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by Abigail Van Buren

Lift Your Glasses High in Honor of All Mothers

DEAR ABBY: You recently printed a letter from someone who implied that there's something wrong with a man in his 40s who is still single. May I offer my opinion?

Four years ago, I married a 38-year-old man who had never been married, never been engaged, never lived with anyone and never fathered a child. We had dated for almost three years. I was 38 with three children, two still living at home.

While we were dating, our "dates" generally consisted of attending my children's sporting events, going places with my children, or watching television because it was a school night and the kids had to get to bed early.

He was an avid hunter, fisherman, roper, etc. He did these things on a daily basis and spent his time and money on these sports. However, he came to a time in his life when he wanted a family.

My husband is not perfect; however, he is a devoted husband and father. He is completely unselfish with his time and money. We spend 90 percent of our time on functions relating to the children, who are teen-agers now.

One more thing: He was never very popular with the girls or women in this area. That is their loss. They were looking on the outside. I looked on the inside and found a man who loves unconditionally and buys me beautiful, thoughtful gifts even when working 10- to 12-hour days. He never raises his voice to me or complains if the housework is not completed or if supper is not on the table when he gets home. He also supports me in my interests.

My husband will tell you that the only thing "wrong" with him was that he was waiting for ME. -- HAPPILY EVER AFTER IN VINITA, OKLA.

DEAR HAPPILY EVER AFTER: It seems you found your Prince Charming "hiding" in plain sight. I congratulate you. If they ever perfect human cloning, perhaps he'll become a DNA donor for the sake of those many women who are seeking the almost perfect man.

P.S. One of the reasons people have to mine for diamonds is they are usually found beneath the surface.