Mar 112013
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Can put up with a Cantankerous Old Coot?

One of the frequently asked questions around here is about how you get to be one of the lucky women married to a cantankerous old coot. Maybe we need to ask Bob’s new bride how she hit the jackpot.   Is it luck?  Propinquity? Careful planning?  I can’t, of course speak for Justin and Bob’s experience.  I only know my own and I have to confess that I see only luck.  There is no way that my wife could have realized what  a wonderful catch she had found that rainy Saturday in New Haven.  In fact, it was only because she was new in town that she didn’t throw me back into the dating pool.  Not that I wasn’t dashing in my baby blue combat boots and day-glow poncho (my college pick up outfit).  It was just that after the introductory burst of personality, I I was still a grad school dweeb.

Even if she wasn’t swept off her feet that night, something kept us together that year and connected even after I graduated and moved 3,000 miles away.  I knew I had found a keeper though I made her do the pursuing.  You can call that an early manifestation of Cootness or you can just call it stupidity.  Whatever you call it, my wife eventually graduated and joined me in LA. Then after some coaxing, we married, raised our family, fought and loved.

Looking back over all those years-

happilyeverafterSo here we are now in the idyllic Sierra foothills, enjoying our senior moments and trying to get the last kid out of the house in spite of the abysmal Obama economy.  What has it all meant?  Has it been a wonderful life?  Will Hollywood producers line up to make a movie?  Probably not.  Looking back, I see a few things that should have gone better, priorities that got skewed but all in all at this point, as Hillary Clinton says “What difference does it make?”

Well, the biggest difference that I see looking back over 40 years is the woman I met, by chance at a Halloween party that rainy New England evening.

That’s not really an answer to the question that started this post.  It doesn’t really explain how my wife got to be so lucky.  She is, of course, lucky but  luck is not so easily explained.  There is also the complication that luck can be shared.  I was lucky too; lucky that a casual conversation in the grad school coffee shop snagged me an invitation to Susan’s party; lucky that my wife got an invitation as well and finally lucky that I forced myself into an uncomfortable position of going to a party where I didn’t know anyone.

The Road Less Traveled..

Long story short, my wife didn’t have a clue that night how lucky she was because the Coot-to-be she snagged that night was disguised as an ordinary grad school nebbish.

Bottom line, I don’t know how to answer the question.  Even after all these years, life is a great mystery to me.  Most of the time, it is a messy experience with the wrong people making the wrong decisions about too many things that mess up my life.  Most of the time, I find myself railing at the stupidity that makes my life difficult.  But when the dust settles, my ranting is done and I retreat back to the safety of my home to lick my wounds and plot revenge, I realize how lucky I am.

Because of that chance encounter 40 years ago and a bit of effort from time to time since, I have a home.  My wife has made a sanctuary of peace and security where a Cantankerous Old Coot can find comfort and forget about life’s problems.

Yes, my wife is a lucky woman but it goes far beyond being married to a Cantankerous Old Coot.  It took a long time for me to see what she gave me and even longer to learn how to pay her back.  My wife is lucky because she was willing to stick with me until I was mature and responsible enough to understand that I can never do enough for her to make up for all she has given me.

So what kind of woman can marry a Cantankerous Old Coot?

If you really want an answer to the question, ladies, this is the best I can do for you.  It takes long term planning.  You need to become the kind of woman that will give herself to a man that doesn’t deserve her and hope that he will rise to the challenge.  Find some worthless dweeb and devote 40 years to making a home for him.  Then, if you are lucky, he will develop into someone of consequence- a Cantankerous Old Coot, if you will.  And you will live happily ever after.


Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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  2 Responses to “What Kind of Woman”

  1. The simple and short answer is: the best kind of woman (of course) I feel really lucky to find mine:)

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