I’ve been married three times. The only reason the first marriage lasted 13 years was because of my will not to give up. But I finally said, “Enough is enough.” Because of birthdays and such I still see my first wife from time to time. And it takes no longer than 15 minutes for me to remember exactly why we were divorced. She has not changed one iota. Because I learned from my mistakes, my second wife was a pleasure to be with. She had been widowed a year when I met her. Her husband had died of cancer. Ironically, just two years after being married she was diagnosed with cancer. And five years later and at only 46 years old she died. I went into a deep mourning that held me ransom for over a year. But when I came out, I came out with a vengeance. A combination of spiritual rebellion and mid-life crisis hit me like a full-blown tsunami. I was 46 years old, hanging out at bars, usually getting poo-poo faced, and often going home with women young enough to be my daughter. And because my business was taking a backseat to my night life, it went into a financial tailspin and pulled me into serious debt. Then I met the lady who is now my wife, and the best thing that ever happened to me. Her name is Maxine.
I met Maxine through a set of circumstances that can only be described as spiritual tumblers falling into their proper locations. A male friend asked me to go with him to a restaurant in a town some 25 miles away because it supposedly had great food and his friend was the head chef. Because a McDonald’s Big Mac was more than enough to satisfy my gourmet tastes, I wasn’t interested. But, kicking and screaming, I finally agreed to go with him. While waiting for our table, we went to the lounge and had a drink. In walked Maxine.
She had just came from a wedding of a close friend. Because Maxine had been divorced for over a year, she was feeling a little down and decided to stop off for a drink rather than go home to an empty house. The spiritual tumblers had fallen into place….
Being attractive, my friend had already set his bachelor radar screen on her and asked her to dance a few times. Being the obedient “wingman,” I quietly sipped my drink. But on the next request for a dance, she looked past him and asked, “Does your friend dance?” Though she now says her interest in me was a temporary case of insanity, she continues to live with the results of that night’s decision.
We have now been together for 16 years, and married for twelve. Though now retired, she was once the executive secretary to the treasurer of the one of the largest labor unions in the United States. She is the only woman I know that owns her own home, and at the end of each month pays off whatever the balance is on her credit card. She owes no one! She is a financial guru, and I cannot begin to say how proud I am to call her my wife. But, most importantly, she was my spiritual guiding light. Though searching for a church herself, she began inviting me to go with her. When I declined, she did not argue. But Sunday after Sunday she would still ask. Finally, out of nothing more than her polite perseverance, I agreed. The moment I walked through those church doors I knew I was home.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not ready to place a halo over my wife’s head. Like myself, she has her faults. But I can say with all confidence that this is the woman I will spend the rest of my days with.
Maxine has been the brunt of my published works more times than I would care to admit. And before I send off a submission she reads them all, most with rolled eyes and a groan. But she almost always chuckles, which is my seal of approval.
So with another year ending I think I will keep her, and, hopefully, her feelings are the same. But unlike past manuscripts, I think I will let her read this one after it’s been published.