|Me at my friend Ed's place on Laurel Street in Rehoboth Beach, DE - Master of my Universe|
Well, here we are at the end of another year. Don't they seem to go by with ever increasing speed as we get older? Remember those calendar page flipping scenes in those old 40's movies that show the passage of time? That's the way I feel my life is going now.
I was going to do a list recapping my past year, which has been some year. Perhaps the most life changing year I've ever had in my life. But I know I'm bored to death when they do those year end lists on TV so I'll try and make this as painless as possible. Thus is my list of the pluses and minuses for Ron this year.
January - I had a prostate cancer biopsy. The procedure was painful and humiliating (stirrups with women walking around). The outcome was that I was diagnosed with cancer in six of the twelve samples taken. I guess this was a Plus, because I found the cancer and a Minus, because of the torture like procedure (they should use this on Al Qaida suspects) I had to undergo. No anesthetic. MINUS.
|Urology Associates - |
|If this "hobby horse" could talk - censored!|
April - we had our first ever Bloggerpalooza. This was where I actually got to meet face to face fellow bloggers. The event was held at my workplace in Lewes and it was a great success. So successful that we're having another one this year and will continue to do so as long as there is interest. This one was a Plus.
|Blogger pals Jay, Anne Marie, Java and me|
|Jay, Nate, Ciubby, Superman, Java, Doug, Michael, Ron and David at Stripper Bites|
April - Bill and I made our annual trip South to visit his hometown in Toccoa Georgia. We also visited my father's birthplace in the mountains of western North Carolina. For the first time I wanted to visit my great-great grandfather John Tipton's grave (I just discovered its location this year). I also wanted to introduce my cousin Bob Tipton and his wife to a distant relative of ours (our grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister). This was a plus and minus trip. The plus was visiting the grave. The minus was being threatened by her son because I was gay. He told me not to step foot on their property or else I "would have to deal with him." Why was I threatened you ask? Because he asked if I practiced "the homosexual lifestyle." After I told him I was gay he banned me from his parents' property. Homophobia is alive and well in the western North Carolina mountains.
|Upper Pigeon Roost Road, North Carolina|
|No longer welcomed because I "practice the homosexual lifestyle" guess who issued this proclamation? Yep, "Bubba" on the right|
April - I was asked to and did testify before both houses of the Delaware State legislature for marriage equality (same sex marriage). Something I have never done before in my life and was nervous as Hell doing but I did it. I don't know how much my testimony had to do with the passage of marriage equality for Delaware but I'm glad I had a part in it.
|The press ready for the testimonies for Marriage Equality at the Delaware State Legistlature|
|Me in the gallery waiting for my turn to testify|
|Me out on the plaza being OUT again - much to Bill's chagrin|
May - I underwent brachytherapy seed implant for my prostate cancer. Again, a plus because my cancer is being treated and a minus, because of the side effects which I am still suffering to this day and will for the next twelve months.
|The Tunnell Cancer Center - where my |
|No caption needed|
July - after 49 years of living together, Bill and I got married. Now I can die without having to worry that Bill will be homeless because he doesn't have the money to pay the death taxes on our home (which is in my name, which we did years to protect our assets).
|Me and Bill the day we got our marriage license - unbelievable|
|Bill and I taking our marriage vows (Bill is hard of hearing)|
|Finally! After 49 years….married!|
August - I met Pat, my alter ego. After 71 years I met someone who is so much like me that he could be my brother. More than my brothers because I don't always get along with them but I do Pat. For those of you who can't quite figure out my relationship with Pat; let me assure you I am still with Bill and will stay married to Bill. However, Pat is the friend I have been looking for all these years. He is nonjudgmental, he has similar interests that I have, he has a wonderful sense of humor, he's not after me for my money (which I don't have anyway, I'm "house rich") and he's cute. I enjoy being with Pat and he likes me. What more can one ask for in a friend? I have other friends but they are either straight and their wives are their first priority (which I understand) or they have other things going on in their lives and no time for me (telling it like it is folks). Pat likes me and I like him and we can do things together that Bill and I don't do. It is a simple as that. It's not complicated.
|Me and Pat at Cafe Azafran in Rehoboth enjoying a vegan meal (Pat's a vegan)|
|Pat and me in my driveway with his little tan Fiat that he drove all the way down from Toronto, Canada|
|Pat on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach - Pat is a lot of fun - no strings, bad vibes or judgements with Pat - just a good time|
September - My kidney stones returned. First on the left side resulting in a visit to the ER. Then a week later on the right side….another visit to the ER. This kidney stone didn't pass like the previous one. My doctor advised "five days for it to pass." This was over the Labor Day Weekend. Eight days passed before I had to go to the ER again, this time resulting in a two night stay in the hospital and an operation to "blast" the stuck kidney stone which had not moved after eight days. On the third ER visit I was sure I was "checking out" of this world. I surprised myself because I got all teary eyed thinking of everything I had not had time to do. But I survived. However, my operation to blast the stuck kidney stone resulted in having a stent placed in my ureter canal (urinary canal) for two weeks then another operation for a "water bath" to remove the three remaining kidney stones stuck at the top of my ureter canal. I had more surgical operations this year folks (three) that I've had in my entire life. I survived. Oh, did I mention the excruciating pain during this whole kidney stone drama? All I can say is imagine the worst and then go ten times. That's how it felt at times but I'm here now to write about it for which I am thankful. Minuses and pluses here folks. Choose your favorite.
|First kidney stone passed - the others didn't|
|Infused with pain killers waiting for the other kidney stone that was stuck to pass - EIGHT DAYS - it didn't pass|
|One of three Emergency Room visits to pass kidney stones on both sides - when it rains it pours|
|Bill waiting in the ER for me|
|Out of the ER and into a hospital bed on my 3rd ER visit - pain was unbearable - jammed full of pain killers in this photo|
Tunnel Cancer Center
Milford Hospital - do I win a prize?
|"I don't remember a thing, that sure was some good anesthesia!"|
October - I had my bi-annual Tipton Family Reunion. It was a bust. I don't know why, but most of my family just isn't interested in attending the family reunion including my two brothers and their family. I was disappointed and hurt and will never have another family reunion. A definite Minus.
|Basically, this was the reunion - a few hardy folks who were interested|
|Plenty of room at the pavilion|
|I don't know who brought the cake but I thank them|
|Me discussing something with my cousin Richard Tipton who catered the reunion - we had plenty of food leftover|
November - I realized a dream of many years to revisit my former hometown and place of employment of Philadelphia. For years I wanted a "last blast" of walking those city streets that I walked from 1965 to 1997 but I didn't want to do it by myself. Bill doesn't like to travel. For years I vacationed alone in Provincetown. I did not want to visit Philadelphia alone. Fortunately for me my alter ego, Pat, graciously consented to go with me. Oh sure, at time I came close to boring him to death walking him to many of my old haunts and relating my memories of those places and people to him, but, bless his heart, he never complained once. See why I like Pat? Anyway, my "last blast" trip was everything I had hoped it would be. A definite PLUS.
|View of Walnut Street from our room at the Latham Hotel|
|Me and Pat in center city Philadelphia - walking those mean streets|
December - and here we are at the end of the year. I'm still working (two nights a week) at a job that I like with folks that I like. My job gives me the opportunity to meet people and be in situations that I still matter. I need to be "professional" at least a couple of times a week. This works for me. Also, my job enables me to make some extra money which I can do "last blasts" and pay $300 a year for my Ancestry.com membership, which I rarely use. Little extravagances like this matter to me, especially at this time of my life. Another definite PLUS.
|A rough year folks but I survived and am ready for next year|
A few weeks ago, checking names for my Christmas card list, I discovered two more friends and co-worker from my former life had passed on. Both were younger than me. I know that now I'm operating on Gravy Time. Each day is a gift. And that definitely is a PLUS.
Happy New Year everyone! See you next year.