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Beloved cat still a part of Loretta Sanchez’s wacky holiday card

Friends and constituents of Rep. Loretta Sanchez will get one more year of holiday joy from the congresswoman’s fluffy cat Gretzky.

For nearly a decade, Sanchez and the Himalayan cat have co-starred in a wacky holiday card that is mailed each year to friends and voters by the Garden Grove Democrat’s reelection campaign. The ritual seemed likely to end this year: Gretzky died in November 2010, prompting Sanchez to put out a call for new ideas for a “fresh holiday tradition.”

But after posting a poll to her website last month, Sanchez concluded that she had to find a way to bring Gretzky back.

PHOTOS: Sanchez and Gretzky over the years

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Voters were asked to choose among a list of options for a theme, including “totally traditional,” “surf’s up,” and “happy trails.”

“There’s one person who said, ‘Just make it crazy like you always do,’” Sanchez said. But the overwhelming response was: “We want Gretzky!”

This year’s card features Sanchez and her new husband, retired Army Col. Jack Einwechter, posing with gifts. Behind them stands a tree decorated with ornaments featuring Gretzky’s downy face.

In a nod to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the card’s message reads: “In this season of giving, may the joy of the holidays occupy 100% of your heart.”

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“It’s a new beginning because we’re introducing Jack,” Sanchez said of her new husband, whom she wed in July. “It’s sort of a transition.”

Gretzky has appeared in every card since 2002. The 2008 card – “Cruisin’ into the New Year” – featured Gretzky and Sanchez riding a motorcycle, with Gretzky sporting a bandanna. Gretzky wore a goalie mask in 2007, in honor of the Anaheim Ducks, who won the Stanley Cup that year.

Last year, the holiday card featured a montage of past Gretzky appearances to mark the death of the beloved cat.

kim.geiger@latimes.com


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