Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why the rainbows are making me cry when I'm not even gay.

Why am I so moved by all the rainbows on Facebook? I mean, I'm not gay and I'm not even "into" marriage.  So why do I tear up when I see that I am not the only member of my family to change their profile photo?
A couple of things come to mind.  One is that I still remember the first time I knowingly met someone who was gay. I was 19 and in college, still pretty conservative, questioning but not yet rejecting the  idea that  "AIDS is God's punishment for people being gay."  I was part of a panel interviewing people for the U of Kansas Information Center (KU Info).

Me:  What organizations are you involved in?
Him: I'm president of GLSOK.
Me: What's GLSOK?
Him: It stands for Gay and Lesbian Students of Kansas.
Me:  Oh.  So that means you're, um... president.

I wound up working with G. for the next three years. He would relieve me from my all-night shift, showing up perky and with a coffee or a doughnut for me. We weren't friends, per se, but we were definitely colleagues who liked each other.  I remember, too, that for a long time, he struggled with allergies and we would compare notes on this.
A few years later, I learned that he had died of HIV/AIDS, diagnosed the day his lung collapsed not long before he died.  This was at a time when Kansas doctors didn't always know to ask about risk, and patients didn't always feel like it would be safe to answer truthfully or volunteer information.

So maybe it is the power of knowing G., and how it prompted me to challenge everything I thought I "knew" about not only gay people, but any group of people.  And maybe it is the memory, too, of that painful realization of the ways in which silence in the face of bigotry, stigma, hate, and other wrongs really can equal death, and how painful that is.
Or maybe I am moved because support for marriage equality and for queer folk more broadly is in the direction of more love and inclusion in the world, rather than less.  Selfishly, that serves me pretty well.

I have spent a lot of my life feeling like I was supposed to be ashamed of parts of my life that frankly, I don't believe are shameful.  If someone cannot handle something as straightforward as people being gay, or people getting married, then I really don't see them accepting me and my life.

The SCOTUS decision represents a giant step in the direction of love and acceptance of our fellow human beings.  I really don't see how that can be anything other than a good thing for all of us.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015


I went to Florida the last 2 weeks or so to visit P's parents.

I swear I can handle almost anything provided it finds me standing on a beach with my feet in the sand, listening and watching the waves come in.

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lunar eclipse

I went outside check out the blood moon lunar eclipse. I did so knowing full well it was probably too cloudy to see anything.

As I've mentioned before, Mom was kind of a moon and stars buff. She had astronomy binoculars and a telescope on a mount in the backyard and took the occasional photo of a comets and everything. Thus, I consider it part of my "bloodline" to go stand in the middle of a road and look at the sky. Even if that road is Broadway Avenue, NYC.

 (Plus, she died a few minutes into Easter Sunday. I am sufficiently self-absorbed to take this lunar eclipse as evidence of her communicating from the Great Beyond.)

So I didn't see the lunar eclipse. But the sky was beautiful all the same. Some things can not be what we had hoped they would be and still be pretty darned good. © Copyright by author 2008-2015. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Here's to ordinary Dads.

Today marks the one year anniversary of my dad's death.
Hard as hell because I miss him so damned much.
At the same time, as long as there are ordinary men in the world
who may not look like much or dress like much and don't put much stock in appearances or material possessions;
who by word and mostly by example quietly encourage their kids to do the right thing ("remember the poor");
who believe in mercy and honesty;
who are never violent;
who have a soft spot for people who were struggling, whatever the reason;
who would get off a tractor at 9 or 10 o'clock at night, come home to his middle daughter waiting up for him because of a missing kitten and help her to find it;
who believe that you have an obligation to do the right thing, even if was not the easy thing or the popular thing;
as long as there are quiet, ordinary men in the world trying in their ordinary ways to do right by their families and their neighbors . . .
then his spirit really does live on.

© Copyright by author 2008-2015. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Things that matter and things that don't.


The first and second anniversaries of Mom and Dad's deaths are coming up at the end of this month. I remember/know the date Mom died, but not that of Dad's.  I don't want to know, the same way a person doesn't necessarily care to know the temperature of the red hot iron that burnt them, or how deep the ocean that nearly drowned them, or the height of the building they jumped/fell/were pushed off of.

I am just hanging on with both hands and trying to get through it all, still stunned that something could be so painful and not kill me or could take so much out of my life and still leave me enough to live on.  I marvel, and maybe it is the marveling that kind of gets me through because I've never felt anything like this before and I'm learning things about myself and life that are good things to know and actually  the sort of things I'm pretty sure my parents knew from a long life that was so tied to the seasons, a living that was often dramatically altered by the elements.

They were the sort of people I wish I could talk to about how very much I miss my parents.


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Sunday, March 8, 2015


The photo is a from a few weeks ago. I went to DC for a day or two. I came home on a 3:45 am train.  I caught this as we passed by New Jersey.

Today, I picked up a needle and thread for the first time in months. I stitched up a ripped coat pocket.  Pierre brought me roses.  I made some tea.  Mostly, though, I thought about my parents and how much I wish they were still in the world.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mom, DNA, and a post office on 125th Street.

This year, I sent out xmas cards using postage from Mom's stamp collection.  It was kind of a pain because some of those stamps were quite old and the adhesive had dried up so I had to use a glue stick. Still, I enjoyed going through the stamps and thinking of Mom as I did so, and how she encouraged us kids to have collections (I collected napkins; my little sister collected matchbooks, my older brother collected rocks and postcards. As for my big sister and my little brother, I'm not so sure. My big sister may have collected stamps too.)

Anyway, earlier today, I wandered to my new local post office on 125th Street in Harlem.  I still have the habit of "wondering as I wander" what Mom (or sometimes, Dad) would think of something.  In this case, I wondered what she would make of the post office, the people standing on line, the size of it, and the fact that it is just a few doors down from the Apollo theatre.

But it wasn't until I dropped the stamps into the mail box that I realized that it was very likely (if I'm wrong, I don't want to be corrected) that because Mom handled these stamps (choosing them, buying them, admiring them, putting them in an album) at least some of them likely had her DNA on them, that there was this biological evidence of Mom's existence right there with me in Harlem.
It was a comfort.

All the same, it is hard to let this year end knowing that it is the last year that I got to share at least part of it with one of my parents.  I miss them.

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