Friday, June 20, 2008

Midsummer's Night

Happy solstice kids! Today is the longest day of the year. For me at least there is always something magical about solstice. Whether it is the longest day of the year or the shortest. In the winter it seems like the end of the slow decline into the dark and that the days will eventually start to lengthen noticeably and that warm weather will finally return.

The summer solstice is more about beginnings. Summer is truly on. Long hot lazy days are being promised. I think of days long past. Summers in the Green Mountains where constellations of fireflies danced in the black evening. Too hot to sit in the house, winding down the day in the backyard playing tag or hide and seek out in the yard until we were finally called into the house and to bed.

Later, long hot sunsets out at the lake with friends, sitting on the hood of a Chevy, drinking beer, making plans for what our lives would be like once we were real adults. The rest of life stretching before us as full of potential as the brief months of summer before us. The optimism and hubris of youth.

Later, it would be sunset parties out at Race Point, watching the sun set over the ocean, cocktails in cutoffs and t-shirts, feeling the days heat ebb away from the sand under our feet, the gentle soothing sound of the ocean breaking on the shore. Discussing the days misconduct and planning the evening. Who was hot, who was not and who we were hoping to maneuver into bed. There seemed no finer thing in this life than to be in love or lust or both. Happy that we were young and secure in the knowledge that we would never grow any older.

Once again the promise is hanging out there, tantalizing, unrealizable. Hot days, cool oceans, sand under bare feet, short nights that just might hold adventure. Is it any wonder that days like this seem like magic?

"I have had a dream, - past the wit of man to say what a dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was- there is no man can tell what. Methought I was and methought I had, - but man is but a patcht fool, if he offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was."

William Shakespeare

A Midsummer's Night Dream

Have a great summer everyone.

Mr. Hot Dom Top Daddy

I've learned to live with gray hair. My beard is pretty much white, the hair is getting more gray, even as we speak, gray in my eyebrows on my chest and down in the south 40. But the other day I found a gray hair on my arm! WTF is that about?

So far the words of wisdom I have received have been:

Monkey: "So, is your ear hair starting to turn gray?"

La Simpatica: "This is why Brazilian waxes are so important."

On the other hand things can't be all bad. I ran into Mike and another gardener Ron, last night. Naturally, as gay men we were discussing the important topics of the day, our weight and our workouts. Ron was making Oooooo noises about Mike's admittedly impressive guns. Mike was having none of it and was talking about bulking up a little.

Mike: "I'm thinking about putting on 5 lbs."

Ron: "How much do you weigh?"

Mike: "About 165."

Me: "Christ, you only outweigh me by 5 lbs!"

Mike: "Yeah, but you're all muscle."

Ron: "Yeah, you're looking pumped, dude. You still going to the gym a lot?"

Me: "These tits don't happen all by themselves."

Mike: "You should see his picture on his blog. He looks like Mr. Hot Dom Top Daddy."

Mr. Hot Dom Top Daddy? Maybe I should change my blog handle. (I just know that bitch RG is pissing himself laughing reading this)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On Saturday, I decided to get my pride on by going to the North Shore and visiting the Niece. She has just purchased a house and I had yet to see it. Traveling up there I have 2 options. One is to take the subway out to Wonderland and have her drive to Revere to pick me up. The other option is to take the commuter rail from North Station to Salem which is only one town over from her new place of residence.

I decided on the commuter rail. The ride is actually pretty nice for reasons I can't explain rationally. It could just be the novelty factor. I rarely use the commuter rail. It also tends to be a lot less crowded, at least on weekends.

So, still not feeling 100%, I headed off to into the public transit system. I got to North Station, switched from the subway to the commuter rail and headed north. One of the things about taking the train out of town is that you pass through an industrial wasteland. I don't know why, but there is something about it that fascinates me. Fortunately, I had my camera with me, so I snapped a few shots of the train heading out of Boston and environs.

Oh, and if any of you are saying, "What's so gay about going to visit your niece?", we spent most of our time looking at paint chips and talking color schemes. How gay is that?

(BTW, honey. Don't buy any paint until we've talked some more about it. We need to talk more about accent colors)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Second opinion

I was starting to wonder if I really had food poisoning last week after I ran into Mike and he told me something was going around. But, Friday I was feeling a little better by the afternoon, so I figured "Hey, it's almost over with."

Saturday, I woke up feeling kinda crappy, but I went up to the North Shore to see the nieces new house. It was fun. We looked at paint chips and talked about color schemes. It was probably a lot gayer thing to do, than attend the boredom that it Boston Pride. Emboldened, I ate dinner that night.

Big mistake.

Yesterday, I spent the day feeling just plain awful. I am not feeling a whole lot better today, but I came into work anyway, 'cause God only knows what they'll get up to in my absence that I'll wind up having to straighten out later.

One of my co-workers came in and asked me how I was feeling and then started questioning me about symptoms. It turns out she started to feel lousy on Saturday and as far as we can tell, we both have the same thing.

As long as we stay away from solid food things are fine. We are both drinking lots of water and as I pointed out to her, on the upside, I've now dropped 5 lbs since Weds!

If this keeps up for another week, I should be at my goal weight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Doris answers the phone. "I suppose you'll want to talk to the man of the hour?"

She puts the old man on the phone. "Hello? What say? I can't hear you. I've gotten so damned deaf."

I raise my voice. Shouting Father's Day greetings into the phone. Is it my cell phone I wonder? But no, he tells me my younger brother had called earlier and Dad couldn't hear him either. There is a workman in the house. Something that would never have happened in an earlier life. That house which the old man had plumbed, insulated, wired and heated. Drywall, cabinets, tile and paint. Now, someone hired to come in and fix a problem with the bathroom.

"How's your garden?", I shout into the mouthpiece.

"Not so good. I'm so damned dizzy all the time now I can't really get out there anymore", is his answer.

One more insult from time. His garden, one of his prides and joys, his escape from my mother and her bossing has been taken away.

Pity wells up in me. Pity and sorrow. Where is my father? Where is the strong, sometimes brutal, often cruel and at times oddly sensitive man whose roof I grew up under?

I search for some moment of joy, some happiness from my childhood with my Dad. And like most gifts it comes when you need it.

The day in early spring when we had gone up to Pepé's farm, to help my Uncle Eugene look for the cow that had wandered off to calf on her own. Climbing the mountain that was part of Sunnydale farm, climbing through the dappled sunlight in the old hardwood growth. Suddenly, he motions my brother John and I to stop, silently. He leans down and brushes away some leaves and as if by magic, reveals a fawn, lying perfectly still, only quivering slightly as it blends tawny red fur and white spots, disguising it in a nest of old leaves. He brushes the leaves back over the fawn and we move on to look for bossy and Dad tells us about the fawn they had raised here on the farm when he was a boy. Jigs. Jigs who had been hit by a harvester in the field and who they had nursed back to health. Jigs the deer, who came when called, that they had bottle fed and was like a pet. How one fall Jigs was shot by a hunter, because he wasn't afraid of people.

Is this the man who once hit me in the face so hard, he broke my glasses and then beat me for making him break those glasses?

Is this the same man, who would pull the car over in spring, just to stop and smell the scent of apple blow, when the orchards that dotted the Vermont hills in those days were in bloom? Who loved the roses he grew against all logic in Vermont? Vermont is a climate not kind to roses.

The same man, who when my cat got sick, got drunk and then, too drunk to do it himself, made my older brother take the cat out in the back, dig a hole and shoot it because, "he wasn't going to waste good money on a damned cat"?

I know he would have preferred to stay on the farm. But Doris was not going to be a farmers wife. It is a hard life and one she was not willing to take on. So he drank and worked at a job he did not like.

I cannot say if he would have been any happier on the farm than he was doing what he did. Supervising the facilities crew at the local college.

I still cannot reconcile the man who disdained me at every opportunity, yet who came up to bat for me when my mother objected to my buying a car when I was a teenager. The contradiction of the man who never finished high school and resented the educated, but insisted that his kids were going to go to college. This man who made no attempt to disguise his distaste for me when I was a child and now cries when I come to visit and cries when I leave.

I shout into the phone, trying to make myself heard, over the phone across the miles and the years. All of the anger and hatred and sullen grudges have been washed away by time. If it has not left love, there is compassion and pity and sorrow. Sorrow that this once strong, brash, boastful man, is simply fading, trapped in a body that has betrayed him.

Is there love there? I don't know. They tell me I am like my father. Physically, I am told I resemble him more than my brothers, emotionally, we are both pig headed and impatient, but that I think is true of all us boys. When I look back on my youth, there is too much to be regretted, too much I am not proud of, which on dark nights comes back to haunt me with my own bad behavior. Does that make me like my father? Will I find the compassion I need to forgive myself for my own sins?

I can find compassion and forgiveness for my father, but I don't know if there is any love, which requires some connection. Perhaps it is because it is sometimes not a pleasant thing to look in the mirror, to be reminded of all the flaws. Maybe that was why he disliked me so much when I was a child and eventually, I him. We were both too willful and too bent on having our own way. We could not understand each other because we could not get the distance to see each other in focus. We were always in it nose to nose.

"I'm going to give the phone back to your mother. I can't hear a damned thing!", he says into the phone.

Doris gives me the litany of Dad's latest complaints and ailments. What he needs to see the doctor about next, the order of doctors that have to be consulted before anything is done to make sure they are all on the same page. How this is made more difficult by Dad's increasing deafness and that unless she talks to the doctor herself afterwards, important information can be missing, having gone unheard. She tells me about the bathroom and the work being done. We talk about how Dad did things, sometimes not to the best effect, have a good natured laugh about him and his ways and then we say our good byes.

I ring off my cell and I feel sad. And maybe that is love or at least love of a kind. Could you feel that kind of sorrow for anyone you didn't love?