Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans' Day 2018

My Uncle John Tipton (on the right)

Today is Veterans' Day. I would like to honor two of my uncles who served in World War II. 

John Hannum Tipton was my father's younger brother. He was a paratrooper during World War II. He was captured by the Germans shortly after he parachuted into Belgium during World War II in 1943.  He was a prisoner of war for two years. He escaped twice and was recaptured twice. He was liberated in April of 1945, two months after his mother died.  His mother (my paternal grandmother) died think Uncle John died in the war. My younger brother John, who was born in 1944 was named after my Uncle John, in his memory, my father also thinking his brother had died in the war. Uncle John was held as a prisoner of war by the Germans in an Austrian castle. I wish I could have talked to him about that but his widow, my Aunt Peggy, said John would never talk about his experience except to say that they ate potato soup made of potato skins, which at that time was considered garbage. Little did the Germans know that their prisoners were eating the mot beneficial part of the potato.  I love potato skins and twice baked stuffed potatoes. In fact I had one tonight. In a cruel twist of fate, my Uncle John died in an industrial accident at thirty-nine years of age. He was a painter.  His overalls turpentine coated overalls caught on fire from a discarded cigarette.  He died three days later of burns over eighty-percent of his body. The last time I saw him he was swathed in bandages and looked like a mummy. He was my favorite uncle. He was the only uncle I had who would give me an occasional friendly wink. He never treated me like a child. He was also my cousins favorite uncle. I was a pallbearer at his funeral. I cried uncontrollably when I helped to carry his casket (along with my two younger brothers, all of us in our Army uniforms - we were all in the Army at that time) when we entered the Catholic church to the choir singing.  I will never forget that beautiful moment. Thank you Uncle John for your service to our country.

George Lincoln Hadfield, Jr. 

My other uncle who served in the Army during the war was my Mother's older brother, George Lincoln Hadfield. He served in Germany in the Engineer Corps. Uncle George survived the war. Never married.  I always suspected he was gay but I have no proof of that.  He also did not treat me like a child. He didn't wink at me but always was kind and warm to me.  I looked forward to seeing him every Christmas when he would come around with a cash gift for me and my brothers. Uncle George lived with his father all his life. A year after his father (my grandfather) died, Uncle George also died in a freak accident. He retired from Lukens Steel on Friday, July 1, 1983. He was mowing his grass that Saturday July 2nd. A bee stung him in his throat. He went into shock and died Sunday July 3rd, 1983.  The irony is that he lived his whole live with his father, who died the year before. Uncle George only got to live a year by himself before he died.  I will always regret that I didn't have a chance to talk to him about why he never married. I was too caught up in my life at that time. But I do remember at my grandfather's funeral  the year before when Uncle George saw me, he gave me a "knowing look."  I had not seen him for some years (since I was a kind of ten or so) and he seem to "understand" that we were kindred spirits. Was Uncle George gay? I'll never know.  He was hunter and very masculine. Uncle George private life will remain a family mystery. 

Today I honor both of these men, uncles on both sides of my family for their service to our country and for being uncles who were to me more loving than my father was not. I often tried to imagine a life where either one of these men was my father instead of the father I had, who incidentally did not service in the service. He was medically exempt. Believe it or not my father was hit in the head with a hatchet when he was ten years old (I'm not kidding) and had a brain concussion and thus exempt from the service during World War II.  Also the fact that he had three children under the age of five years. During the war my father was a long distance truck driver so he did his part for the War effort too, not to diminish him. But my father was distant and not loving or accepting. I've often wondered would I be gay if I had a father who was loving and accepting like my Uncle John or Uncle George?  Well, I've went long enough on this tangent which was supposed to be a tribute to two of my uncles who service this country during time of war. 

Thank you Uncle John and Uncle George. You will always live forever in my memory as loving and kind men.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Reflections on Marching to 78 Years Old

77 year old Ron -fading away but still look better than Mitch McConnell who I am older than!

The birthday celebrations are over folks! Well, actually there were no birthday celebrations. But that is just fine, I prefer quiet birthdays.  I'm not one for surprise birthday parties or any birthday parties.  I've had a few in my lifetime.  While I appreciate the effort my friends put into the parties, I'm just as happy to have a quiet passage of yet another year. 

Now this may surprise you but I'm not sad at growing older.  I know my years left are a lot less than I have to live.  Doesn't make me sad. When I was young I was concerned that when I became an old man no one would want me.  No one would like me.  You know what?  Your view of the world changes when you become old.  At least my view has changed.  

I still find it hard to believe that I am this age.  That I have outlived so many of my friends, former co-workers and family.  When I was younger, I never expected to make it past sixty years of age.  In fact, would consider myself very lucky if I reached that grand old age of sixty.  

I remember when I first started going to gay bars when I was twenty-one years old.  I was warned by friends "Don't go into THAT bar, that's a "wrinkle bar."  I asked "What's a wrinkle bar?"  I was told that was a bar "where all the old queens gathered."  I thought, "Would I be one of those old queens gathering with other old queens lamenting about our lost youth?"  Of course I avoided those Wrinkle Bars like a plague.  I certainly didn't want to be associated with one of THOSE bars.  

The first person I was intimate with was twenty-nine years to my twenty-one years old.  I remember at the time thinking I was doing him "a favor" because he was "so old."  Can you believe it!?  Of course I like the guy and thought he was hot but still, to my youthful foolishness at that time I thought he was an old man.  Then I met Bill, the man I've been living with the past fifty-four years. He was their-five to my twenty-two years old.  Man oh man, he was OLD.  Almost old enough to be my father.  Now Bill is ninety to my seventy-seven, we're both old men. Doesn't make a difference. 

Now here's something that I thought would never happen in my life. I'm not actually attracted to young men.  Oh sure, I find them attractive but for me to hunger after one of them?  Not in my DNA now, for which I am so thankful for.  I am way more attracted to my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat, who I think is incredibly hot.  Even after five years of knowing him, he is one sexy guy!  Nice guy too.  Maybe that's why I find him so attractive.  Young guys like a forty-five or fifty year old?  Nothing. And even younger?  That's laughable for which I an SO THANKFUL.  I remember seeing this one old guy in the bars when I was young lusting after the young guys.  I was concerned tat that time that I would be that old man.  Thank you God for not letting that happen to me.

Today is the first day of my 78th year.  I'm not as limber as I was sixty years ago.  I need a nap every day.  My stomach is more sensitive.  My body aches every day from the onset of arthritis. I have a respiratory condition which is very bothersome.  I have an extra heartbeat for which I take medication.  I take a daily pill for my prostate, for which I an now a five year survivor of prostate cancer. I've suffered more bouts of kidney stones than I can remember and have an appointment next week with my urologist who is monitoring a kidney stone that is ready to fall.  I only have half my teeth.  My eye doctor told me my cataracts are coming.  You get the idea, I'm slowly falling apart.  But I'm still here folks and living a comfortable life.  

No complaints here folks. Any regrets?  Oh sure but I chalk them all up to a learning experience.  

That's life folks!  

Friday, November 09, 2018

Happy Birthday Ron!

"Ronnie" Tipton - 1952

Today I cross the threshold of seventy-seven years. Yes folks, I am THAT old. Wow, how did I ever get here?  

At one time, when I was a young man I feared getting old. Now that I am here, I don't mind. Oh sure, I would like to go back to that young body. Not to wake up in the morning with the pain of arthritis. To have all my teeth. To not have a sagging face. To have my crystal clear memory. But  you know what folks?  Being seventy-seven years old isn't all that bad.  

I know I have less years left on this earth than I have lived but I don't feel bad about that either. I have lived a good life.  Sure, I've had my share of downs but not too many considering others.  Actually I've had a really good life.  And at this time of my life I'm in a pretty good place. A nice, comfortable home. Enough income of pay my bills. A long term loving relationship with Bill, my life partner of fifty-four years.  A wonderful friendship with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat. A good part-time job. My blogger friends. 

The photo on this post is of me taken in 1952 when I was a fifth grader. I was full of anticipation and hope for the future. That future has been realized. 

Happy birthday to me!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Another Shooting

I woke up this morning to the news of yet another random shooting.  This one happened overnight at a western bar/nightclub in Thousand Oaks California. Twelve innocent people were killed pus the gunman.  

This was a club frequented by college kids.  The motive is still unknown but what is known is the killer was yet another angry white man.  

It is clear now that the greatest danger to people like you and me ate domestic terrorists. Usually angry white men with easy access to automatic weapons.  

Last night I had trouble sleeping knowing that Trump put a political hack as Attorney General of the United States. This person Trump saw on CNN saying that the Mueller investigation needed to be "reigned in."  Yes, Trump hired someone he saw on television that he thinks will help him end the Mueller investigation. This information was enough to keep me from having a good sleep last night.  Then I awake this morning to yet another shooting.  

I thought I would be relieved after the mid-term elections especially since the Democrats took over the House of Representatives. But I'm not relieved, especially after that bizarre press conference that Trump had yesterday in which he deliberately baited a CNN reporter (Jim Acosta).  

I've lived a long time friends but never in my life did I think I would be witnessing what is happening in our country now.  This is nothing less than a cold civil war.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Constitutional Crises

Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions today.

Trump replaced Sessions with a Trump loyalist who has publicly criticized the Special Counsel Mueller investigation. It's obvious what is going on, Trump is going to try and stop the Special Counsel's investigation into his collusion with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election and Trump's subsequent obstruction of justice.  This is no secret, Trump has done all of this out in the open.

Trump is afraid. He showed it during his press conference today in which he attacked the media again for what he calls "fake news" or news that he doesn't like.  Trump claimed a "great victory" in yesterday's mid-term elections, thus creating his own reality again.  When questioned by the media he strikes out and calls them "the enemy of the people."  Watching Trump's behavior at that press conference today was embarrassing.  This was the president of the United States acting like a petulant bully who has been caught lying.

I remember the whole Nixon criminality and the Saturday Night Massacre.  What Trump has been doing is much worse.  Much worse is his criminality and now his attempt to stop the investigation into his criminality.  

These are perilous times for our country today folks. Things are about to get worse, much worse. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Mid-Term Election Results

As the hour approaches midnight, I'm sitting here at my computer listening to MSNBC's coverage of the mid-term election results. 

There is good news and bad news.  The bad news first is that the Democrats didn't gain control of the Senate.  That means the google-eyed Turtle Man (Mitch McConnell) is still the Senate Majority leader.  By the way, did you know that I am older than Mitch?  GAWD!  Mitch, what happened?  But I digress.  

More bad news is that Andrew Gilliam lost the governor's race in Florida.  It also appears that Stacy Abrams lost her race to be governor in Georgia.  Her Republican opponent apparently successfully suppressed the vote in Georgia.  And the really hurtful loss was Beto O'Rourke to Ted Cruz (the senator from Canada) in Texas.  Thus the repulsive Cruz will be in our faces for another six years. 

Now the good news:  The Democrats have gained control of the House of Representatives.  As I type this Nancy Pelosi is addressing her supporters in, yes, San Francisco.  Oh my, Republicans and Trump supporters - Nancy Pelosi is now THIRD IN LINE FOR THE PRESIDENCY.  Chew on that.  Even more important, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will not be repealed.  That means people with pre-existing conditions will not be denied insurance.  THANK GOD!  

Another important factor is that now there will be an oversight of the Administrative branch, the president, of government.  Something that's been missing for the last four years, four LONG YEARS.  Finally, our government is going to be operated the way our Constitution intended, something the Republicans who were in control conveniently ignored while they handed over their balls to Trump.

I'm going to stay up a bit later just to confirm the fact that the Democrats are truly in the majority in the House of Representatives.  And also to savor those Republican incumbents who have lost their House seats.  

By the way, don't feel sorry for the storm that will be coming at Trump.  He loves the fight.  He won't take any responsibility for the Republicans losing the house and he'll claim credit for the Republican control of the Senate.  That because that's who he is.  

As Bette Davis said in "All About Eve" ....fasten your seat belts...."

I Voted!

Me, in line this morning at Cape Henlopen High School to vote - third in line!!

Last night was like Christmas Eve when I was a little kid. Anticipation of wonderful things to happen.  Yes, the mid-term elections to finally right this ship that is the United States of America.  For almost two years now, our country has been humiliated and put in great danger by Donald Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress. All his life Trump has gotten away with breaking the law, bullying and not respecting people. That is about to end today.  Of that I feel confident. His day of reckoning has come.

Like the little kid on Christmas Eve, I woke up very early this morning. My eyes popped open at 4:30 am.  After my usual nocturnal visit to the bathroom I tried to go back to sleep. Wasn't happening.  I got up at 5:00 o'clock.

I did my daily bathroom routine, had breakfast then told Bill to get in the car, I was going to be first in line to vote when the polls opened at 7:00 am.

Traffic was light on Route One on my way to Cape Henlopen High School.  Already a line was forming.  I was third in line.  That was fine with me.  

Ever since I first voted in 1964 (for Barry Goldwater of all people! Yes, I used to be a Republican), I've always voted in person.  I value and appreciate this special privilege of voting in person.  I have never taken for granted being an American and our unique place in the world. A place that has been threatened in the past two years by Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress.

How I voted this morning

This morning I voted straight Democrat except for my local state representative who had the grace and kindness to stop by our house and leave this note after Bill and I got married in 2013:

If you haven't voted today, get out and vote. And yes, whatever your party affiliation, VOTE!

Monday, November 05, 2018

One Day To Go!

Tomorrow is the day folks!  The mid-term elections have finally arrived.

Here where I live in southern Delaware, we're solidly Democratic (thank goodness) but I'm still voting anyway. I always vote. 

I don't vote early, I like the experience of going to the polls and voting in person. To me voting is a privilege afforded to too few in this world. Free elections, sort of (increasing Republican suppression of the vote), in this country. 

This election is truly the most important of my 77 years on this planet. Nothing less than our free democracy is at stake. I do not exaggerate. Trump and his enablers have done so much damage since the Russians put Trump into the presidency. 

Today I feel like the little kid on Christmas Eve. I an excited with anticipate of good things to happen.  But I have to be honest with you folks, after the results of the 2016 presidential election, I am nervous about the outcome of this election. 

Last year I was in Philadelphia with my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat for our annual celebration of my birthday (November 9th).  I had intended to celebrate Hillary Clinton being elected president. Obviously that didn't happen. That birthday was the worst birthday of my life folks. 

The Democrats are favored to take over the House in this election. The Senate is another story, they may lose one or two seats. I'm hoping they take control of the Senate too. But I have to admit that I am nervous about this election. That's why I posted this Saturday Night Live video at the beginning of this post. It's not over until it's over folks.