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Rated: E · Article · Family · #1036237
A love story: she likes Mozart, I like bluegrass.

Long ago, I received some advice from one of my high school coaches: “Son, make sure the girl you marry likes the same things as you do; ‘cause if she don’t, the marriage won’t last. Remember, oil and water don’t mix.”

That was about a half century ago. And wouldn’t you know it; I married a gal who’s as different from me as daylight is to dark. It’s a family joke: Charlotte and I are like oil and water. And even though oil and water don’t usually mix, we do.

She doesn’t like sports, I do. “Honey, John Smoltz is pitching for the Atlanta Braves tonight; want to watch it with me?” She replies, “Good Lord, no! You know I hate baseball; Anyway, American Idol is coming on at eight, and I’m really afraid that Bo is going to be eliminated.” I think, who’s Bo?

Golf, I love it. Back when we were dating, she would come out to the golf range with me. She’d sit for hours on the grass with her skirt tucked beneath her pretty legs, making admiring comments about my boomerang shots. But that was 48 years ago. Now, she says, “Don’t you even ask; I’m not ever doing that again, ever!”

And food, have you ever known someone who likes Brussels sprout? She does. Her favorite meal is fried chicken (cooked in olive oil) and Brussels sprout. And she likes for us to eat it at our kitchen table, not at a fancy restaurant.

On the other hand, I like to eat out, especially at those Chinese, Mexican, and Italian places. When I can convince Charlotte to go with me, she can’t relax and enjoy it because she’s constantly worried about what’s going on back in the kitchen. She has this irrational fear that the cooks might be spitting into our food. She read somewhere that they do that sometimes. “And the monosodium glutamate…Lord Above!”

She likes cats; I like dogs. She’s never understood my reluctance to warm up to a carnivore that preys unrelentingly on the little furry creatures in our yard. Molly, our cat, jumps into her lap and Charlotte says, “Sweet Molly, my pretty baby.” This said immediately following a gruesome carnage in the back yard involving a blind little mole.

Next to golf, I like fishing. And I like to do it with members of my family. It’s a lazy, peaceful way to pass time with folks you love. And we always release any of the fish we catch. Charlotte hates it. She can’t bait a hook without gagging, “This is absolutely the most disgusting thing imaginable!”

On the other hand, we both enjoy reading and listening to music, but the similarity ends there. Being a somewhat deep person, she loves Mozart and Celtic melodies performed by groups you’ve never heard of. In my opinion, that’s not music you can drive to Montgomery tapping your foot to. And she reads Taylor Caldwell’s books over and over again.

Me, being from Alabama, I like twin fiddles in a good bluegrass band, the twangier it is, the better I like it. I enjoy barbershop-quartet music too. When I pop a barbershop disk in the CD player, she says, “Oh no, not that again.” She told me once that barber-shoppers sound like chipmunks.

And I read sea stories and such. Bookshelves throughout the house brim over with Patrick O’Brian and Douglas Reeman novels. More than once, I’ve found her covertly trying to spirit them away to the basement to free up space for her Julia Cameron books.

Even though we don’t like many of the same things, Charlotte and I like each other. And maybe that’s where Coach was wrong.

Maybe mixing oil and water is actually possible if it’s a matter of two souls being in harmony. And, by being in harmony, I mean like the twin fiddles of a good bluegrass band.
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