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story to: by the first of each month. All submissions are subject to editing. Name withheld upon request`

Finally Finding Mr. Right By Carol Gee

Like most young girls I dreamed of someday meeting my very own prince. I even developed my list of ‘princely’ requirements. Naturally, he would be tall, dark and handsome. The white horse— well that was optional. I am a talker, thus he should be a good conversationalist. My list also included marrying a soldier, or someone with a career that involved travel.

One by one, the men I dated soon failed my require- ments. Like many women steadily climbing the ladder to success, I frequently dated Mr. Right Now. Once or twice, I even gave Mr. All Wrong a chance. Two poems, Ode to That Lying Scum, and Swinging from Chandeliers: Does the Warranty Cover This? chronicled my stiletto-clad wade through the pools of relationship dysfunction.

Next month, my husband and I will celebrate 41 years together. With his green eyes, he is certainly handsome. Alas, bit by bit, once again my ‘princely’ requirements eroded. Is he romantic? Not so much! For example, our first Christmas together, he gave me a four-slice toaster capped off by a huge red bow. I reminded him that we’d received two toasters as wedding gifts. (How much toast did folks think we ate?)

“But honey, this one is better because you can toast four

slices of bread at once, instead of just two” he said. He thought he was making things easier for me. How could that be so wrong? The discovery that my husband wasn’t a talker soon followed. How had I missed that when we were dating? I wondered. Meeting when we both served in the Air Force did fulfill my desire to travel.

“To have and to hold from this day forward” can be chal- lenging, no matter how complete your line of kitchen appliances. These challenges include one or more defin- ing moments. Our first occurred immediately after we wed, when my husband came to me, saying, “I have something I need to tell you.”

Hesitating, he finally blurted out, “I am addicted — to pound cake.” It seemed his mother had been touted “Queen of Pound Cake”, so as his wife this designation seemingly now fell to me. Wanting to please him, I set out to bake him one. After all, how hard could it be? I thought.

My first attempt looked great in the oven, only to deflate much like a balloon when removed. A soldier (or rather an airman), trained to shot an M16 (rifle) if need be, I refused to be outdone by Pastry! Not even when another

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flung out by the trash, in disgust, became a bed for the neighbor’s cat.

Our second occurred around year thirteen when unre- solved issues forced a marital ‘time out.’ Although in flux, that gravitational pull at the nexus of our relation- ship had always been love; thus, we reunited stronger than ever.

‘Defining moment’ three, occurred around year twenty, when my husband suffered his first heart attack. Since then, a second cardiac event and one illness after another have been my hubby’s constant companions. Every time I’ve waited in a hospital waiting room, I’ve felt scared, and because I’m his only family, alone.

How two different personalities could sustain such a long-time marriage is nothing short of a miracle. Despite my frustration at our stilted conversations, we have developed our unique type of shorthand. Much like my husband and me, our marriage is also perfectly, imper- fect. It makes me cherish it even more. Yes, I finally found my Mr. Right. The secret to this discovery? It’s never giv- ing up on the search for true love. Lastly, it’s never set- tling for less than you deserve.

Crl Ge . . onr o

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