Betty & Boyd
— by Jim Klobuchar  


The temptation is to insist that Betty and Boyd were thrown together by fate or, if you move in loftier atmospheres, by faith.

Without discrediting either source as an enabler of marital joy in later life, I’ll ask you to accept the facts as they are. The truth needs no apologies.

Let me introduce you to the awesome powers of Boyd’s List.

Don’t ask me for Boyd’s last name. There’s an outside possibility that he has access to a shrewd lawyer. Neither of the partners, however, objects to the open publication of his 14-point magna charta to guide aging lovebirds in search of a suitable mate after the loss of an original and fondly-remembered spouse.

What I can tell you about Betty and Boyd is this: Both were in their 80s when they met seriously and are still there. They both lost their mates after long and fruitful marriages. For a time they separately considered resigning themselves to the limited thrills of Thursday night bridge games and senior tours of the Russian Art Museum, not to discount Betty’s flurries of action directing a bell ringing society. They had actually met each other over the course of some of these recreations, and it was at about this time that Boyd recalibrated his list of “Required Qualities or Characteristics of New Wife,” after losing his first. The list led him unerringly to the woman who became his second and equally-admired wife, who unfortunately died not long afterward.

After a respectful mourning, he reviewed the now fully-accredited Boyd’s List.

As a public service, he has allowed me to share it with people of interest, including those who might appreciate some informal strategies. The potential partner, according to the list:

1. Must have had a very happy marriage to deceased spouse..
2. Must be mentally and physically active.
3. Must have good physical health.
4. Should have positive, upbeat personality and outlook.
5. Must have good sense of humor.
6. Should have compatible religious and philosophic outlook. Must accept diversity.
7. Must be compassionate and committed to charitable giving, both personal and financial.
8. Totally honest and open.
9. Financial: Not in need of financial help. “Things” not important. Generous in support of charities and non-charitable good causes.
10. Within 7 years of my age.
11. Preferably good relations with own children and likelihood of good relations with my children.
12. Good “people” person.
13. Comfortable with physical affection, preferably in any form.
14. Preferable to have common friends.

My first reaction to this manifesto was to suggest sending a blind copy to all unspecified age classifications, including all Medicare brackets and interested Baby Boomers. Doctor Phil was an imposter. Boyd’s list has legs!

You should know that Boyd and Betty, married now for five years, were last seen scheming to lead a square dance on a Semester at Sea world cruise beginning Jan. 12, ending April 24 and including Nassau, the mouth of the Amazon, Cape Town, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama.

The timetable is ideal, avoiding a cross-country bike ride Betty had been planning for the spring.

With some prodding, I can get you an addendum to Boyd’s list