how well dogs and cats get along. Here is another one that I hope will interest you:

"Charlie," my border collie, and "Rupert," my cat, grew up together. When I had Rupert neutered, he didn't come out of the anesthesia very readily. He was ice cold and wouldn't wake up. I put him on the sofa with a heating pad and blanket, and tried to raise his body temperature. Then, I left the room. After a few minutes, I realized Charlie was not with me. Thinking he was getting into some mischief, I went back to the living room to check. There on the couch was Charlie, with his gigantic paws wrapped around Rupert, and his big face covering Rupert's body. He wouldn't leave until Rupert was up on all fours, then he kept pushing the cat with his nose to help him walk.

Today, whenever Charlie looks out the window, you will find Rupert sitting next to him. They also sleep together. Isn't it amazing and beautiful how some animals take care of one another?

-- K.R. in West Nyack, N.Y.
Dear K.R.: That cat and dog of yours get along much better than some brothers and sisters. Humans could learn a great deal from observing their pets. Thank you for helping me get this lesson in "caring" across to my readers. To those who wonder if I am talking to you, the answer is -- yes, I am.

Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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