I feel like blogging. And not just any blogging, but the sort I did years ago, during the hey-day of the genre.
The topic? Romantic inclination. (See those seatbelts? You may want to buckle them.)
So it turns out that I'm seeing a guy. Yes, that's right. I am *seeing* him.
Who knew? I spent three years in a gay mecca after the split with my ex, and no one paid much interest.* And now that I've moved south to an exceedingly rural (albeit LOVELY) location, I have a suitor. Go figure.
To be honest, I like this man. I like him a lot. We knew each other a couple decades ago in Arizona, but we never had a chance to foment a friendship. Now, however, all that has changed. Thank you, Facebook.
I don't know what the future brings. I do know that as of a few weeks ago, we at least Viber (free texting) each day. And we also Skype. A lot. (In fact, a helluva lot.) I'm not complaining.
Wait! Skype, Viber? Why not just meet up? While that is an awesome question, dear Reader, it is also one I hate to answer.
He lives in the US. I live in Australia. Math, anyone?
He and I don't talk much about the elephant sitting in the corner. (I think that creature must migrate easily, because sometimes she haunts me and sometimes him. I keep meaning to ask her how she travels so readily.)
I only know that I am very fond of this beautiful, beardy, smart, funny man. I will attempt a mindful approach to this burgeoning [whatever]. If it works, you know I'll be dancing. If not, then I have known a man who helped me transition from nothing to something. Oh, okay, much more than something. So much for playing it cool.
* Except for the occasional 18 y/o on Grindr. Really?
Today is the three-year anniversary of my father's departure from this world. In his memory, I helped my housemate build some fence, something Dad did often. Every time I look at my vegetable garden, I think of him. I could use his advice.
I really loved my dad, and I'm glad that he and I were able to spend a fair amount of time together during his final years.
My advice: do all that you can to reach out to the ones you love, to whatever extent you are able. All too soon, they are gone from your lives.
Only a few days ago you entertained me with our usual hide-and-seek game among the bed covers. Then your cheerful tap dance in the kitchen, happily greeting me, eager for breakfast.
Now you’re gone, and the hole in my heart threatens to devour me.
I see you, Roger, everywhere I turn. I am confronted with the memory of your blithe, yet caring spirit and ever-cheerful nature cruelly juxtaposed with the desperate, frightened face of your final illness.
I scream, “It should have been me.”
It’s not at all fair. You were loved beyond measure by people near and far. We deserved more time with you. We needed it.
It should not have been your burden to carry me through rough times, but you did, and you shouldered it so well, my friend.
I will do my best to pull through. As you would have wanted. As you would have needed.
I owe your memory that much. I owe you so much more.
If I were in Arkansas today, the day that marks the second anniversary of my father's death, I would visit his gravesite. And I would dress in good clothes.
When he was alive, Dad always made sure he looked his best in public. Whenever he attended one of the performances in which I appeared during my youth, he made sure he looked good for the occasion. I loved him for that.
A handsome man to begin with, it wasn't difficult for him, but polishing his shoes and spending an extra 15 minutes on his thinning hair was a ritual I secretly admired. I may not have been invited to join him during the activities he enjoyed, but he (and my mother) always supported me when I stepped on the stage or marched on the football field. Like most men of his generation and upbringing, he wasn't vocal about his support, but he didn't need to be. His presence at these events was enough to let me know he cared and, most importantly to an insecure and diffident child, that he was proud.
And then, sometimes on the way back to the car after a performance, there was an occasional squeeze on the bicep or pat on the shoulder, a rare moment of affection that, always regrettably, made me flinch from the quiet ceremony with which it was genuinely offered. Despite my alarm, I lived for those moments. When they came, they were paragon.
During the last couple of years of Dad's life, when I was fortunate enough to spend quite a lot of time with him as he coped with his various illnesses, those precious moments became more frequent. We both discovered a renewed way of communicating. We both reveled in a marvelous and bewildering honesty that entered extraordinarily into our interactions. Literally, we could, at long last and with great ease, talk about anything.
And I made him laugh every day. Once I realised I could so, I made it my duty. On occasion, beset by fits of misery about his failing health, Dad's unshakable self-control succumbed unexpectely to tears. During those difficult moments, I struggled to fight back my own grief and did my best to console and bring him back from that horrible place in which he felt trapped. The weeping was generally short-lived, and over time I could intuit when the time was right for a joke or wisecrack. Somehow, that always worked for Dad. And fuck, he needed to laugh.
I miss the man. What I wouldn't give for one more squeeze on my arm.
Like many, I grew up listening to the vinyl albums in my parents' record collection. My father was a pretty decent baritone and had a solid collection of albums by prominent singers of his time, eg, Perry Como, Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis. In my bedroom, I secretly played these albums and sang along...when no one was around, that is, for I was told by certain family members that I couldn't sing and should stick to the clarinet.
When my high-school choir director discovered my voice at a musical theatre audition during my sophomore year, she grabbed me by the ear, dragged me to the corner of the gymnasium and hissed sternly, but affectionately, "If you don't sign up for choir next year, I'm going to pull this ear off."
I do as I'm told, and the next year I signed up for choir. Soon, I was singing in nearly every ensemble possible, from choir to pop group. I began taking private voice lessons, and singing rapidly found its place, along with clarinet and theatre, on my shelf of favourite activities.
My poor parents just shook their heads as they saw me dive right into yet another artistic endeavour that would cost them a good penny to support. I look back in admiration and with intense love for that support, unwavering and nonjudgemental.
"Jenny", by Johnny Mathis (words and music by Paul Vance and Jack Segal) was the first song I ever sang as a solo at a school assembly during my junior year. When my choir director asked what I wanted to sing and I presented this song, she didn't bat an eyelid. Yes, it was exceptionally anachronistic, and I have no doubt it caused a good bit of head-scratching among the students and faculty. But I had grown up with the song, and it seemed only right for me to sing it. And sing it, I did, trembling and ready to faint at any moment. And at the end of the song, there was applause, from my teachers and fellow students. The appreciation was hesitant, but I was happy to hear it after many years of being told to shut up while singing along with the radio.
A recent meme features the variety of positions in which a cat finds itself during sleep. It is good fun.
Anyone who has ever shared a house with feline companions knows it can be awe inspiring and giggle inducing to come upon the sleeping critters in one of their many "glamour poses", often in the strangest of places.
I don't think we should leave it to a meme to celebrate these feats of physical ability.
I've been lucky enough to have a camera at hand during some opportune moments. How about you? If you're keen, use the comments below to submit your photo and story, or send an email to sandywayne at gmail... I will be sure to include your submissions here or in future posts.