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Published:Monday | January 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The soloist, Contributor

We have had a rough year and all the so-called experts in business, politics and economics are predicting an even worse one ahead. The ones who will feel it most are those who have lost their wealth. But others, like me, who were never rich, know how to be satisfied with a little. We also know how to stop and smell the roses.

My holidays were spent reconnecting to my roots. I love the country where I was born and raised. For two weeks, I disconnected; no frequent phone calls, no newspapers, and deliberately, no television. I cooked, cleaned, visited relatives and friends, hugged my loved ones often and spent a lot of time listening.

One night in a bar, I met Ma'as George; 71 years old and twice widowed. Both wives were one and two years his senior, respectively. The first died of heart failure and the second, of cancer. Now, George told us that he wants a wife. He recounted how he had made failed attempts to find two; even went to look at rings and then the prospect decided, " ... she want to fix my mouth."

You see, the old geyser has very few teeth left, is about five feet six inches tall and not very much to look at. But somehow, he has a way with the fairer sex. By the end of the evening, he had chatted up the barmaid and knew everything about her. But drew the line as he said, "she could be my granddaughter."

I asked George what age group of women he was interested in and he said someone in their 60s. I then said, "so she has to be able to wash, cook, clean house and iron?" He replied, "Yes, and do other things too." I asked, "like what?" George just winked at me and said, "you know what me mean."

The others at the bar promised to help with the wife-hunt for George. And he begged them to be quick because he is lonely and wants to die a happy man. He also asked his friend, a retired policeman, to check out the prospects because he does not want the wrong woman in his life.

I looked long and hard at George and began to reflect on the important things in life to a semi-retired deep-rural farmer. I thought of all the men in their 50s who were chasing fast cars and faster women, with tools that had long gone limp. I looked at George and told him, "good for you old timer, I wish you luck."

I wish for all my readers happiness, luck and prosperity in 2010 and hope you will all still have George's zest for life if you get to be 71.