Be cautious when talking about a woman’s age

Even an old newspaper man makes a smart judgement once in a while. That was evident when cleaning out an old file and found a letter sent to me after the publication of an old picture of a school class published in a 1996 issue. The letter written Jan. 26, 1996 came from a lady who wrote, “I think the date on the picture is wrong. I could not have been in the 4th grade in 1926 – I was only 6 years old then. I’m in the picture, but second from the left instead of on the end of the first row. I think the picture was later than 1926. That lady identified was older than I was: so there is an error . . .”
 We drew a smile in bringing up this incident. We will not identify the letter-writer, or the “older” lady. Today we have no idea if her correction caused any repercussion in 1996. The correction must have been handled tactfully. We have learned, not only in the newspaper business, to be very cautious when someone notes an acquaintance is “older than she is.”
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The Betterhalf always reports when we head to Minnesota fishing how much money we are saving. She cites no AC needed up north and the AC is not cooling our Nebraska home in our absence. I counter her claim by telling her we spend as much money up in Minnesota buying mosquito spray as we would spend for air conditioning our household in Aurora.
While up north I asked a bait shop owner if the worms he was selling were guaranteed to catch fish. He said, “I don’t know, but they’ll die trying.”
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For months he had been her devoted admirer. At long last, he had collected up courage to ask her the most momentous of all questions,
“There are advantages of being a bachelor,” he began, “but there comes a time when one longs for companionship of another being – a being who will be regarded as perfect, as an idol; who will be kind and faithful when times are hard; and share one’s joys and sorrows –”
To his delight he saw a sympathetic gleam in her eyes as she nodded in agreement.
“So you’re thinking of buying a dog?” she said. I think it’s a fine idea . . . let me help you choose one!”

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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