definitely remember using Hide command. i re-established Show All (in the default theme) and looked in every folder. the only place i see Messages is under Applications / Search but the Messages thereunder has a default check to the left and i don't think this is the missing icon i'm looking for. Messsages as an icon simply seems no longer to be found using Precision AT&T as the theme; however, when i switch over to Precision Silver it's right there like there is no problem whatsoever
thanks to all for trying to help. sorry you have so little on this end to work with!