Dee found love in a sssurprising way.
Here, Dee Scown, 63, from Glastone, SA, shares the story in her own words.
Sitting on the sofa, I sighed out loud.
‘No more men!’ I declared.
I was 37 and had recently separated from my husband.
It was my third marriage that had ended in divorce and I couldn’t deal with any more heartache.
‘It’s just me and you now,’ I told my four-year-old daughter, Juanita.
Determined not to have another failed relationship,
I decided to put together a strict criteria rating system.
Any men I met would have to tick every point – and that would be practically impossible.
I started typing out a list.
They had to like animals and children. But I’d also rather they didn’t have their own kids – bringing up my girl was enough.
I wanted them to be happy with women working and getting an education.
Being a practical woman myself, any man would also have to be the same way.
Ultimately, my objective was to avoid all men.
A few years later, I was flicking through the local paper when
I came across a feature about a snake wrangler called Tony.
I realised he was the guy who ran my local pet shop, and the article said Tony was helping kids learn about snakes, and which ones were dangerous.
I wanted Juanita to know the difference between the venomous and non-venomous snakes, so I decided to take her to see Tony.
Giving him a buzz, he invited us to his property a few days later.
‘Hey, come in,’ Tony grinned when he opened the door.
As he showed us around, Juanita’s face lit up at all the animals.
‘Look at the chooks, Mum!’ she grinned.
Tony took us to meet eight of his pet snakes, even letting Juanita hold two of them. I smiled as I watched Tony explain the differences between them.
‘Thanks so much,’ I told him afterwards. ‘I’d love to have you over for dinner as a thank you.’
I didn’t see it as a date, it was just nice to have someone to talk to.
But chatting over chops, vegies and chips, we realised we had so much in common.
When we had a second dinner,I realised Tony could be more than a mate.
Telling him about my criteria rating system, I said, ‘You’ve messed it up, as you tick every point.’
I also told him about another list I’d written – 103 values which meant a lot to me, from political views to how to manage money.
‘Try it out with me,’ he smiled.
Discussing each value, we found we shared the same view on almost every point.
‘I guess we should give this a shot!’ Tony said.
‘I think you’re right,' I grinned.
We quickly fell in love and two years on we married.
He became like a dad to Juanita, and even walked her down the aisle.
Tony and I recently celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.
Over the years, I’ve also helped Tony as he’s rescued snakes from swimming pools and schools.
‘Who’d have thought those slithery creatures would find me love?’ I chuckle.
I just feel lucky to have finally found myself a kind, honest and caring bloke. ●