SINGLE BECAUSE

SINGLE BECAUSE

I have written about this rather annoying but constant question before: “WHY are you still single?!?” Whether one has never been married, or is single again, that is what everyone wants to know, as if we singles have nothing else in our brains about which to converse. You can almost visualize the little mental tallying process going on behind their foreheads, as they secretly work their gray matter, right in your presence, trying to ascertain what it is that is “wrong” with you. For there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ANYBODY over the age of 30 years old who does not have a mate.

Are they insane? Abusive? Sociopath? Addict? Cheater? Mentally ill? Secretly involved in an illicit affair? Gay, but afraid to come out? “WHAT is wrong with you”, their eyes seem to scream.

Becoming single again is a time when many of your married or coupled friends drop you off of their guest lists. I mean, what woman in her right mind wants a divorcee around their man, for all divorced women are desperate for a hook up, right? Or they do not want to mess up the seating arrangements at the dinner party, or try to find that “extra” to balance it out. For some, it is as simple as they no longer know how to relate to you.


There is even a local church that asks people to join hands during the offering if you are married, and who says they come into agreement with you if you are single. I’m sorry, but in my Bible it says there is no marriage in heaven. And that we are to be the bride of Christ. So by calling out the single people in the audience, to me is a discrimination that does not need to happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for some of us. A Christian is a Christian, married or single. Period.


And the fact is, though, that singles need their friends even more than others, for we have no significant other off of which to bounce our ideas, soothe our souls, or with which to just enjoy mealtimes. SIngle​ ​people​ ​still​ ​have​ ​a​ ​plethora​ ​of​ ​topics​ ​about​ ​which​ ​to​ ​converse:​ ​we​ ​still​ ​care​ ​about​ ​the weather,​ ​politics,​ ​religion,​ ​health​ ​issues,​ ​the​ ​economy,​ ​our​ ​workplaces,​ ​etc.


Some singles, like myself, are lucky enough to have married friends that they see on a regular basis. Not so much the dinner parties, but brunches, lunches & such are always enjoyable. But many of the singles I know just give up trying to be with their coupled up friends, & find one or more other singles to hang out with from time to time. Some just become semi-reclusive instead, sadly.

All of this being said, it hit me after a recent conversation with a group of single friends about “WHY we are single” that they were, each of them in that group, some of the very BEST all around people that I know. Could it really be true, do nice people just finish last? Is the nice guy who chivalrously opens doors setting himself up to be relegated to the Friend Zone?

After much pondering, combined with reflection on my personal experiences over the past 4-½ years, I have arrived at my own conclusions: The answer is that yes, indeed, SOME people remain single because they are O.C.D. or addicted to drugs or have other characteristics that are off putting to potential mates. But as for most of the singles I know, they do not fit into that category. I know men & women alike who are the salt of the earth – caring individuals with a lot to offer the right person – yet they remain single. WHY??


That is what I am here to tell you!

SINGLE BECAUSE …

… too KIND to lead people on when there is no true connection.

… too SMART to be led on, cheated on, or lied to themselves.

… too LOVING to settle for less than their heart’s desire.

… too STRONG to need someone to carry their weight.

… too much FUN to sit around with couch potatoes all day.

… too ENERGETIC to waste their lives.

… too BEAUTIFUL to allow someone else’s ugly inside.

… too POSITIVE to settle for negativity.

… too ADVENTUROUS to stop seeking.

… too INDEPENDENT to be owned.
… too GENEROUS to take advantage of generosity.


The long list goes on. If you are single, I am here to tell you, there are some really good men & women out there, waiting on someone just like you! If you are not single, I ask that you not judge us for preferring to spend our time walking our dogs or snapping photographs than pretending to care about someone so we can get a free meal, have our bills paid, or a roof over our heads. Though there are indeed single people who do the latter, they are not amongst my close friends, for we are definitely not kindred spirits!!

But just because we are single or single again, that does not change the essence of who we are – one does not suddenly become promiscuous because they sign divorce papers. If we were upstanding, trustworthy citizens prior to divorce, chances are we still are the same. Do not get me wrong – divorce does change people, often in less than becoming ways. However, it does not negate character.

The single people I know are often the very first ones to step up & offer assistance to those in need, or lend a helping hand to their neighbors. They do not care whether that friend or neighbor is married or single. So why should you???


I’m single. By choice. Don’t think I couldn’t find a man to pay my bills or be my meal ticket, if that’s all I wanted? But like many of my single friends, I want that relationship that actually is about more than money or sex. I want a soul connection, & I won’t settle for less than a gentleman with a heart like mine, who values love & loyalty far above luxury & lust. Someone that loves God, family & country. A man’s man that is secure enough  in himself that he does not need to prove his masculinity  by sleeping with every woman  aged 19 to 90 that he can find. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a human being with human desires. Being a lady does not mean that one is a prude. But being single does not mean that one is less the lady.


Cheers to all my single friends who value themselves enough to wait for the right relationship. And kudos to my friends who are couples that are supportive of all of us.


We are single because there is something right with us, not because there is something wrong with us! And those nice guys? They sometimes get a bad rap because they don’t play games that happen to be the same games that people supposedly don’t want to play. But I will let you in on a little secret: While we women do like to be chased, I’m pretty sure it is the bad boy, not the good guy who will finish last. The good guy will stay focused on his prize, valuing her as such, whereas the other guy will be so scattered chasing every little squirrel tail that comes by that he may end up never crossing the finish line and receiving a real trophy.

As for me? Boys, you can open my doors anytime! While I’m a true southern belle, which means that while I am strong enough and perfectly capable of doing it for myself, I do so appreciate a true Southern gentleman who knows that manners do matter! And I am always grateful when my guy goes the extra mile for me, and I am willing to do the same for him. I am from pioneering stock, and as most everybody knows, prima donnas and pioneers don’t belong in the same sentence! Just call me an old fashioned Bama Belle who knows the difference between a gentle man who is in touch with his inner scoundrel, and a bad boy who cannot be reformed. 

I’m Single, Because …!

  • Lou Lehman Sams 

FAMILY LESSONS 

FAMILY LESSONS

This may be a bit sappy, but it is straight from my heart. 

I come from a family of kind hearted, industrious, hardworking, pioneering, generous, loving, civic minded, patriotic Christians, & this evening several of them are on my mind, as they are ever in my heart: 

Pa-pa Lehman was the salt of the earth, & many who knew him have said the same thing about him, which is that he was one of the nicest men that they ever met. He sang me silly songs like “The Animal Fair” when he picked me up from school, he made me wooden, carved toys, cracked pecans from his yard for me with his hammer, & peeled & sliced small, sour green apples off of his tree in the back yard with his pocket knife, which happened to be the same one he used for innumerable things, such as cleaning his fingernails & tightening screws. He was a wizard with metallic gray duct tape, which is all that they made back then. He let me help him sow seeds, weed, & harvest in the garden out behind his house. We sat together, just the two of us, in the dark summer evenings & he pointed out the constellations to me, engaged my mind with the latest article he had read in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, & assured me that the bats flying overhead were not going to swoop down & harm me. He let me sit on the hood of his car, & as I leaned back against the windshield, he showed me the glory of the heavens. He allowed the scuppernong vines to sweep low to the ground in the grape arbor, for he knew that the grandkids loved to play house or hide & seek beneath its shaded arms, & he did not care if we left dozens of grape skins littering the ground after we had feasted on their sweetness. But I suppose the best lesson which he ever taught me was tolerance, for one hot summer day the neighbor kids were leaning through the wire fence & picking our hard earned baby tomatoes & running off with them, presumably taking them home to their parent’s dinner table. Pa-pa & I had worked all summer long together, just the two of us that year, in that garden, & I was very proud of its produce. Beside, I loved those “Tom-EE-Toes”, as we called them. So I shouted out to the kids, berating them, & warning them of possible consequences if they stole any more of our vegetables. I was so shocked when my Pa-pa fussed on ME for scolding them. It is the one & ONLY time that I ever remember him getting on to me about anything. But he actually raised his voice to me as he demanded that I “leave them alone, because they don’t know any better. Their Momma ran off with the postman, & their Daddy is trying to raise them all alone. They probably need those tomatoes more than we do.” With that, he abruptly took the hoe from my hands, & irritably went into his garage to sharpen it, leaving me to sob into my hands, standing alone amidst the okra, squash & cucumbers. It was not until after he had passed away a few years later that I fully grasped the lesson which he taught me that day. But he was, indeed, one of the nicest men that I have ever, even to this day, met.

My Daddy was a very smart, but very insecure man. He allowed his insecurities to cause him to drink more than he should, but he was a functioning alcoholic who always held down a job which took him away from home at times. When he was not drinking, he was a gentle man. We would, like I did with his father before him, sit out on the covered back porch, listening to the breezes blow through the leaves overhead, late into the summer nights, & have the most delightfully intriguing conversations on a wide & diverse range of topics. He had an Associates degree in Business, yet he turned down an opportunity to move up to Pennsylvania with a chemical company for which he worked in order to stay close to family. His mother’s family had settled North Alabama when it was still the Mississippi Territory, & he wanted to remain close to his then widowed mother. So his job as a fireman belied his intellect. But he was a very smart man. We talked for hours on end, & sometimes the only lights flickering in the darkness were the occasional lightning bugs & the glow of his Winston cigarette. He would get me to fetch him a beer, & I would drink my Dr. Pepper while we talked about God, the Universe, human nature, psychology, science, etc. We were estranged at the end of his life, but he taught me many things, & we loved each other. He had MANY friends of all walks of life, & he was extremely loyal to them. He loved children & could easily make them laugh. Though he no longer attended Church, he talked to me about the importance of loving God, obeying the law, about patriotism (he was a veteran of the United States Air Force), & about how I could make a difference in the world if I would just apply myself. He was a good encourager, & was always proud of my good grades. He always told me that I should grow up to be a writer. Alas, I have not done that, but maybe he would be proud of my sophomoric blog posts. The most important lesson my Daddy taught me, though, was not sitting out on that back porch beneath the big old pecan tree, but in his actions, for he was one of the most generous souls I have ever known. He would literally give anyone – family member, friend, or stranger – his very last dime, if they needed it. 

Aunt Helen was, by all accounts, “A Mess”, which was a Southern expression meaning she was “something else”, not that she was literally a mess. She was vivacious, a bit kooky, & had sparkling green eyes & a ready laugh. She, too, loved children, & to this day I have not understood why God in His wisdom did not allow someone who wanted a baby of their own as much as she did to have one. But Aunt Helen made up for the lack of biological children by loving on her stepson & nieces. When I was very small I would go & play at the country home of her & her first husband. She let me just be me. I could, without pressure, chase Monarch butterflies through the yard for no reason other than it delighted me to do so. She knew how much I loved to read, & so she arranged for her mother-in-law, who was the librarian at the local school, to bring her a big stack of books whenever I was going to spend the night with her. She was a Dental Hygienist by vocation, & whenever she cleaned my teeth, she would reward me for being a good patient by taking me for a piece of lemon ice box pie at Krystal. She is actually the one who taught me to drive. Unbelievably, my first few times behind the wheel of her sage green car were in the most narrow of roads at Maple Hill Cemetery – the ones that are so narrow that today they are blocked off from modern day, larger vehicles. It is a wonder I did not veer off & run over my great-grandparent’s graves, or worse yet, one of the “famous” Huntsvillians in the historic part of the graveyard. Aunt Helen had a zest for life that few possess. She showed me to always keep your spirits up, despite adverse circumstances, which in her case included two divorces from the same man. The most important lesson I learned from her, though, was not to be afraid to approach others & be the first to extend the hand of friendship. For wherever we went, whether it was the supermarket or the movie theater, she greeted everyone with kind eyes & a smile. 

Ma-ma Lehman had the most profound & lasting influence on my life of anyone who ever walked the earth during my lifetime. It would take an entire book to list all of the many things which we did together. She kept me during the summers & after school when my mother worked. She had a knack for making every single one of her ten grandkids feel as if they were the most special one of them all. She had countless friends, whom she was always ministering to in one way or another. She had that gift of gab, & I well recall many days when I, reclining on the wicker settee in the broad foyer with a Nancy Drew mystery book in hand, halfway listening to her as she sat across the room from me on the black telephone table with the vinyl seat, chatting on that black rotary dial phone, assuring one of her innumerable friends that everything would be all right. She took up money for flowers whenever someone in the neighborhood had a death in the family, & she took food to those who were ill. She made me grilled cheese with Campbell’s Tomato Soup & Pepsi whenever I had an upset stomach. She was my mentor, my champion, & my rescuer from an unhappy mother. She let me play dress up in her lace gloves & coat with the mink collar. She spent hours culling through old family photos with me, which she had stored in two huge blanket boxes from Montgomery Wards. She regaled me with tales of growing up on that farm in Big Cove, & how she eventually moved to town to work in T.T.Terry’s Department store. Though she was not a politician, she was heavily involved in politics. Her ancestors had been constables, County Commissioners, Justices of the Peace, & Postmasters who were well known & respected in the area. Her great uncle had even been a six term United States Congressman from Jackson County. How many times she must have said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know  that counts!” She was the Queen of Networking before that word was ever coined. She could make beautiful dresses on her pedal driven sewing machine. She was a fabulous cook & I loved to stir the buttermilk cornbread or divinity candy – everything she made was from scratch, without a recipe or mix, & it was always perfect. She took me to Church every single Sunday, & let me carry her prized possession: her Bible. She was a country girl who “could out pick every man in Big Cove in a cotton picking contest.” She was a Christian woman who taught several local boys about God in Sunday School, boys who grew up to be preachers in well known Church of Christ congregations in the area. She was a mischievous prankster who delighted in entertaining people with the corniest jokes. A fastidious dresser who preferred the conveniences of city life to the rigors of the farm, she would nonetheless  lapse into her country vernacular & say that, “Funny things keeps you going!” She was a well respected community leader whose calls were taken & opinions valued by Governors, Senators, Mayors, County Commissioners, & City Councilmen alike. She was a force to be reckoned with, if you dared cross someone she loved. I owe my very life to her in more ways than one. But the most important thing that she taught me was this, “The good Lord gives, & He takes away.” That is a lesson I am still trying to fully grasp. But the faith which she instilled in me has resounded throughout the years, & I know that God only takes away something which we percieve to be good if He has something better in mind for us.

These & more of my God fearing family members have long ago passed on. But their legacy remains. They all loved God, country & family. They all valued good morals & hard work. They all believed in the sense of community, in giving back, that, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” They all loved the innocence of children, valued friendships, lent helping hands to neighbors, enjoyed making others laugh, & had a song, joke, or Bible verse at the ready, if anyone needed their spirits to be lifted. 

My own children have grown up & moved away. But I am not alone, for like Aunt Helen, I meet no strangers, & have been blessed with an outgoing personality; like my Pa-pa, I survey the wonders of the Universe & my mind is occupied with thoughts higher than my own which make times of solitude enjoyable; like my Daddy, I understand that a generosity of spirit is returned a thousandfold by the respect of friends; & like my Ma-ma, I know the value of networking, & the power of God. So whenever I feel a wee but lonesome, I remind myself that I come from good stock. And I thank God above that He has blessed me with an abundance of friends. Though my biological sister died a very long time ago at a young age, I have women that I am proud to call my sisters, & a couple of those I claim kin, though we are not related by blood. I have friends who allow me to join in their family celebrations, & those who allow me to love on their kids, for my heart, like my family members I have written about, has always had a soft spot for kids & young people of all ages. Some of them even let me love on their parents & grandkids, too!

The most important lessons I have learned from all of this is that there really is not any substitute for loving kindness, & if being a nice, hardworking person who loved God, country, family & friends can one day be my own legacy, too, then I shall feel that I have lived my life well. 

I still miss you, Pa-pa, Ma-ma, Aunt Helen & Daddy. If y’all have any say so up there in Heaven, please put in a good word for me. One day when we are reunited, I want to hear all of your stories again, & hopefully I will add a few of my own into the mix. Meanwhile, I look for the good in people & situations, like y’all taught me, & “Funny things keeps me going!”

– Lou Lehman Sams

THE PEOPLE IN LINE

THE PEOPLE IN LINE

I was having guests in my home for Christmas Day lunch – a group of people who, like myself, were single, & who had no plans to be amongst family. It was a last minute gathering, & I had forgotten to buy foil, which would be necessary for sending home leftovers. And though I do not particularly like beer, I knew that a couple of my guests liked it. Christmas morning I put the finishing touches on my makeup, & noting that I had a few minutes to spare, I called the local super store, then the local supermarkets, only to find that they were closed. On a whim, I decided to jump in the car & go in search of a gas station that might be open. Sure enough, one within 2 miles of my house was not only open, but had a constant flux of people who, like myself, were rushing to get to holiday gatherings.

As I approached the door, I felt a twinge  of guilt for patronizing a place that made their employees work on Christmas Day. But as I rushed up & down the tightly packed, crowded aisles inside the convenience store, I cringed even more as I overheard not one, but two people in a row say rude & hateful things to the elderly woman running the cash register. “How could they be so inconsiderate & demanding,” I wondered? But quickly I chastised myself as I was reminded of times in my past when I, too, had been perhaps a tad unnecessarily rude to workers when I was stressed to the max – facing illness, challenging issues at work, sick kids at home, deaths in the family, & going through a divorce are just a few of the things which we all face at some point in time, & which can cause us to be uncharacteristically short with others, even strangers.

I entered  the huge walk-in cooler where they sold a wide variety of beers, wondering which one my guests might enjoy? “No wonder the aisles are so crowded & hard to navigate,” I mused, “they allocated all of the floor space to this big refrigerator.” I stood there, tightly gripping the last box of foil that was left in that little store, & was a bit daunted by all of the beer choices. Light? Dark? IPA? What to buy?? What was the name of that one someone told me about the other night? I needed to get a move on, because one of my guests had arrived to watch a football game with me not too long before this day, only to find that I was still not home from the store! I remember feeling mortified when she called me from my driveway that day to see where I was, though I was only two minutes away. I did not want to risk that happening again!!

 It was so cold in there, & my search for aluminum foil had made my time run short, so I grabbed a carton of beer I saw that sounded upscale rather than redneck, & headed out to get in line. I lifted the carton up to the half dozen people that were in line as I passed, & asked whether they thought that would be a good beer to serve guests? But most of the hurried & harried customers in that line were frowning, & ignored me altogether. (Nothing wrong with rednecks, or redneck beer, either, but I was trying to make the dinner special by making my guests feel special.)  Finally, an older black lady smiled feebly at me, & said, “Honey, I don’t drink beer, but if I was coming to your house, I’d drink that. So nice of you to go to so much trouble for your guests.”

It was no trouble, but I was beginning to feel a tad bit troubled that I might be at the store when the visitors began arriving, & impatience was beginning to creep in. But my own lack of patience rapidly dissipated as I noted that yet another customer in line in front of me abruptly grabbed their merchandise, & quickly fled, ignoring the clerk’s bright & cheery greeting of, “Merry Christmas!” There were people lining up behind me now, but the line was moving smoothly & quickly. There was no reason, really, for all of these people to be so annoyed. 

Finally, it was my turn to pay. I looked at that older lady, & with an expression that was half smile, yet half frown, I said to her, “Thank you so much. I am so very sorry that you are having to work on Christmas Day, but I appreciate your being here for us to pick up last minute things. Thank you!!” Her mouth dropped open, & she stopped punching buttons for a moment, obviously startled, & with a wistful look on her wrinkled face, she replied, “Thank you for saying that. It’s my job. I’m just surprised at how many people are so very cranky on Christmas!” 

“I know. I’m so sorry. Maybe try to remember that some of them are sad because they have lost loved ones, or sad because they are all alone,” I gently reminded her. She did not appear offended as she replied to me, “I know. But some of them are downright rude. But I will try to remember!”

I felt a tug on my heart strings as she looked back down to complete my transaction. I wanted to give this stranger a hug, & invite her to join us for lunch. But I knew she had to work. Instead, I reached into my wallet & withdrew a twenty dollar bill. Still in divorce recovery mode, I really need that money, I thought. But as she placed my aluminum foil into a paper thin plastic bag, I decided that this woman needed someone to show her some semblance of kindness more than I needed to eat lunch out in the coming week. So I held out the bill in my extended hand as a Christmas gift & token of my appreciation. 

She stood stock still, mouth agape, & time stood still for a slight moment, as I waited for her to return my debit card to me, & take the money from me. In the minuscule space of that awkward, pregnant pause, I was painfully aware of the five people waiting in line behind me, cognizant that they, like me, might also be in a hurry. I turned to glance over my shoulder, but instead of scowls, I saw smiles.

“Oh, no! Thank you, ma’am, but I am not allowed to accept that. But it means so much that you would offer it!” She handed me my debit card, with a smile now brightening her formerly grim face. On impulse, without thinking that it might be inappropriate, I literally crawled halfway across the counter as I leaned in as far as I could, arms open, to give her a big hug, which she returned in full force. “Merry Christmas to you,” I told her. “MERRY CHRISTMAS, MA’AM!!” 

I grabbed my small bag in one hand, & the beverages in the other, & smiled to myself as I turned to leave. I heard her tell the next customer, “Merry Christmas!” But I turned to glance back when I heard that lady reply in like kind, & saw the remaining four customers in line grinning broadly. “Yes, it looks like this little lady is putting the “Merry” back into Christmas, one greeting at a time,” I thought happily to myself. 

As my car flashed back to life, I saw that I barely had a few minutes to get home before guests were set to arrive. I slid into the garage as if I was sliding into Home Plate, stuffed the beer bottles into the fridge, & ran to the back of the house to use the restroom. I hurriedly washed my hands as I heard the doorbell ring. It rang again before I could get to the door. There on my porch was the very lady whom I’d been late to meet a few weeks prior, along with another guest. As I flung open the door, the wreath clattered with the forcefulness of my hurried state, & with a small laugh she said, “There you are – I thought you might be at the store again!” Keeping my secret, I brightly said, “No, I’m here. Merry Christmas!! Come in!!”

Just as the first two guests were settling in, another one arrived, carrying a hot casserole. After she set that down in the appointed spot, I asked her what I could offer her to drink: “Poinsettia punch, cucumber infused water, bottled water, coffee, sweet tea, or BEER?” She reached out her arms to encircle me, & said, “I want a hug first!” Gratefully, I accepted it, before serving her some punch from my grandmother’s antique Christmas punch bowl. As I handed it to her, I wondered how many times my grandmother, with her twinkling eyes & merry spirit, had handed punch to her guests over the years. I bet my Daddy, my aunts, my cousins, & grandparents had shared Christmas cheer from those exact same punch cups over the years. That thought made me happy, for it made it feel as if my own family was, in a way, present with me, in this group of friends that I was entertaining.

More importantly, I felt that the true spirit of Christmas had been infused into my day. For I had been given smiles, hugs, & a sweet remembrance of loved ones long gone from earthly celebrations. 

Afterwards, my guests used that foil to take home leftovers. But that beer? It cluttered up my refrigerator, for no one opened a single bottle. Instead, they preferred the punch I made in the old punch bowl. Perhaps it was that sweetness of the Christmas spirit from Christmases past that it contained? 

But that beer was worth every penny, for it reminded me to be kinder & gentler to those who must serve  us on the holidays when most of us are off of work & spending time celebrating with family & friends. And there are many of them: convenience store employees, waitresses, utility workers, firefighters, & law enforcement officers, to name a few.

The holidays are not yet over. No matter how stressful our days, let us remember to be kind to those who are serving us, not just on the holidays, but every day of the year.

– Lou Lehman Sams

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE 

WHY I AM STILL SINGLE

If you are a student in high school, they ask, 

“Where are you going to college?”

If you are a college student, they ask,

“What is your major?”

If you are a single graduate, they ask,

“When are you going to get married?”

If you are a young married, they ask,

“When are you going to have a baby?”

When you have your first baby, they ask, 

“When are you going to have another one?”

When you have had all of your kids, they ask,

“What are your kids doing?”

When your nest becomes empty, they ask,

“When are you going to retire?”

And my LEAST favorite question of all is …

When you become “Single Again”, they ask,

“WHY are you ‘still’ SINGLE?!?”


The inflection is as if being single at my age is a disease of some sort. I assure you, it is not! I am single by choice. I am single because I still believe in love. I am single because I refuse to settle. I am single because I would rather be alone than use a man whom I do not love for a big house, vacations, clothes, cars, & a Meal Ticket. 


Here’s the thing:

I’ve had the custom built, 3,700 some odd square foot house in the neighborhood that had a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a fishing pond. But I can do without all of that. I’d sincerely be content in a little log cabin by a quiet stream, so long as it was warmed by love. 


Like most readers, I like nice things. I always wanted both a beach house getaway & a cabin in the mountains. I could do without the regular house, if I had those, because I find so much peace in the beauty in nature. 


As I was going through my divorce, during which period I refused to date, I spent a lot of time with female friends, playing BUNCO, going out to eat, & indulging in Girl Talk. Sometimes I would cry, & tell them that I knew I was not as young as I once was, & I wondered if I would ever get a date, once the divorce was final. They always asked me what I was looking for in a man.


So I comprised a list, which I delivered tongue-in-cheek, akin to a mini Comedy Act. It went something like this:

“The first thing I need is TEETH. I DO live in Alabama, you know, & if you take a look at the guys at the gas station, many are missing teeth. I want at least a dozen! As a former Dental Hygienist, this is important to me!

Next, no beer bellies. I don’t do beer bellies, & if they look like they are about to deliver a baby at any moment, they are not the one for me. 

A sense of humor is mandatory! If they cannot handle my sense of humor, they won’t be able to handle me.

They need a brain, too. It is even better if they know how to use it!

And I understand that hair is optional at this age, but I do like hair! Preferably not a toupe that is about to fall off.”


That was it. By injecting humor into the whole topic of what I was looking for, I was able to entertain the inquisitor & change the subject at the same time, because inevitably we would get off on a side topic, like why people do not floss.


Finally, the divorce was final, & I had to describe, on a dating site, what I was interested in from a man. Totally different answers!! They went something like this:

“Loyalty is non-negotiable. A sense of humor is mandatory. Communication is key. Chemistry is essential. Everything else in a relationship can be navigated.”


Though I have always had a thing for blue eyes & biceps, I was mature enough to realize that those things are superficial. My first boy friend post divorce, did in fact, have a small belly, but he had other attributes that counterbalanced that. After two failed relationships in 3 years, though, I had to add that I would prefer it if they do not have any crazy exes lurking about. Those make for very stressful relationships, to say the least. 


After getting hit on by men I’d never even met from ages 25 to 75 who were proposing for me to jump in my car & meet them at the beach, the mountains, or wherever, I started adding that I am not interested in a one night stand or a hookup. Really. Had to specify that to keep them at bay. Then, had to add that I do not want to communicate privately with married men, or those whose divorces are not final yet. Such  is the world in which we live …


Eventually I have added that the potential suitor himself must not be crazy, either. But that is a mental note. Can’t exactly put on your dating profile that narcissists, sociopaths & psychopaths need not apply. As an Empath, I am a natural magnet for these guys, it seems, but it does not take long to figure it out.


I have now been “Single Again” for 4 years. I have learned so much about myself, such as the fact that I was pretty naive when I got divorced, & had no idea how to date in the modern world, but that is a story for another day. I know that everyone in these shoes has baggage & some of it I am willing to help carry, but some of it needs to be checked at the door. I am learning the difference between these men being physically &  emotionally available – two very different things! I have learned that there are some bizarre fetishes out there that were beyond the realm of my wildest imagination. To be clear, I do not even kiss on the first couple of dates, but some of these guys will just throw these things out there over appetizers on the first date! Yikes!! I guess that is really important to them, sort of like not dating a crazy person is important to me. Truly, I did not come this far in life to end up chopped into little pieces in the deep freezer of someone’s garage!!! (Maybe I should be nicer to those crazy exes in the future …?)

Finally, it has occurred to me, the most important criteria I seek, the one reason I am single: The key to my own heart lies hidden within His heart. 

What I mean by that is that my heart’s desire is a man who desires to have a heart like God’s. I am not talking about a “Jesus freak”, per se. And while some of my very happiest memories were Sunday mornings spent holding hands or sitting with a man’s strong arm about me in Church, I realize that organized religion is not for everyone. My beloved grandmother, as long as she was physically able, never missed a Sunday morning at Church, while her husband, my beloved  grandfather, stayed at home, drinking strong, black, coffee from the percolator & reading the Sunday paper. But he read his Bible, along with excerpts from the encyclopedia, every day. He had a quest for knowledge, a love for learning, and he definitely knew God. 

I want a man who knows God. Who relishes the laughter of children. Who appreciates sunsets and storms and the wind howling through the trees. Who can find contentment walking along the beach or working with his hands. Who gives of his time freely to help others. Someone who is kind. Who understands that no one is perfect, not even himself. Someone who is not angry at the world every day, but who makes allowances for others. Someone who loves unconditionally, is fiercely protective, and who can laugh at themselves and life’s curve balls. A man who means it when he says he will, “always love, always protect and always take care of me.” One who honors his word, rather than just giving lip service. One who spends his free time golfing or hunting or volunteering or doing something productive, rather than surfing Tinder.

Please understand that I have met some fantastic, kind, caring, and wonderful men since my divorce. I am blessed and proud to call many of them my friends! I am thankful for what they have brought to my life. Although I frequently make jokes about my search for the “perfect man, I am all too cognizant that no perfect man – or woman – exists on earth. And if one did exist, I would not want him, for I am far from perfect! 

But I am a one man woman, and I will settle for nothing less than a one woman man. And as much as I do still love blue eyes & biceps, I now know what I REALLY want: I want a man who, though it is impossible to achieve here on earth, strives to have a heart like His.

Until he finds me, I will be content with the One who ALWAYS keeps His word: He ALWAYS loves, ALWAYS protects, & ALWAYS takes care of me!! ALWAYS!!! Therefore, I do not have to settle for less than the best, for I already have it! That, my friends, is why I am still single. My guy is out there, somewhere, getting excited about hearing the laughter of little children at the upcoming holiday dinner, or helping a neighbor repair storm damage, because he is working on having a heart like His. The rest of the things – the hair, the eye color, the car, the house, the clothes – do not matter. My heart’s desire is to have His heart. 

(P.S. Not sure if I can give up on those teeth, though. Lord, let him have at least a dozen, please???)

– Lou Lehman Sams  

A BETTER PLAN

A BETTER PLAN

Real estate, like any job, has its fair share of challenges & rewards. Many jobs require long hours, including nights & weekends. But when you have special clients, you do not mind staying up late, as I did tonight, to work an offer on their behalf.

But then there are the times when you put in many long & tedious hours, only to not get paid a penny, because someone changed their mind, could not get financing, there were issues with a property, etc. but it is all part of the business, so agents have to take it in stride. 

I accidentally stumbled across a thank you note from an elderly couple who were going to buy a house from me in1999. They were referred to me by another client. They were struggling at their loss of independence, & saddened that they were having to move closer to adult children, as well as a bit depressed & confused as to how to choose which city in which to live, as each child lived in a different state. They were both very frail, but he more so than she. He was on oxygen, & tired extremely easily due to his health issues. We always drove separately, because his tiny wife drove the large RV around, so he could recline while hooked up to his oxygen tank as we shuttled from property to property. Some days he would tire so easily after looking at just 2 houses that I would have to cancel the remaining appointments, leaving a big hole in my schedule. But I did not mind. I was concerned with his well being. 

At that time, the economy was good, & it was a seller’s market, so inventory would sell quickly. We were struggling to find them the right house that would accommodate their health issues as well as meet their budget. I could tell that the process was beginning to wear on them, but each time we would end our day’s journey without having found the right fit for them, I would assure them that God had a better plan, & that if we would be patient & hold on a little while longer, He would reveal it to us.

I was very excited about a trip to Scotland that had been planned months in advance, but worried about Tim & Janie (NOT their real names), so I offered to connect them with another agent in my office, who would assist them while I was gone. Sweet & loyal, they assured me that I was worth their wait, & that they would be there when I returned to resume house hunting.


However,the day I returned from overseas, they called me to let me know that Janie had visited their daughter in. Louisiana while I was gone, found a house, & made an offer on it. Disappointed that I would not receive any recompense for the work which I had done, I was nonetheless very happy for them, for it was clear that they were overjoyed at their decision. 


A little over a month later, I received a typed letter in a plain white envelope from the two of them at my office, & it contained a marvelous paycheck! No, it was not monetary, for it is illegal for agents to receive compensation directly from clients without going through their brokerages. 

Here is what their letter, typed in ALL CAPS, due to Tim’s arthritic hands, gnarled fingers & failing eyesight, said:

“DEAR LOU,

I HOPE YOU HAD A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY IN SCOTLAND.

SHORTLY AFTER YOU LEFT TOWN, JANIE VISITED HER OLD HOMETOWN, MONROE, LA. SHE FOUND A HOME THERE FOR US, SIGNED A CONTRACT, & IF ALL GOES AS PLANNED, WE WILL MOVE THERE IN MID-JULY.



MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP IN TRYING TO FIND US A HOME HERE IN HUNTSVILLE.


WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU AND YOUR KINDNESS, PATIENCE, AND COMPASSION WHEN WE WERE SO LOW. I GUESS GOD DID HAVE A BETTER PLAN.


SINCERELY,



TIM & JANIE



I’ve not heard back from them again, but I kept this letter as a reminder that some things are worth a whole lot more than money. How you treat people is one of them. 



I hope that they have enjoyed many wonderful years down in the bayou state. And it was my privilege to assist them. It is I who will never forget them, and their positive attitude despite mental & physical fatigue. A monetary payment would have been quickly spent, & forgotten. But their words, penned on nondescript white paper, live on. 


I may not have found them the perfect house, but I found peace in knowing that I did not pressure them into purchasing any of the many houses that were just not the right fit for them. And that is priceless. Better yet, as I reflect back on the last few years of my life, which have been fraught with disappointment after disappointment, my own words are echoing back to me after 17 years: “God has a better plan!” I just know it!! And one day, like Tim & Janie, I will be living proof!

– Lou Lehman Sams