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It isn’t greener on the other side

Money makes it look greener on the other side, until you are on the other side.

Al and I were in Placitas on a Sunday morning, looking out at a view of Albuquerque.

I marveled at Al’s brother’s home with the indoor swimming pool and the outside infinity pool.

David, Al’s brother, wanted to talk. In a million dollar, 5,000 square-foot home, he lives alone. He is a great conversationalist, and when the fanfare is cleared, he speaks from his heart.

He has been a millionaire at least four times and lost it all. Or he has given it to his ex-wives. Each time, he has always assured everyone he would make it back again, and he always has.

In the ’80s, our family sat in Pagosa looking at a snowy picture on television; and watched David run out to the Double Eagle Hot Air Balloon. He had a bottle of wine in his hand and greeted his best friend, Ben Abruzzo, when he landed his transatlantic flight in Japan. His best friend, Ben, died not too many years later in a plane crash. It was devastating to David. He has seen the up’s and down’s, the in’s and out’s of life.

We were spending a couple of days with David in Albuquerque and, in the middle of this Sunday morning conversation, the phone rang. Then, it rang again and again and again. Each time he answered and a different woman was on the other end of the line.

“I was thinking of you too,” he said to each one of them.

He hung up and said, “These women are all bored.”

The phone rang again. He answered.

“Oh, that was Caroline. She was wondering why she hadn’t heard from me for the last two weeks. I told her it was over.”

You probably remember Caroline, a knockout, twenty-two years old, size 2, Double Ds with twin babies. Apparently, at a wine tasting party, she got out of hand, embarrassed David and he called it off. Now, she is calling wondering why she hadn’t heard from him.

David says to us as he hung up the phone, “She’s trouble.”

The phone rang again. It was a divorced woman. David explained to us as he hung up the phone, “She gets eleven thousand dollars a month in alimony. That’s what I said, eleven thousand a month, and she is bored.”

David continued, “I know her ex-husband, and he is a good guy. She said she was bored with him, and now she is bored because she is single. She spends and spends and cannot spend it fast enough before the next month.”

I told him, “Tell her to invest in herself. Go back to school, help little children, start a small business, do something productive. She needs to know the Lord. God’s got a purpose for her life.”

“They don’t want to hear that, they can’t handle it,” he says.

“It doesn’t sound like she is handling it the way it is.”

Then another woman called, “She is married, but bored,” David said. “I told her to think twice before she gets a divorce. It’s no fun being alone. She thinks she is in love with me and thinks I am going to marry her. I’m not.”

“Are you leading these women on?,” I asked him.

“No, I tell all of them I have no intentions of marrying them. They all want to get married. They had good husbands, but they were bored, and now they are single and bored.

“When these women turn forty, they start looking around wanting more. Their husbands are good guys, but are complacent and they don’t see what their wives are looking for. They need to get it together, too.”

Then David said, “This life is a dead end. It’s empty, but I’m not going to change. I’m lonely, and I am not made to be alone. I am glad you and Al have stayed together all these years.”

I said to David, “It wasn’t always easy, and several times we both wanted to throw in the towel, but we stayed together. We cared enough to keep fighting for the marriage. By God’s grace, He kept us together. I have never been bored. I can’t understand that line of thinking.”

In the walls of this million dollar home, with all the posh furniture and beautiful furnishings, it sure looks greener from the outside. But David is the first to admit, it isn’t.

Final brushstroke: Money makes it look greener. There is sadness in my heart for David and all his young girlfriends. I tease him all the time, and he takes it, and laughs with me. Aren’t we all trying to get it together? But, does anyone want to hear the truth?

Artist’s quote

“It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.” — George Lorimer, editor of Saturday Evening Post.

Readers’ comments

I appreciate all your kind words. Send in your comments, I will use them. Send them to

bettyslade@centurytel.net. See my work on http://bettysladeartistlandscapes.blogspot.com and read other articles from the Artist’s Lane on http://bettyslade.blogspot.com. Coming shortly, The Mysterious Life of Mary Magdalene.

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