In Peru, St. Martin of Porres is considered a saint. One reason he's a saint is because he constantly gave everything away — not just his own possessions, but other people's things, too. If a rich man brought horses to St. Martin to tend, those horses wouldn't be there when the rich man returned. St. Martin would have passed them on down the line to someone else.

I'm explaining all this because I'm married to St. Martin of Porres.

I realized this a few weeks ago when we had a dinner guest. I love licorice. And through luck and clean living, I managed to stumble on the best tasting licorice in the solar system. I bought a bag to savor over the upcoming weeks. But just as our guest was leaving, my wife ran to the kitchen and said, "Here, take something with you." And she handed him my amazing bag of licorice.

I suddenly knew how that dude with the horses felt about St. Martin.

Let me say my wife comes by her openhanded ways honestly. Her father was a generous and practical Sanpete County farmer and carpenter. He put little stock in "stuff." What a person did with what he had scored points with him. Her mom was the same way. And when you cross all that with my wife's committed Christian nature, well, hold tight to your horses.

She's an art teacher, so for Mother's Day I gave her a set of charming little figures of Picasso, Van Gogh and others. The next day she gave them to her friend — an art administrator — who was retiring. I know I'll see them again — proudly displayed at his home for me to admire.

I once gave her a cell phone because she teaches in a cave, and I can never reach her.

She gave the phone to my stepdaughter — along with the freedom to run up charges faster than a spinning gas pump.

When a relative gave me a reference book I already had, I was still pleased. It meant I'd have one for home and one for the office.

At least I did have two ... for a few minutes.

I didn't have any sisters, so I came to our marriage with only my observations of my mother to go on. Mom was a "hoarder." She saw things in a sentimental light and turned everything into a keepsake. Not long ago I found six of my own "baby announcements" from 1948. But for my wife, sentiment over things is simply wasted sentiment.

I once spent a couple of hours drawing a clumsy cartoon for her birthday.

Her response?

"Oh, honey. Do you know how many women would love to get something like this?"

I assumed, from her tone, she was not a member of that teeming throng of women.

Still, my wife's practical nature serves our marriage well. I have never been forced to sit through the movie "Somewhere in Time," never gotten in trouble for forgetting a sentimental occasion and — being something of a romantic — I've always had someone around who's willing to keep my feet on the ground.

I don't know if opposites attract. But I do know they can have a wonderful leveling effect on a marriage. I'm a better person because of my wife.

Still, I do wish I had that bag of licorice back.


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