by John Norberg, humor columnist s

The older I get the more I understand.

When I was young I thought what women wanted in a man was a handsome movie star, muscle toned athlete, daring mountain climber.

If my grandsons asked me today what a woman wants in a man, I'd have a different answer: A guy excited to go home every evening to love his family - who and can fix a toilet and will help around the house without too much grumbling.

If he also happens to be handsome, muscle-toned and daring - well, that's okay with women, too.

I'm smarter than I used to be. In fact, after putting toys together for three children and three grandchildren I qualify for an engineering degree.

I've learned life also comes with some assembly required. You have to figure it out as you go.

Years ago our youngest daughter had started walking when my wife and I went to a store and saw something we had to buy:

Clip Clop The Wonder Horse.

In the store he was a beautifully assembled, plastic, tan horse, attached to a blue stand by strong springs. When you flipped a switch on his belly, he made a "clip clop" sound like a real horse.

The Clip Clop I bought came in100 pieces.

Wife: "How long will it take to put it together?"

Me: "Four or five."

Wife: "Hours!"

Me: "Years."

I finished after three trips to the hardware store and one to Urgent Care.

I picked up our daughter and held her on Clip Clop. She bounced, rocked and laughed with delight. Soon she was rocking on her own, so hard she bounced across the floor and banged the furniture - to her delight. And mine.

But the little girl grew up. She left Clip behind. Three grandchildren came next and rocked Clip across the floor until they outgrew him too.

Today, Clip rests, slightly scared, in our basement waiting for kids who no longer come; remembering days when he was the delight of childhood dreams, racing across plains of the old west.

Recently, after my birthday, I got to feeling a little like Clip Clop - remembering the fun, wondering if time had passed me by, too. The phone rang.

"Hey granddad, you wanna play golf?"

The older I get the more I understand - I've got a lot more rides in me yet!

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