The Working Waterfront

A marriage story, viewed from one side

Snack choices betray much of personality

By Phil Crossman
Posted 2023-05-23
Last Modified 2023-05-23

A delightful compatibility has marked our marriage from day one. Not simply because she routinely anticipates my every need, including the many I did not and do not anticipate or the many others I wasn’t even cognizant of—until I become repeatedly and dimly aware that something has become easier or grown more comfortable or works better even though I’m not quite sure why or, often, even what. I simply have the sense that something is better.

Perhaps I suddenly find my shoes are more comfortable, or that I no longer have a hole in the knee of my pants, or the hardware on the rolling trash container I’ve been having trouble with now works perfectly, or the coat I like wearing but which doesn’t keep me warm during the winter is no longer hanging on the back of the door.

Instead, there is a coat I like less but which keeps me warm and comfortable.

And, during the recent post-shoulder replacement surgery recovery period, all the things I’d once reached comfortably but could no longer were suddenly down where I could easily get at them.

But compatibility implies mutual contributions and I’m afraid her own contributions outweigh mine…

But compatibility implies mutual contributions and I’m afraid her own contributions outweigh mine by a large margin. I try but anticipate very little.

I do comply with certain obligations but that’s because I’ve got them written down and my alarm set. I bring her coffee in bed every morning because I know I’m supposed to, not because I’ve anticipated it. But there’s a much more tangible manifestation of our compatibility.

I love nuts and she is allergic to them, so I have a delicious snack ready at all times, right on the open counter, undisguised because there is no danger she will eat them, and when Christmas or my birthday arrives, I can count on an exotic assortment from family and friends who know and thoughtfully acknowledge the realities—roasted nuts from Zabar’s in New York City, a tin of salted favorites from a neighbor, candied nuts, sugar-coated pecans.

Sometimes they arrive with dried fruit which I graciously share but I have the nuts all to myself. Truth be known, even if she liked them, she wouldn’t be much of a threat.

Years ago, she loved Necco Wafers and would squirrel a tube away in the cupboard which I’d inevitably discover to find that the top wafer had a nibble taken out of it—a nibble! The next day that single wafer would be further gone but not quite and on the third day it would have disappeared. On the fourth day another nibble, and so on.

When the tube got down to about 3-inches tall—just about what I could squeeze between my upper and lower teeth with my mouth wide open—I’d chomp down on the remaining cylinder and eat them all as a mouthful.

A while ago I bought a box of Klondike Bars and, ever conservative, ate seven over as many days. She nibbled one and it’s still not gone. It’s an agreeable arrangement.

Phil Crossman lives on Vinalhaven and where he owns the Tidewater Motel. He may be reached at