Friday, October 31, 2008

A New Passion


Here I am pictured at my grave site at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. All I need now is a headstone. I haven't decided yet on what I want for my permanent memorial. I do know that I want something unique for my counterpart next century who will be researching me. Yep, my new passion (actually an old one that I've revived) is cemetery trolling. I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed walking through a cemetery (preferably on a nice sunny day - not at night) and reading headstones. I can't explain it, but I feel a sense of completeness when I read the headstones and wonder about the people below and their history, their life. I first started exploring cemeteries looking for dates to back up my genealogical research. However, I soon discovered a relaxing karma (no better way to explain it), as I walked and communed with the departed. Recently I discovered a web site devoted entirely to graves called Find A Grave.com. How ironic to discover that the man who started this web site was also a Tipton. Jim Tipton is his name. I haven't contacted him yet but I will. I think his interest is more in finding graves of famous people, which is find. That is also interesting. My focus right now is finding and recording as many graves of my ancestors as I can in my remaining lifetime. Oh how I wish I had started doing my family research when I was younger. However, it was much more difficult then without the advent of the Internet. The Internet has opened up so many more avenues of information that it almost overwhelms me. But that is good. I firmly believe everyone must have a passion in life. Mine is my family research and recording as much of that information as I can before I depart from this planet. Even though I'm getting a lot of my information from the Internet and other Tipton researchers, nothing replaces the "in person" visit. Visiting distant relatives and recording their verbal history before it is lost. Also, if I'm lucky, those distant relatives will have pictures of our common ancestors. That's how I found the picture of my great grandfather Hiram Tipton. I had never seen a picture of him before. What a thrill that was seeing it for the first time. I look forward to my remaining days knowing that I have so much history to uncover. I'm not a religious person but sometimes I do think a greater power put me on this path. Just maybe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Veteran's Care




A short time ago, I returned from the Veterans Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware. My appointment today was with the urologist. This was a followup to my kidney stone problem. Again, I was very impressed with the quality of care that I receive from the Veterans Administration. About ten years ago, I applied for my Veterans Administration card as insurance in case I was left without medical insurance. At that time I didn't that it was likely that I would ever find the need to use the Veterans Administration for my medical care. Little did I know. In 2001 I changed my job where I was covered with full medical care to a consultant job with no medical care insurance. Fortunately for me I had medical care with the VA which enabled me to work as a consultant. Also, lucky for me that I applied to the VA for medical care, because when the Bush administration took office, one of their first actions was instruct the VA to stop advertising medical benefits that was available for veterans. Subsequent actions by the Bush administration was to erect a series of roadblocks and hurdles to discourage veterans from applying for benefits. However, the Bush administration overplayed its hand when they proposed an annual $2,000 "membership" fee to apply for medical care. Of course this was patently unfair because one of the promises made to me when I joined the Army in January 27, 1960 was that I would have "lifetime medical care if necessary." The Bush administration was putting into practice the "starve the beast" theory. Basically the "starve the beast" theory is to cut taxes so much that then the government would have the excuse that their isn't enough money to support government programs like VA medical care. The political outcry was so great, that the Bush administration had to retreat from this proposal. However, they did lower the income eligibility of veterans applying for benefits. Thus, even less veterans could apply for benefits. My two brothers and several friends of mine who are veterans could not apply for benefits. Since I had already applied for benefits before the the Bush administration came into office, I was grandfathered into the system. I've had my share of bad breaks in my life but this is one of my good breaks. Not only do I have medical care but I have received the best medical care in my life. Ironically, all the years I had great medical coverage when I worked at my various banks, I only used it once. However, once I had my VA coverage, I had several medical issues. I had to have two operations. Various tests. I was worried about the quality of medical care. My worries were in vain. I have always received the absolute best medical care. Today was another example. As a followup to my kidney stone emergency this past January, the VA scheduled me for several tests. They have put me on medication to help avoid future kidney stones. They have tested me for my current condition. One of the things I really like about VA medical care is their preventive measures. Rather than waiting for something to happen, they take preventive measures. Also, their record keeping is excellent. My appointment this morning was at 9 A.M. The doctor saw me at 9 A.M. I didn't have to wait in a cubicle for an hour or more before the doctor quickly came in, looked at papers and mumbled something and leaving without even looking at me in the face or even talking to me. The doctor who saw me this morning sat down with me, looked at me and talked to me without being rushed. He carefully went over my records and shared this information with me. He gave me his sound and reasoned advice. I think the difference in doctors (VA versus private practice) is that the doctors in the VA don't operate on how many people they get in and out. In other words, they don't operate on volume. Of course the downside is that the VA is short of doctors. Many times I have been treated my nurse practitioners. Their care was also good but lacked the experience of a doctor. Another thing I enjoy about using the VA medical facilities is that I share a ride in the American Legion (Post 28) van with other veterans like myself. That makes a big difference. Instead of being shuttled off to a side office (like I was in private medical practice), which the doctor attended Mom and the Kids, I'm with a bunch of old geezers like myself. That means something to me. In fact, it means a lot to me. As a result of my tests this morning, the VA has scheduled me for a CT SCAN-RAD next month. I just hope I don't have to have my prostrate check again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Letter To A Friend




Below is a letter (e-mail) I sent to a long time friend this morning in reference to our disagreement on which presidential candidate to vote for this year. Most of all my friends and all of my family disagree with my choice to vote for Barack Obama for president. Most of them have one thing in common: they are from my previous life (before I retired to Delaware.) Most of my friends in Delaware have the same political view that I have - liberal. Much of my view has to do with me being a gay man. Since my former political party has made me unwelcome in their party by word and action, I had to join the Democratic party by default. This action on my part has put me into disagreement with all of my family and most of my friends from Pennsylvania and my workplaces. This morning I received an e-mail from a good friend (and former boss) which states simply: "We'll have to agree to disagree who we vote for president." However, that doesn't mean that we can't remain friends. I guess I fall into the old Tip O'Neill/Ronald Reagan mode. They disagreed almost always on politics but remained good friends. That's the way it will be with me and my friends.



Hi Ron,

Re the upcoming election, we'll have to agree to disagree on our voting for president.

Bill,

Yes, we disagree. Obama represents change that this country needs. McCain is the past. He is too old. He has run a very negative campaign which turned off a lot of independent voters. However, he did solidify The Conservative Base of the Republican Party by picking Sarah Palin. By choosing Sarah Palin he forfeited his experience argument against Obama. He also displayed a shocking display of cynicism by choosing Palin, assuming all the former Hillary voters would now vote for Palin just because she is a woman. McCain doesn't have the temperament to be president. It seems to me he is always on the verge of exploding in a temper tantrum. Obama is the inclusive candidate. McCain is the divisive candidate. I will vote for the candidate who considers all of America "American." I will not vote for candidates who view only some parts of the country as "pro-American." The one good thing that will come out of this election is that the Republican Party in it's present form will disappear. Hopefully, a new Republican Party, the one I used to belong to, will be reborn. Remember, back in 1968, I wrote my college thesis on "The Emerging Republican Majority." At the time I wrote that thesis I never believed in my lifetime that I would see a Republican majority in Congress. I was wrong. In the year 2000 a Republican was elected president and Republicans were elected to the majority of both houses of Congress. Unfortunately, they squandered their opportunity to lead this country in a new direction. To paraphrase one of my all time heroes, Ronald Reagan, "The Republican Party left me, I didn't leave them." I am confident that the election of Barack Obama will set this country on a new course that is beneficial to us all. To all my Republican friends I say, have no fear. In my heart I knew this country was going on the wrong track with the elections of 2000. I was proven right. In my heart I know that the election of Barack Obama is right for this country as we go forward. If we are fortunate enough to still be around eight years from now, you will see that I am right again. I am puzzled as to how many of the well paid political pundits and personalities in the media today get it wrong. I'm just a struggling 66 year old former bank trust operations manager who now works part time as a hotel front desk clerk to make ends met. I "get it." Most of my friends from my former life (before I moved to Delaware) and some of my new friends here in Delaware are voting for McCain/Palin. It will always be a puzzlement to me why you don't see what I see but I still love and respect all of you. We may disagree but we are closer than you think. We're all in this together. Peace be with you and don't forget to vote next Tuesday!
Ron

Friday, October 24, 2008

Find A Grave.com


My distant cousin (our great-great-great-fathers were brothers) TimTipton has a passion. He searches for Tipton graves to take pictures for his book he hopes to publish in the future. For many years I have also trolled through cemeteries in search of my Tipton ancestors. I have also search for my maternal ancestors, the Hadfields and Hickmans. Over the years I have accumulated a many pictures. I have also discovered facts that surprised me. For instance, I found my maternal great-great grandfather and grandmother's graves less than a mile from my Pennsylvania home. If I hadn't began my grave search, I would never have known this Find A Grave.com. Finding this web site is like finding a chest of treasure at the end of the rainbow. Yes, I admit it. I am weird. Hey, another good friend, Larry Meredith also like to troll through cemeteries. Larry and I have made several such expeditions in the past. Now here is the best part. This morning I was reading the background information on Find a Grave.com. Much to my surprise I read that a fellow Tipton founded this website. His name is Jim Tipton. Now my question is to my friends Tim and Larry, why didn't we think of this?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Find a Grave












Recently, while enmeshed in my Tipton genealogy research, my cousin Tim Tipton from Tennessee told me about the web site Find A Grave.com. I checked it out and now I have a new passion. I've always loved roaming through graveyards, searching for family member headstones. I envy Tim, because he lives in Tennessee where there are literally thousands of Tiptons buried in that area of the country. Here in Pennsylvania, I have a much more limited number of Tiptons. However, I also have many members of my Mother's side of my family, the Hadfields, Hickmans, and Weavers. Now that I'm living in Delaware, my search for family members is severely limited. I doubt if I can find any of my family in the area where I live, Sussex County, Delaware. I've checked the phone book and I see where there are some Tiptons. I'll have to give them a call and find out if any of them know of their ancestors. That is another field of genealogy research that I have to plow. I get not a small amount of pleasure knowing that I have that task that I can look forward to doing in the future. After my father's death in 2000, I purchased my grave plot at the Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. At one time in my life I had decided to be cremated. However, since discovering the richness of history in researching my family history through grave yard searches, I decided that I didn't want to disappear from history when I died. I selected a plot on the side of a hill overlooking the valley that the town of Downingtown, Pennsylvania is located. As my Mother has said, you always want a grave site with a good view.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Harvest Is In




Last August, while shopping at my local Ace Hardware, I spotted a forlorn six pack of plum tomato plants on a rack in their garden department. I don't have a vegetable garden but I do have several raised flower beds. Looking at that dried out six pack of young tomato plants, I thought "why don't I rescue these orphan plants?" I think the pack cost me .75 cents. A minimal amount. In fact, they might have even given them to me for free. I planted those six plants behind my zinnias, marigolds and herb plants. It wasn't too long until these six orphan plants grew into large, vigorous healthy tomato plants, covered with yellow blossoms. Now I'm reaping the harvest, at least 100 plum tomatoes. I'm here to tell you nothing tastes as good as one's own home grown tomatoes. If there is any problem, it is that they all are ripening at the same time. I'm inundated with bright red, plump plum tomatoes. Already I've made several batches of homemade tomato sauce. Again, does anything taste as good as your own tomato sauce? Nothing! For lunch I had some over rotini. For dinner, I browned cut up boneless chicken breast in olive oil and garlic. After browning, I put in half a cup of sauterne wine and cooked it down, incorporating the browned bits of deliciousness from the saute pan. I put some of that tomato sauce in the pan with the browned chicken and reduced pan bit and viola! A sumptuous Chicken Ron!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Go Phillies!





Go Phillies! I know, I know. I'm being very provincial here. But hey, I've been a Phillies fan since the Fifties! And as a long suffering Phillies fan I've been through the ups and downs (many) of the Phillies baseball team. The worst time was back in 1964 when the Phillies only needed one game to win the pennant and they lost every game at the end of the season. That's when I lost interest in the Phillies. I regained that interest again when they won the World Series in 1980. That was Nirvana for me. My life was complete. The Phillies won the World Series! I remember exactly where I was when Tug McGraw struck out the last Toronto Blue Jay. I was in my fourth floor apartment on 2200 block of Spruce Street in center city Philadelphia. After Tug whiffed out that last Blue Jay, a tremendous cheeer erupted from all those apartments along Spruce Street. I looked out my window and I saw Phillies fans streaming out of their apartments into the streets. It was wonderful! I had never experienced this feeling before and I was sure I never would again. However, I wouldn't mind experiencing another Phillies World Series win.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Only 17 Days To Go




Only 17 days to go to the presidential election. Obama is in the lead. However, he cautions his followers not to get complacent. Get out and vote. It is well known that the young and minorities vote in lesser percentages than older voters. Even though the Democratic registrations are way up, that doesn't necessarily mean they they will actually go to the polls and vote. The McCain/Palin campaign are pulling out all the stops now. The robocalls have begun which, non to subtly, accuse Obama of being a terrorist. McCain and Palin are continuing the Big Lie that if Obama if election, the middle class will have their taxes increased. McCain has trotted out Joe The Plumber (who in reality turns out to be Sam the Contractor - he doesn't actually have a plumbing license, his name is "Samuel J.", and he has a tax lien on his house - obviously Joe the Plumber doesn't like to pay taxes, something he has in common with the McCain Republicans.) How anybody could vote for four more years of Bush like economics is beyond me. One important factor is the Right to Life issue. Many will vote for McCain solely for this reason and that is understandable. However, if anyone seriously thinks that Sarah Palin, the shrill, moose hunting Alaskan governor, is suited to be vice president is surely drinking the Repug Kool-Aid. But then, they probably realize she is just a blank slate like George W. Bush. The powers behind the throne then could push their own agendas which is more tax cuts for the rich and the decimation of the middle class. Every evening I'm glued to the TV set watching MSNBC and their coverage of the presidential race. I have been fascinated by politics ever since the Fifties when I watched my first political convention on that old Philco TV set we had in our living room on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. For many years I was a die hard Republican. However, that all changed when I was watching the Republican Convention in 1992 which was held in Houston, Texas. Patrick J. Buchanan gave a hate filled speech in which he stated that the Republican Party had no place for people of a different sexual orientation. What really gave me a chill down my spine was the reaction shots of the well dressed, white cheering Republican convention delegates. They reminded me of the "Good Germans" who saluted "Heil Hitler!" to Adolph Hitler as he paraded through the streets of German cities during the Thirties. At that time I realized that no matter what my conservative views, the modern Republican Party drummed me and my gay brethren out of the Republican party as non persons. Then, a few years later, when I had to apply at the Veterans Administration for health benefits, my opinion of the Republican Party was permanently changed. The Bush administration began a series of moves to discourage veterans like me from applying for benefits. Fortunately for me, there was such a political outcry that my benefits were not affected. I was grandfathered in the system. However, other veterans like me, who delayed their application for VA benefits were denied. The coldness and brutality demonstrated by the Republican party left me with no other choice but to join the Democratic party. To me, the Republicans believe "you're on your own." The Democratic party believes "we're all in this together." Many of my family and friends are Republicans and continue to be True Believers. I respect their views but disagree with them. I am convinced that when Barack Obama is elected president they will see that this is the best thing that could happen to this country. By the way, in the picture of the soldiers I am the second from the left on the bottom row. Basic training, Fort Dix, New Jersey, February 1960. A long, long time ago. I wonder what ever happened to my friend Mike Tine, the young soldier from Massachusetts to my left. Like ships passing in the night. So many lost friendships. So long ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Room




My room. A simple statement but it means so much to me. My room is my bedroom. It is my oasis. It is where I escape from the world. My room is what I have worked for these many years. Growing up, I shared a bed with my two younger brothers. My Mother tells us that she would put me and my brothers as babies in a communal basket. For a year or two when I was nine years old I shared a bed with my Uncle Sam. At that time my Uncle Sam was a teenager and still going to school. His mom and dad has passed on (my paternal grandparents) and he was living with us until he finished school. I could not wait until I had my own bed. I finally achieved that goal when I was 12 years old and received a fold away bed for Christmas. I still shared a room with my two younger brothers but I finally had my own bed. The summer of 1958 I finally achieved my dream, my very own bedroom. My parents had built a small ranch house (1,100 square feet) with three bedrooms. My parents had the master bedroom (such as it was), my brothers had another bedroom and I had the small bedroom in the front of the house. Nirvana! Alas, I was only to have that bedroom for about a year and a half. After graduating from high school I joined the Army. In the Army I didn't have to share a bed but I did share a bedroom. It was called "the barracks." About a year into my term of enlistment I did get out of the barracks into a private bedroom. I was asked to be assistant platoon sergeant (mainly on my ability to get the guys to clean the barracks) and I shared a bedroom with the platoon sergeant, Cliff Taylor. Almost there again. Cliff was a great roommate because he was rarely in our room. Either he was out chasing women or visiting his home in Georgia. After the Army, I went home for a short period of time to my own bedroom. However, I didn't stay there too long. I moved to Pittsburgh for three months and had a one room efficiency apartment. Not really my own bedroom since my "bedroom" was in a side parlor of an old Victorian house. After leaving Pittsburgh, I returned home and got an apartment in Coatesville. It was a two room apartment. I had my own bedroom. When I met and moved in with Bill (my partner), I was back to sharing a bed again. Nope. Uh huh. Didn't work. Back to my own bed. I just can't sleep with anybody. I need my own room. I need my space. That is my bedroom. My space, my oasis, my Shangri-la. This is where I watch TV (when I can stay awake), pay bills, read, and take my daily nap. Oh how I love taking my daily nap. I call it a nap but it is probably more like transcendental meditation. I lie down on my bed around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I read a bit until I get sleepy, then I drift off into another wonderful world. A world of peace and happiness. Dreams are frequent. I don't remember what the dreams are about but I do know there are no nightmares. The only nightmares occur when I am awake. If I am fortunate enough, one day I will lie down for a nap and I will dream the ultimate dream. The Big Bedroom in the Sky.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Visit By The Monarchs




The last few days I have noticed that my butterfly bushes have been visited by two monarch butterflies. My butterfly bushes must be on the flyway for these beautiful creatures of nature. they certainly are welcome visitors to my garden since my birds have long gone to their winter home. The weather this fall so far has been exceptionally beautiful. Earlier today I was outside, trimming the grass around the plantings that line my back yard. My home in Pennsylvania I had twenty five years to build a backyard wildlife habitat for my friends in nature. With my new home here in Delaware I literally started with a blank slate. Almost one acre of open horse pasture. This is my second year at my retirement home in Delaware. Only two years into building my new backyard habitat and already I have a wide variety of visitors from my friends in nature. Some of these visitors are the same as I had in my Pennsylvania and some are different. Here in my Delaware backyard habitat I do not have nuthatches, cardinals, finches or wrens. However, I do have swallows and purple martins. Catbirds, robins, and house sparrows populate both locations. One beautiful creature of nature that I do not have down here in Delaware that I had an abundance of in Pennsylvania are deer. As beautiful as the deer are, they can stay in Pennsylvania. I couldn't have many plants because they invariably ate just about everything I grew. The deer were voracious. I not only built my backyard habitat for my friends in nature but also as a refuge from me. With all that goes on in the world today, I find the best antidote for me is my personal backyard oasis. During my six week stint of working full time at the Inn, my backyard was neglected. I've just about caught up on all my trimming and weeding. My gardens and grass are in fine order now. However, I must admit it was a bit lonely without visitors. That's why I was so glad to the two monarch butterflies that have been visiting my backyard the past week. I fear they won't be here too long though. I fully expect them to leave shortly for warmer environs south. I will miss them.

A Sweet Song




The stock market is down, the presidential campaign is descending further in the gutter because of the McCain/Palin dishonest, angry and negative campaign tactics, and increasing concern about my Mother's health weigh heavily on me. However, the new day dawned at my beautiful home here in southern Delaware. Last night I had a good long conversation with my fellow genealogist and friend from Tennessee. We talked well into the night. In fact it was 1:30 AM in the morning before we realized what time it was. In addition to being a distant cousin (our common ancestor is our great-great-great-great grandfather "Major" Jonathan Tipton 1750-1833) we also have the same political views and sexual orientation. We have a lot in common. My cousin brought up the subject of Billy Tipton, a jazz musician who lived her life as a man. He told me how a few years ago Billy Tipton's adopted son called him about information as to how he was related to the Tipton family. Ironically, the son was adopted by Billy Tipton so he actually isn't a blood relation. I brought to the attention of my cousin that a friend of mine who helped me add music to my blog, has a blog dedicated solely to Billy Tipton. It was nice to get away from the concern about the stock market and the angry tone of the presidential campaign and to enjoy fellowship and camaraderie with a fellow genealogist and friend. As bad as things get in the world, there are always those jewels of life such as my cousin and fellow genealogist friend in Tennessee and my helpful fellow blogger from out west. Good health and a long and happy life to both of you my dear friends!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Getting Back In The Groove




Day Two of my regular routine since my six week stint of working full time. It is nice to wake up at my usual time of 6 AM and turning on "Morning Joe" and watch Joe Scarborough make a fool out of himself (one of my favorite past times) and watch his guests discuss the political landscape of the day. I love the freedom of rolling out of the bed when I feel like it. That's what retirement is all about, freedom. Even though I work part time, I still feel the freedom. That freedom was lost when I work full time. During my six week marathon run of working full time, my garden maintenance fell behind. Also, I wasn't able to make my usual daily blog entries. My other activities that I had to suspend was cooking and cleaning the house. All back on track now. Yesterday, I made an absolutely delicious dish from my crop of tomatoes. When I lived in Pennsylvania, I couldn't grow tomatoes because I lived in the middle of the woods. I didn't get enough sun to grow vegetables and whatever vegetables I did grow, the local deer population would quickly devour them. One thing I'm finding in my old age that my best recipes are the ones I make up myself. I just put in ingredients that I like. Yesterday's recipe was to brown several cloves of garlic in olive oil. Then chop two boneless chicken breast in medallion shape (done when the chicken breasts partially thawed.) Brown in the olive oil with the garlic and chopped onion. Cover with four cups of peeled plum tomatoes and a bunch of chopped fresh Italian parsley and fresh basil (from my garden.) Add one cup of Sauterne wine and simmer for about a half an hour. Serve over rice. DELICIOUS! At my age I have trouble digesting processed foods with a additives and preservatives. My "Chicken Ron" is the perfect meal for my sensitive stomach. Then I pushed my luck and made a fresh snacking apple cake. I had a recipe for a snack apple cake (8 inch pan size) but I didn't like the the usage of shortening. So, instead I substituted 1/4 cup vegetable oil and added a cup of sour cream. Again, DELICIOUS! In the summer I don't always have time to go to this kind of trouble to cook from scratch, especially cakes. But I do have a sweet tooth. I've tried different cakes that I purchased at the local supermarkets. None of them work. They don't taste good and they give my stomach a workout because of all the additives and preservatives in the store bought cakes. I ended the day with a nice walk through the development behind where I live. Now I am really getting back in the groove.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Bates Motel




Remember the old Alfred Hitchcock movie "Psycho?" The dark and brooding image of the Bates Motel silhouetted on a hill in the nighttime sky was one of the stars of that movie. I was reminded of the spookiness of the Bates Motel while doing my rounds last night at my place of toil for pay in Lewes, Delaware. Ah yes, I was working again last night. I thought I finished my six week run of temporary full time employment with my Sunday nighttime duties. Alas, it was not to be. The gentleman who took my hours on Monday night called in about an hour before work to inform the assistant manager that he threw his back out (always a convenient excuse) and would be unable to come into work. The assistant manager thus made a call to me asking me if I would mind coming in. It is not in my nature to refuse to help (probably my downfall too.) So, in for one more go round. It wasn't busy last night, the hotel only having one guest. It was a quiet night. Much too quiet. The hours dragged by. To break up the monotony I did my "rounds" of checking the grounds outside the building. That's when I came upon this image of the Inn at night. It reminded me of a book I just finished, "Anthony Perkins, A Split Image." Anthony Perkins, as most of you know was a movie star back in the Sixties. His greatest role was as Norman Bates in "Psycho." That role defined him and he was never able to cast off that character of the twitchy faced Norman. What I remember most about the movie was it was the first time I ever saw the star murdered in the first few minutes of the movie. I remember how puzzled I was when Janet Leigh was taking the slashing in the shower. All I could think of was "she's going to be a mess the rest of the movie with all those stab wounds!" It's funny but I remember exactly when I saw the movie and where I saw it. I was stationed at Ft. Devens in Ayre, Massachusetts. It was April of 1960. I even remember the movie house I saw it. It was the main movie theater near the Service Club. It was a long walk from my barracks in A Company at the other side of the base. What is interesting that I would remember exactly where I was because there are few other times I remember where I was when I witnessed a momentous event in the history of this country in the world. One of the other times was when I heard the news that John F. Kennedy was shot (I was at work at Lipsett Steel Products in Coatesville, PA and it was a Friday afternoon.) Another time was when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. It was a rainy Sunday morning and I was in my apartment at 388 Madison Street in Coatesville, PA ironing my shirts for the upcoming work week. I couldn't believe what I saw when Jack Ruby pulled out his gun and shot Lee Harvey Oswald as Oswald was being transported from the hospital to the police station.. I think that is the common thread in all these Moments in History. I couldn't believe what I heard or saw. Another time was when the stock market took a dramatic drop like it did in October of 1987. I was working at Fidelity Bank in Philadelphia, PA. My unit was next to the investment management department of the trust department. Normally the men and women working in the investment management department were a noisy lot. Not that day. They were all huddled around a ticker tape type machine, mumbling in soft undertones. Ah yes, Moments in History. The stock market took another tumble yesterday. Today isn't looking any better. The presidential campaign was sunk to the gutter since McCain and Palin have starting slinging the mud at Obama. Hopefully, in the future I will look back on this time as one of positive change. The time when the likes of John McCain and Sarah Palin and the discredited Republican Party are repudiated and this country can again move forward. However, I have my doubts after seeing that haunting image of the Bates Motel last night.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wednesday Night Outing




The tourist season is over and now it is time for our friends to get together again. This evening we met at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach. Attendees included Wayne, Paul, Jack, John, Jack, Bob and me. Last year Wayne and I began this tradition by meeting at the Purple Parrot on Sunday night for the prime rib special. That meeting grew to include Bob and Harvey (who didn't attend tonight because he was on one of his many cruises), Paul and Jack. Newcomers John and Jack (another Jack) joined the group tonight. All are welcome. It's ironic that this late in our lives that we have all formed this camaraderie. This is quite different from when I first used to go out to gay bars. Back in "the day" it was all about cruising. It was about sexual encounters. Not now. And maybe that is a good thing. Friendship is so much more important now. My brother belong to a large fundamentalist church in Greenville, South Carolina. He and his church members always refer to their "fellowship." I visited his church once. I have to admit that I was somewhat envious of the "fellowship" that he and his fellow parishioners (he was one of the pastors) enjoyed. Of course I couldn't enjoy the same fellowship because I was gay. That was made abundantly clear to me by his pastor during his sermon. This area of Rehoboth Beach has become a retirement Mecca for many gay men and women of the nearby states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Many of the friends at tonight gathering attend the local All Saints Church in Rehoboth. I remember so well in my younger days when I used to hit the gay bars on the weekends in Philadelphia. Back then the goal was all about scoring (meeting another guy for a sexual encounter.) Those days are long past. Now friendship is more important (at least to me.) There was a bar up that Philadelphia street called Maxine's. It was known among us young gay guys as a "wrinkle bar." A bunch of old queens. Well, guess what? All the attendees of tonight's get together are over 50. Some of us are over 60. Well, I guess that's us now. Now here is a fact. I'm enjoying life more than ever now. Way more than I did in my glory days. Life is good.

They Are Gone!




First day of my last week of working full time at the hotel. It was a good day. Tonight I'm meeting friends at the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach to renew our weekly get together. While we residents all appreciate the seasonal visitors and the money they bring to our economy, it is good to get our town back. The well kept secret of the Rehoboth Beach area of Slower Lower Delaware, it that the weather is just fine after Labor Day. Don't tell Them (the tourists.) I remember well years ago what I overheard one Labor Day weekend in Provincetown, Massachusetts. I used to vacation several times over the summer at Cape Cod. I always thought the waiters and waitresses were glad to see me, the Big Tipper. What I overheard that night at the restaurant where I was stuffing my face was a waiter say to his friend another waiter "Thank God They will be gone this week!" WHAT? I felt Unwanted. To quote David Letterman when John McCain stood him up last week, I felt like an Ugly Date. I've often thought of that waiter's comment over the years. Now, for the first time I understand what he meant. Now I can say "I'm glad They are gone." The traffic, the rudeness, the rushing, the noise. GONE. We have our town back.