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Sometimes a little cold has a mind of its own. Just when I thought I might be feeling better, mine decided it was actually bronchitis. What a jerk!

One cycle of antibiotics later and I’m finally, just about, on the verge of not coughing every 30 seconds. (Sigh.)

Medicine and rest can only take me so far. I believe I have to lift myself up by my boot straps and find my own home-grown remedy—allowing the process of writing to heal me. So here goes nothing.

Last week I met an absolutely delightful elderly woman. After meeting, she didn’t wait a second to tell me I’ve got “the most beautiful name in the world.” I thought she was up to something, until I learned that she too is named Ruth. Clever little lady!

At 51 years older than me, this Ruth has real spunk. I learned that she also lived in New Jersey, but has spent most of her life in Georgia. Her southern charm was clear, but her tough Jersey roots had really brought her far in life. I couldn’t see too many wrinkles on her smooth, African skin, but the tales she told were of a life filled with struggle and hardship. Her story was inspirational.

And then it happened, as it usually does with the elderly I come into contact with. Grandma Ruth suddenly took on the role of matchmaker. I’m not opposed to this, because everyone is someone’s grandson or granddaughter. Even funny, smart, kind (hot!) men have grandmas sitting on the porch somewhere just bragging about them to their neighbors.

Grandma Ruth told me all about her grandson. And I admit, at first he sounded quite intriguing. Tall, handsome, caring. He recently went back to college to support a career change. And he takes good care of his grandma. How sweet is that?

Just when I started to make mental notes of who I’d ask to be my bridesmaids (mainly Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy), a few red flags started to appear.

“He lives with me.”

Wait a minute, Grandma Ruth. As much as I love the concept of generations living in one house, eating big dinners together and laughing over games of Jenga and Uno… it’s still a little worrisome when a 29-year-old man lives with his grandma.

“I watch his six-year-old son every day.”

Whoa there, Nelly. An 82-year-old woman watches her kindergarten-age great-grandson every day? Where’s the kid’s mom? (Don’t worry. The answer to that came shortly after, in the form of another bright red flag.)

“My grandson had the baby out of wedlock.”

Okay, calm down, Ruth Jr. We all make mistakes. At least he’s owning up to it and taking care of his son. I won’t crucify him for one wrong decision. (I’m a regular Mother Teresa, right?)

“He’s actually got other kids.”


“He’s actually got five kids.”

(More silence.)

“He’s got five kids from five different girlfriends.”


“But he’s changed, dear. He’s really growing up now.”


This matchmaking session ended pretty quickly after that. I love kids and all, but I’m not crazy about having five baby mamas in the picture.

The truth is, everyone has some baggage they bring into a relationship. My recommendation is to try to keep that baggage to a minimum. Just like the airlines, women can only take so much baggage before we have to start charging—usually in the form of emotional distress!

I’ve got baggage, too. I just hope it’s the kind I can check at the door of a new relationship… not the kind that will follow me for the rest of my life.

And as I venture out in search for love, I must be careful to not take on more baggage than I can handle. I’m not Southwest Airlines. I’m just a girl looking for love. And part of doing that right is protecting myself from potentially bad situations.

So as I board the plane to fly the not-so-friendly skies of dating, my bridesmaid Kristen reminds me to be careful.

“I’m gonna leave this [curtain] open! ‘Cause it’s called civil rights. This is the ‘90s!”