Charlie was a cantankerous old fart I had the pleasure of knowing some 40 odd years ago.

Well, he wasn’t really old just 15-20 years older than me but, he was indeed cantankerous. He was also a somewhat private person. Never exposing himself to me or others in our environment.

I surmised he was an ex GM employee that had transferred from some place in New York to Saginaw; foundries in both locations.

Charlie’s wife was a nurse and I think he was a “kept man”. We were in the real estate business and the year or so I worked with him I think he may have sold one house.


He was gruff and outspoken, not carrying a bit for what others thought or felt upon receiving one of his barbs.

While I personally felt no dislike for Charlie, I did have a small fear of falling victim to one of his sarcastic blasts. So for the most part I kept quiet when Charlie was among us.

If you were to call him Charlie or Chuck he would immediately correct you, “It’s Charles.”

So, why do I refer to “the pleasure of knowing” him?

You see Charlie did provide me with some knowledge during our time together.

You have to be from Michigan and play Euchre to understand this but one thing he taught me: “If you are going to jump the fence, you had better be ready to play it alone.” This message was delivered with both sarcasm and disgust.

Charlie also taught me the joys of a very dry Martini on the rocks and lightly stirred so as not to bruise the booze.

Probably the best thing Charlie ever taught me was a phrase he uttered one time during a group chat. I do not recall the exact context of the discussion but he said, “It’s not your wife or your life, it’s only your money.”

This phrase stuck with me forever and my wife liked it a lot.

Now, having lost my wife, the phrase really comes home.

Think about it my friends, and every day make sure you have your priorities correct.