Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Earl and Opal Pickles share comic advice on love and marriage

Love is a funny thing. • Not strange funny, haha funny. • If you remember that, you'll never have another lousy Valentine's Day. • Just ask Earl and Opal Pickles (we did, with a wink to Brian Crane). They should know. The 70-something couple who love each other and drive each other crazy every day on the comics pages have been married for half a century. Now, that's a long time. • Might just say they're experts on keeping love from souring. • But, not to leave out the more than 400,000 of you in the Tampa Bay area who are over 50 and single, widowed or divorced, they also have some advice for finding love. • So, read on. After all, the worst that can happen is you'll get a brief respite from crying in that box of Russell Stover chocolates you bought for yourself — at half price — the day after Valentine's Day.

Q: Hi, Opal and Earl. We want to ask you about love. Who's the expert?

Opal: In matters of the heart, I suppose that would be me.

Earl: She's right. Dear Abby even calls her for advice when she gets stuck.

Q: How did you meet and fall in love?

Opal: Well, Earl started out dating my sister, Pearl.

Earl: That's right. But I dumped her for Opal. She was the "Opal of my eye," to coin a phrase.

Q: And, you've been married for 50 years? What's the key to a long and happy marriage?

Earl: Always make sure your wife is happy. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. If Papa ain't happy, don't nobody care.

Opal: Amen.

Q: What do people think is important in a relationship that isn't?

Earl: Seeing eye to eye. I don't think it's important for a couple to agree on everything.

Opal: What? Yes, it is.

Earl: No, it's not.

Opal: YES, IT IS!

Earl: ISN'T!!

Opal: IS!!!

Q: Okay, okay … let's go on. What do people think is NOT important in a good relationship but it is?

Earl: Television. What has saved our marriage time after time is having two TV sets.

Opal: And a half-dozen remotes to replace the ones you keep losing.

Q: The reason we're asking is because a lot of people were alone on Valentine's Day. We thought maybe you had some advice so they would never have to spend another Valentine's Day alone.

Opal: Come over to our house. We're not doing much, but you can eat popcorn and watch I Love Lucy reruns with us.

Q: Before you go, would you tell us some funny love stories?

Earl: I remember our big wedding anniversary party a few years ago. We were out on the dance floor dancing and Opal whispered in my ear, "Thank you, Earl."

I said, "For what?"

And she said, "For 40 years of happiness."

I replied, "But we've been married for 50 years … "

And she said, "Yeah, I know."

Opal: Speaking of anniversaries, what about the time you gave me an anniversary card and wrote on it "To My Dearest Sweaty Pie"?

Earl: Hey! So I'm not a great speller. You know what I meant.

Q: What do you know about love that you wish you had known 50 years ago?

Earl: Love means never having to say you're sorry for leaving the toilet seat up.

Q: Why do you think older people are afraid to go looking for love?

Opal: Well, it's been years since I've been in that situation, but I think it probably seems like a lot of work to make yourself attractive enough to be out in the dating market again.

Earl: That's right. I wouldn't grow out my comb-over again for anybody.

Q: Is there anything we forgot to ask that you'd like to tell people?

Opal: Whatever you do, don't become one of those terminally serious people. No one wants to be around them. Remember to keep your sense of humor and you will never be alone.

Earl: That's right. Laughter is like changing a baby's diaper. It doesn't solve any problems permanently, but it makes things better for a while.

12 million

People older than 50 in the United States who are actively dating


Single people over the age
of 50 in the Tampa Bay area


Number of years Pickles has been around


Number of newspapers Pickles appears in


How old Earl and Opal are

8,000 +

Number of Pickles strips that have appeared

Sources: AARP, Brian Crane, Times news researcher Natalie A. Watson

Earl and Opal Pickles share comic advice on love and marriage 02/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 6:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In Syria's Raqqa, IS makes last stand at city's stadium


    BEIRUT — U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces battling the Islamic State group in Syria captured the city hospital in Raqqa on Tuesday, leaving IS militants holed up at the local stadium, their last stand in the fight over what was once the extremists' de facto capital.

    This frame grab from video released Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 and provided by Furat FM, a Syrian Kurdish activist-run media group, shows Syrian Islamic State group fighters who surrendered entering a base of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in Raqqa, Syria. A spokesman for the SDF in Syria says it will be in control of the northern city of Raqqa "within a few days" after attacking the last pocket held by the Islamic State group. SDF fighters launched an operation to retake the last IS-held pocket of Raqqa after some 275 militants and their family members surrendered. [Furat FM via AP]
  2. Florida education news: Constitution changes, #HB7069, school security and more


    NEW RULES: Once every 20 years, Florida convenes a commission to examine whether the state constitution needs amending. Education — Article IX — can play a pivotal role, and this time around the subject appears to be coming into focus for possible change. Members of the public already have

  3. Forecast: Sporadic showers across Tampa Bay as heat is kept in check


    Sporadic showers and storms swept through Tampa Bay early Tuesday morning, dropping over an inch of rain in some areas.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Ophelia batters UK after pummeling Ireland, leaves 3 dead


    LONDON — Storm Ophelia is battering Scotland and Northern England after leaving three people dead and hundreds of thousands without power in Ireland.

    A woman stands as waves crash against the sea wall at Penzanze, Cornwall southwestern England, as the remnants of  Hurricane Ophelia begins to hit parts of Britain and Ireland. Ireland's meteorological service is predicting wind gusts of 120 kph to 150 kph (75 mph to 93 mph), sparking fears of travel chaos. Some flights have been cancelled, and aviation officials are warning travelers to check the latest information before going to the airport Monday. [Ben Birchall | PA via AP]
  5. 'Oh, my God, this is crazy!' The 911 calls as Hollywood nursing home residents died (w/video)


    One by one, the calls for help poured in from nurses at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

    The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where 14 residents died during an air conditioning failure in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Hollywood, Fla., Sept. 14, 2017. The police released 911 calls from a nursing home under investigation after some of its residents died in the post-hurricane heat. [Scott McIntyre | The New York Times]