Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Endless Heat Wave

Fuchsia Clematis

Like most of the rest of the country, we've been suffering from a prolonged heat wave around here.  Some of my favorite plants are giving up, no matter how much we water them.  In front of the house where we have our impatiens, they are wilting under the heat.  The front of the house is usually the ideal place for impatiens because they get the morning sun.  This summer the morning sun is about 88 to 90 degrees.  The poor impatiens just can't take that sustained heat.

Even my clematis, which usually do well all summer are giving up.  The picture on this blog was taken about a month ago.  This poor clematis is long gone, burned up under the cruel rays of the sun.

Last year we had an extended heart wave.  Bill loves the impatiens, because they bloom all summer up until the first frost.  I don't think they're going to make it through August this year.

In the back yard I put three bird baths under the newly planted river birch trees.  The birds flock to it.  This heat is hard on them too.  As soon as I fill the bird baths and even before I get back into the house they are in the bird baths splashing around, drinking, and cooling off.  I'm filling those bird baths about eight or ten times a day.  Bill thinks I'm crazy.  No, I'm just helping my feathered friends.  I might come back someday as a bird.  I would appreciate someone helping me out.

It is so hot around here that even the mosquitoes have disappeared.  I'm not taking my daily walk on the boardwalk.  In fact, I'm not doing too much of anything outside.  I haven't weed whacked in about two weeks.  I don't care.  I'm letting the backyard go au natural.

The challenge for tomorrow, Bill and I are going to go down to the Delaware DMV to get our driver's licenses renewed.  Even the DMV now has Security Theater because of 9/11.  Now we have to take our birth certificate, Social Security Card, two forms of mail to verify our address, and submit to a whole body scanner.  I was just kidding about that last part but I wouldn't be surprised if they groped us too when we went in.  The good thing is once we jump through these hoops our licenses are good for five years.  That should take both of us out to the End.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anne Marie of Philly

Me and Anne Marie of Philly (in my Spo Shirt)
We had a visitor in Lewes this morning, Anne Marie of Philly! Yes, this is the infamous famous "Anne Marie of Philly" who often leaves witty and caustic remarks on my blogs and some of my blogger friends blogs (lot of "blogs" there).

I met Anne Marie on this summer Saturday morning in the heart of downtown Lewes in front of Cafe Azafran.  She was in the Washington D. C. area this weekend on business decided to meet up with some of her blogger friends.  That would be me and Mark of "Tales of the Sissy."  She is the houseguest of Mark and Joe this weekend.  Mark had an appointment this morning from his new job as a real estate agent par excellence.  Joe had some personal chores to attend to. Thus Anne Marie had the morning free and suggested that we meet.

We were to meet for brunch but Anne Marie was still full from the dinner that Joe and Mark took her too at Saketumi last night.  Mark sure does love Saketumi.  He writes about this new Japanese restaurant all the time in his blog.  I'll have to check it out.  I'm not a seafood or sushi person but maybe I can get a hamburger. Maybe not.

I wasn't hungry either for a brunch so I suggested that I take Anne Marie on a mini-tour of Milton and along the way take her to Casa Tipton-Kelly.  She would be one of the few people to actually meet in person my spouse, The Bill.

Anne Marie (with my Spo Shirt) talking to Dr. Spo via FaceTime on my iPhone with Bill 

We drove back to my home and we had a wonderful visit with Bill.  Anne Marie loved the cool breezes and peaceful quiet of our back deck.  Then I had a great idea, why not call Dr. Spo on my iPhone via FacetTime?  Anne Marie has never talked to him face to face so I thought this would be a fun thing to do.  I called Dr. Spo, and the dear, sweet man was home!

Anne Marie talking to Dr. Spo face to face via FaceTime - ain't technology wonderful?

Anne Marie had a delightful conversation with Dr. Spo.  I could tell she was thrilled as a schoolgirl meeting to her First Crush.  Dr. Spo was so sweet to take time out of his busy morning to talk to us.  He is such a delightful man.

I heard Anne Marie mention that she is still waiting her turn on receiving the Traveling Spo Shirt.  Then I had another great idea (two in one day!  What are the odds?)  I brought out my very own Spo Shirt.  Anne Marie was thrilled!

Me and Anne Marie and Dr. Spo (via FaceTime) and the Spo shirt on my back deck this morning

Then of course I had to bring out my camera.  You know me;  Record the event with pictures, pictures and more pictures.

I noticed the clock was ticking and we only had about a half an hour left before I had to return Cinderella  to Mark and Joe, they're going to a party tonight (my invitation must of gotten lost in the mail).  But before we left, I wanted to take this opportunity while she was in the area and take her on a tour of Milton and show her what a delightful town it is.  Milton was a dying town about ten years ago until The Gays folks moving to the area discovered it charm and began buying up properties to transform into a southern version of New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Anne Marie in front of the Dogfish Corporate Offices in Milton, DE

I drove Anne Marie around Milton on a quickie tour, making a quick stop at the Dogfish Brewery to take her picture for her husband, who is a Dogfish beer fan.

Then Anne Marie remembered her meter where she parked her car had probably ran out where she parked her car by the tennis courts in Lewes.  I had to rush her back to Lewes.  The meter readers are very efficient down here in these seaside resort towns (meters and fines being one of the major sources of income for our tourist trap towns local economy in the summertime). I didn't want Anne Marie to have a $75.00 souvenir to remember her stay in Sussex County.  I'm sure that the memory of her blogger friends' hospitality would be more than enough to bring a smile to her face when she talks about her visit to the Nation's Sumer Capital, Rehoboth Beach and Lewes Delaware!  She certainly doesn't need a parking violation ticket.

I put the pedal to the metal and zipped her down to Lewes (without exceeding the speed limit, another source of revenue for the local authorities) and got her to the tennis courts parking lot in Lewes and viola!  NO TICKET!  You dodged one there Anne Marie.

Have a safe trip home Anne Marie of Philly!

Anne Marie leaves the tennis court parking lot in Lewes, sans parking ticket!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Night Dine Out Group Bomb Rescue

My Garden Fairy

Phew!  We're finally getting a break from this heat.  I just returned from dinner with my friend Bob C. from Milton.  I was to meet my regular Friday Night Dine Out Group at the Broadkill Boathouse in Milton but I had to change my plans.  I arrived at the Boathouse on time, I could hear the loud music from where I parked way up the street from the Boathouse parking lot because it was packed.  The closer I got the louder the music got.  Not a good sign.

I make my way through the folks outside the door having a smoke (another "not a good sign") to the cool inside of the noisy bar which I have to pass through to get to the dining room.  I look for my group.  At first I couldn't see them from the din of noise of the music and loud people screaming over one another.  Then I saw them.  There!  Over in the corner, packed together like sardines.  Actually, more like packed together like an old man bowling league dine out group which is what a lot of people think our little gay group of older men look like when we dine out together like this.  The only thing that gives away our sexual proclivities are Rick and Nick who like to hold hands while out in public - not that there is anything wrong with that.

So I look for my chair.  Nada.  None.  There is no chair for me.  So do I want to bust into this group of old men bowlers and demand a chair?  I don't think so?  I'm not to enamored with the offerings of the Broadkill Boathouse either, even though my friend Don V. is enthralled by this new restaurant in the heart of downtown Milton, DE.  Me?  Not so much.

It took me all of perhaps a second or two to make the decision "I'm not eating here tonight."  I was undecided all day anyway as to whether I wanted to go out tonight in this stifling heat and breath taking humidity.  Seeing our group of old gay men shunted over in the corner of this noisy restaurant sealed my decision.  In a situation like this I can foresee the future.  It wouldn't be a good experience because the waitress would invariably get our orders mixed up; we would be shouting over each other all during the meal trying to have a conversation; and then there would be the usual confusion over who got what check.

I backup, turn around and make a determined retreat to my car in the parking lot up the street by Wagamon's Pond.  My car is the only car in the parking lot which is the way I like it.  I try to minimize my opportunities for getting dings in my car door after paying over $100 to have a couple of dings removed from my new car door.

When I got to my car I had a brainstorm and called my friend Bob C. and see if he wanted to go to dinner in a less crowded and noisy restaurant.  Just on the off chance.  I called and Bob answered.  He answered in the affirmative but he would have to change first. He said he would leave his door unlocked and I could let myself in.  That I did.  I didn't have to wait too long until he descended from his second floor staircase in grand fashion in a suitably appropriate Hawaiian shirt for our impromptu date.  My blogger friend Dr. Spo would have approved.

We drive down to the Bay Leaf restaurant near the car wash (many of our restaurants have the weirdest locations).  The cold of the air conditioned air envelopes us as we walk into the front door of the Bay Leaf.  This restaurant is also busy too but not packed and certainly not as noisy as the Broadkill Boathouse.  I did see a baby in a bassinet on a table which is usually a killer for me.  The woman waves to Bob.  He knows her.  She's the lady who runs the Milton Historical Society. I learn later it is her adopted baby. She's allowed. This obviously is not the time to make my predictable scene about babies in restaurants.  Instead I asked to be seated in the next room in a booth.  I'll manage.

We were seated, waited on, ordered and we had a wonderful meal!  I could actually talk to my friend and he could talk to me without each one of us shouting.  And, a big plus, there was no musical accompaniment.  I don't know what it is with these restaurants around here where they think it is necessary to hire the local "talent" (which is debatable) to sing and strum along with the meal and the din of diners shouting over one another.  No, instead we had a very enjoyable meal.  Bob had stuffed flounder and I had a roasted vegetable panini which was DELICIOUS!

So tonight I performed the rare task of turning another potentially disastrous restaurant dining experience (which I've had too much of recently) into a positive restaurant  dining experience.  At the risk of being a bore (which I am always at the risk of being and might actually be but I prefer not to acknowledge that at this time), I must say I am quite proud of myself for my quick thinking tonight.  Maybe I learned something form all those force fed all those management training seminars I blackmailed into taking endured my banking career heyday in which we were taught to turn around bad situations.  You know, make lemon aid out of a lemon.

When I got home tonight at about 8:45 pm, the sun had set and total darkness was inevitably settling down upon the landscape.  The temperature had dropped to a downright tolerable 88 degrees.  It was actually comfortable in spite of the humidity that was still in the air and clung to my body.  I took this picture of one of my favorite girl statues that is illuminated by one of my solar powered floodlights.

Yes, this day ended well.  Disaster was avoided.  Tomorrow another adventure awaits.  I am having brunch at Cafe Azafran in Lewes with the infamous famous"Anne Marie of Philly."  Film at eleven.

My favorite girl garden statue - not appropriate for a garden but I like it anyway

Herbed Tomato Soup Recipe

Angry Ron this morning - I'm going to take it out on these tomatoes

This morning I was finally going to succumb to my pent up rage and vent about the selfishness and stupidity of the Republicans in Washington holding this country hostage (refusing to authorize the debt limit increase) unless the Obama administration begins the process of cutting all the social safety net programs since the New Deal so the millionaire and billionaire owners of those Republicans can have even more tax cuts.  But no, I won't go there.  Ummm, I think I just did "go there."  Oh well.

Instead I will post something nice today that won't offend anyone, especially my Republican friends, the poor brainwashed, shortsighted souls.  I love them all the same.

I spent this morning making a fresh vegetable pasta salad and my first homemade herbed tomato soup recipe since we moved down here in 2006.  I'll be having some of that soup right after I post this blog.

So here is my recipe for a nice a spice herbed tomato soup:

Herbed Tomato Soup

  • In a large saucepan heat 1/4 cup butter till melted
  • Add 2 medium onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • Cook till tender but not brown
  • Peel, core and coarsely chop 6 medium garden ripe tomatoes (about 4 cups)
  • Add to saucepan
  • Stir in one 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • Add 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil (I go overboard and add A LOT)
  • Add 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (I go overboard again and add A LOT)
  • Add 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Add 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Add a dash or two of red hot pepper if desired (I like my tomato soup just this side of HOT)
  • Stir in 4 cups chicken broth
  • Bring to boiling; reduce heat and cover
  • Simmer for 40 minutes
  • Remove from stove and cool
  • Place half at a time in a food blender
  • Cover and puree until smooth
  • Return to saucepan and heat
  • Enjoy!

I have a home for these tomatoes - my stomach!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friends and Neighbors - Gay and Straight

Bob's "vineyard" in Milton, DE 

Okay, so it's not the Loire Valley of France.  My blogger friend Walt frequently posts pictures of the beautiful grape vineyards near where he lives in France.  That to me seems like another world.  Who knew that we had a grape vineyard right in our own back yard here in Milton, Delaware!

This is a picture that I took on this hot and muggy midsummer day morning at our good friend Bob's home in Milton, DE.  Bill and I stopped over for a visit this morning to "inspect" Bob's garden after he weeded it.
Bill and Bob in Bob's vineyard

Friends like Bob is something we have down here in Delaware that we didn't have when we lived in Pennsylvania.  As much as Bill loved our home in Pennsylvania, we didn't have a social network of friends like us, old and gay.  We're past our bar hopping days.  We're no longer looking for Mr. Right.  Either we found Mr. Right (I did with Bill) or we are living out the remaining years of our life as an older, single gay man.  I think I just outed Bob, oh well.

In Pennsylvania we had neighbors, some very nice.  I had straight friend, both male and female, also very nice.  But we had no gay friends.  I know straight people take having friends for granted but just imagine straight people if you were living in a predominantly gay community and the only straight people around were in the closet.  You didn't know who they were.  Would you feel comfortable living out your remaining years in that circumstance?

Well, no offense to my straight friends and neighbors in Pennsylvania, but I feel we have a more fulfilling and complete life now that we have a social network of mostly gay friends.  Oh, I have straight friends and neighbors here in Delaware who are just wonderful and I appreciate their friendship so much.  But both Bill and I need those friends with whom we can feel totally comfortable with and let our hair down (for those of us who have hair, I'm just using this term as a metaphor).

Escaping the high Pennsylvania taxes wasn't the only reason I moved to Delaware for my retirement years. To be near the ocean wasn't the only reason I moved to Delaware.  The slow paced lifestyle wasn't the only reason I moved to Delaware. The wide open spaces wasn't the only reason I moved to Delaware.

Nope, one of the main reasons I moved to Delaware was to have a more balanced social network of friends, both gay and straight.  That wasn't possible in Pennsylvania.

Rather than constantly having to be careful what you say around your straight friends, with gay friends and especially gay friends who are of the same age group, we can be as comfortable, relaxed and happy as any retired straight couple.

Delaware has a lot going for it, and being a very gay friendly state is just one of the many reasons I knew I made the right decision to spend my retirement years in this little state on the Delmarva peninsula.

It doesn't get much better than this folks.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomato Harvest

Ron and Bill's fresh tomatoes

The tomatoes are on!

Each year I buy a couple of six packs of tomatoes at my favorite local garden spot, Peppers in Milton.  I buy one six pack of small tomatoes and one six pack of regular size slicing tomatoes.

Then I plant the individual plants around my flower beds in my backyard.  I also have oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives, dill, and fresh basil plants planted throughout my raised beds are the far end of our backyard and the flower beds next to the house.

This is the best time of the year, harvesting our own tomatoes and herbs.  I love it!  Nothing like your own herbs and veggies.  Bill loves the tomatoes.  He cuts them up in a bowl and puts a couple of dollops of mayonnaise and that is his lunch.  I use the tomatoes, basil, and oregano in my fresh pasta salad (which I'll post the recipe in a future post).

We couldn't grow tomatoes or many other vegetables at our home in Pennsylvania because of the deer.  We don't have that problem here.  So instead of growing salads for the local deer population we're growing the good stuff for ourselves.

Summertime, I love it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Just a short post today.  I'm back with my beautiful, colorful, flower motifs.  I've taken quite a few pictures of flowers lately around my house.  I was inspired by the beautiful pictures that my friend Walt takes at his home in France.

My blog posts tend to lean towards my natural propensity to complain.  I also post a lot about entering this new (and last) phase of my life as I age.  Most of my other blog posts are about trips down memory lane.

What I try to avoid is posting about politics and religion.  To me posting about those two subjects is like spitting in the wind, you're not going to change anyone's mind and you end up with your own spit on you. Of course you understand "spit" is the nice version of what I really mean (you can figure that out.)

So I find it is a "palate cleanser" to occasionally post a picture of the many flowers, plants, and wildlife that I am fortunate enough to have in abundance at our home here on the flat coastal shore of southern Delaware.

The picture I'm posting today is of the clematis flower.  I love these plants because they are so easy to grow, have such lovely colors and always bring a smile to anyone's face when they see them.  Bill put a white fence around the transformer out in front of our house.  I planted several clematis plants around the fence to soften the sterile lines of the fence.  I like purple and Bill likes pink (which he calls "pank").

Have a great day folk!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mid Summer Break

Hey folks, I think I'm going to take a few days off.  A mid summer break.  I've been neglecting some of my other fun things to to on the Internet like updating my Find a Grave account and my account.

I'm not sure how long I will be gone.  Maybe a few days, maybe be a week.

I'll still be checking in on my favorite bloggers and leaving comments were appropriate.

This recent heat wave has really taken a lot out of me.  I feel like I'm trapped in the house.  I finally got out for a walk tonight, my first in a week.  That was only possible because we had a thunderstorm roll in this afternoon that cooled things off a bit, if only for a little while.  At the end of my walk tonight I could feel the humidity creeping back in with its strangulation around my neck.

In the meantime, talk among yourselves.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eye Bags

Two posts within an hour!  I think this is a new record for me.  Sometimes one has to post when the thought is fresh.

While checking my e-mails I saw this adorable picture of my blogger buddy Ur-Spo.  Isn't he just the cutest guy?  A guy with a face and body like that just screams to get hugged.  Unfortunately (for me) and fortunately (for him) he is a couple thousand miles away from me sweltering in the midsummer heat of Phoenix Arizona while I am here on the east coast of Delaware also sweltering in the midsummer heat.

A few months ago my blogger buddy tossed around the question of getting plastic surgery to remove the bags under his eyes.  He recently turned 49 years old and I guess he thought it was time for a "tune up."  I advised him to leave things just as they are.  He is one of those men who was born handsome and will be handsome his whole life, even as he ages.

I've had dark circles and bags under my eyes my whole life.  I remember being concern about them when I was fifteen years old.  I'm 69 years old now (how did that happen?) and those dark circles and bags are still there.  I wear glasses when I'm out and they help to hide the circles and bags.  However, lately I don't need my glasses at work and I am very self conscious about looking like one of those creepy, scary hosts of some cheap late night TV horror show.  I think maybe my concern is more in my head than in actuality.  I hope so.

I took this screen print a few minutes ago while trying to call my friend Larry on FaceTime.  I immediately noticed the similarity between both the pose (both of us in white T-shirts) and beard, and bags under the eyes. Perhaps the only thing missing is that I don't have a pink hat.

Then There Was One

The last baby bluebird - 15 minutes ago

As regular readers of my blog know, I raise baby bluebirds in my backyard oasis here in the coastal shores of southern Delaware.

I've been greatly concerned that the high heat and humidity of this past week would kill the second batch of baby bluebirds that hatched a few weeks ago in my backyard wildlife habitat.  There were four babyblue birds stuffed in that little bluebird house.  Every time I went past the blue bird box when I was refreshing the water in the many birdbaths I have lining by backyard, I would take a peek in the hole to the bluebird box and see gasping baby bluebirds.  I know from experience not to do anything but let nature take its course.  I suspected the baby bluebirds were at least a week away from flying from their nest.

Thus it was with some surprise a few minutes ago I peered into the hole and didn't see any gasping baby bluebirds.  Instead, this is what I saw:  a lone, terrified baby bluebird.  You can tell by the development of it's little wings that it isn't quite ready to leave its nest yet.

I'm wondering what happened to the other baby bluebirds.  I hope they're all right.  I know I have a fox out back.  Something knocked over my big cement birdbath.  It wasn't any bird that knocked over that birdbath.  Bill says he where the fox has dug holes in the compost surrounding my newly planted knockout rose bushes.  Plus, the baby rabbit that was nibbling on my petunias is gone. The petunias are flourishing now that they aren't providing an early evening salad for Peter Rabbit.

My little not quite an acre backyard oasis was quite successful this year in producing many batches of Purple Martins, swallows, bluebirds and (egads!) starlings.  I didn't know starlings were in my Purple Martin house until they were born.  By then it was too late for me to remove them from the birdhouse.

Soon our backyard will be quite.  No more the squawking of the Purple Martins and their many broods of baby Purple Martins.  No more swallows gracefully swooping over our backyard in the dusk of late day gathering flying insects that were unfortunately happen to be in their path of flight.

We're sweltering here folks under this unusual heat wave for this area of the country but the wildlife manages, with a little help from me.  I've been refreshing the birdbaths in our backyard at least a dozen time a day.

My neighbor Barbara just hollered at me from her back deck "Hey Ron!  What are you doing out in this heat!?"  I told her "I have to get water for my friends, they're thirsty!"  And indeed, they are.

I hope those baby bluebirds who left their nest today make it through the night.  I worry about them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When To Say "No"

My wise Bhudda this evening after I returned from my Friday Night Dine Out Group

The sun has set but the heavy blanket of heat and humidity is still laying on the land here in my home of choice, southern Delaware.  We're not used to this heat.

The temperatures here rose to 105 degrees.  And this isn't the "dry heat" of Arizona.  This is the heavy heat of Florida.  We're not used to this heat.  Man oh man.

So I ventured out into this oven of heat to meet with my friends for our weekly Friday Night Dine Out Group meeting.  This week we met at the Texas Bar and Grill on Long Neck Road, somewhere down near the Indian River Bay (I don't remember the name of the community.)

The Texas Grill on Longneck - it's OK but I wouldn't make a special trip there

My friends Bob and Jim were there with their longtime unemployed houseguest Kenny.  Kenny looks like a concentration camp inmate because of all the weight he's lost only eating one meal a day.  Before I saw him tonight I didn't have much sympathy for his plight but after seeing him skin and bones, my attitude has softened somewhat.  Not so much that I'm offering him a place to live but I do feel sorry for him.

If you all remember my friends Bob and Jim, both show signs of dementia.  In the past I've helped them with installing a satellite TV in their home (they had no TV) and trained them into how to do e-mail (a waste of time because they promptly forgot what I taught them every time I left).

The last time I talked to them I had a falling out because I grew so frustrated with their dithering and confusion and hesitation on making any decisions.  I'm not a care provider.  I have no shame in admitting that fact.  I have my good qualities and skills, caregiving is not one of them.  I have little if no patience.  It's all I can do just to take care of myself and my 82 year old spouse.

So it took me quite by surprise this evening when Jim asked me to fill in the function of "friend" in dealing with the woman who is selling her trailer to them.  He said she is not using a real estate agent and their realtor advised them to "get a friend" to help them deal with her.  Excuse me?  A "friend"?  Me?  I don't so.  Why would I want to step into that quagmire?  Especially with my past experiences with Jim and Bob who absolutely cannot make a decision on ANYTHING.  Why would I want to do that?

I have a hard time saying "No" but I did say "No" to Jim.  He was taken aback but he shouldn't of been. Even if he did secure a "friend" to help him deal with a lady who is trying to save real estate commissions by selling her trailer herself, that wouldn't be guarantee that all the i's were dotted and the t's crossed.  I advised him to get a lawyer.  He said he did have a lawyer for the settlement.  I asked "Why isn't the lawyer working with you during the whole transaction?"  His answer?  Jim is going to save a few bucks by not paying a lawyer.  So he asks me to fill this function.

I turned him down flat.  I advised him to spring for the few bucks and get a layer.  Like me, he just inherited money from his Mom's estate so he has the cash to cover this expense.  So I said "No."

Do I feel a little bit guilty?  Sure. I like to be a hero to but I have to be realistic.  I've dealt with Jim before and it's no picnic.  Bob, my dear long time friend, is almost totally out of it.  These guys need help.  But that help isn't coming from me.

Maybe after all these years I've learned my lesson, no matter how much I try to help someone it always comes back to bite me in the ass.  I've been down this road many times before.  Maybe sometime I'll tell you about it.  But for now I'm leaving these two friends to seek professional help, which I am not.


Spidey awaits

I had just sat down at my computer a few minutes ago when Bill called me:  "Ron, come here quick!  Here's a picture you want to take!  There is a HUGE spider right next to the garage door."  

At first I was annoyed by the interruption because I had planned to veg out this morning and upload some of my hundred or so gravestone pictures that I took earlier this week to my Find A Grave account.  I have no plans to go out today at all because of the brutal, oppressive heat and humidity.  The only venture I considered was going out tonight for the Friday Night Dine Out Group gathering at the Texas Bar and Grill on Long Neck Road.  That confab of old, over the hill, past their prime time, has-been, retired gay guys takes place at 7 pm when, hopefully, the temperatures are less brutal.

So, in order not to upset Bill, I decide to go out and see what's got him excited.  On the way out I grab my new $765 Canon EOS 550D Rebel T2i digital SLR camera (is that a mouthful or what?) to record this momentous opportunity to catch a creature of nature going about their business of survival. I walk out our garage and into a wall of suffocating heat and humidity and sure enough,there is a spider just like the one I took a video of yesterday weaving her murderous web right outside our garage door!   What better time to test the closeup aspect of my new expensive Canon SLR camera than now?

As the stifling, beath catching heat and humidity of the day settle down around my head and shoulders I take the lens protector off of my too expensive SLR camera and set it for closeup.  Thus the picture you see posted on this blog.

This spider is a perfect metaphor for today and this past week of brutal heat and humidity.  This weather is a killer and so is this spider. Danger!

I'll keep an eye on Spidey and if she snares a victim you can be sure I'll post it here tomorrow.  You know me, I love to share.

Stay cool and watch out for those head level spider webs, you may be the next victim!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spidey Gets a Big One

You think you have problems?  How would you like to be in the position of this June bug who obviously took the wrong turn somewhere and ended up getting wrapped up for Spidey's future lunch?

I went back about an hour later and the "package" was gone.  I suspect one of my Purple Martins or starlings made off with the June Bug wrap.

All this life and death drama going on right in my own backyard.  Sort of puts things in perspective doesn't it?

I just got off the phone with my dental insurer.  After going through the Menu Hell I finally got a real person.  When I explained to "Jerry" that they sent my dental reimbursement cleaning check for $166 to the dentist when it clearly says on my form "Send check to insured", he said he would have to "investigate."  Another delay.  I told him that ever since I changed my dental plan, not once...NOT ONCE has my claim process gone smoothly.  I asked him "Why is that?  Is that part of your procedure?"  Again, he didn't have an answer bur assured me he would "call be back."

One of my pet peeves is lousy customer service.  Incompetent customer service.  Also insurance companies.  They don't make it easy to get a claim fulfilled.  That's not an accident.  That is their policy.  But after seeing June bug ending up in a wrap for Spidey's lunch, I guess I have to take things in context.

Home Sweet Home

That bright, white house - that's my home

This is my home folks, at the end of Whitehall Drive in Covington Chase, Milton, DE.  This is where I will spend the rest of my life.  At least this is where I PLAN to spend the rest of my life.

Yesterday I read a fellow blogger's posting in which he expressed concern with who would take care of him when he got old.  He is presently taking care of his father and his aunt.  I live with an 82 year old man, who thankfully is in good health although he is getting grumpier each year.  Assuming I outlive him, then what is to become of me?  Who will take care of me?

This is a concern that I have at my age.  Like my blogger friend said, he isn't concerned with being dead, but it is the process of dying that concerns him.  That is also my concern.  Perhaps my greatest fear is being dependent on someone for my day to day living.  My father's concern was that he didn't end up like his brother, wearing a diaper spending his days in a daybed in his living room looking out his picture window at the garden that he spent many happy summers toiling in.  Fortunately for my father he didn't die that way.  I can't say the same for my Mother.  The last three months of her life she was dependent on my brother and his wife and daughter for her daily care.  That is not how she wanted to die.  It isn't how I want to die either.

So where am I going with this?  I guess I'm just expressing my concern.  I really don't have an answer.  But these are the thoughts that swirl around in my head.  The way I really want to "go" is to kneel over one day while working in my backyard garden.  Just like that, gone.

In the meantime, I make everyday count.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day Dreams (Nightmare?)

I just got up from my afternoon nap.  I woke up earlier than usual.  I woke up because I was having a nightmare.

You know how when you dream, after you wake up you can't remember what you were dreaming about?  That's usually because you wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night to take a wicked pee and by the time you get back to bed the gritty details of your dream are gone in the mists of memory loss.

Not so this afternoon.  I woke up in a cold sweat from my dream because I was sinking in the quicksand like mud of my neighbors's lawn.  The more I walk the more I sank.  And anyone who knows me knows what a Felix Unger like character I am.  I'm the one who requires my guests to take off their shoes before they enter my castle.  So here I am in my dream walking and sinking in my neighbor's lawn.  Think back to the old "Ramar in the Jungle" movies with the baddie (and sometimes goodies) getting caught in the quicksand and slowly sinking.  That was me, the "goodie" (or "baddie") trapped in the quicksand.

(Note: I couldn't find a "quicksand" video of Ramar of the Jungle so this will have to do. I'm telling you, those quicksand scenes really made an impression on my 10 year old mind when I watched the "Ramar in the Jungle" TV series in the Fifties. Sort of like an early version of the "Psycho" shower scene.) 

(2nd Note: If you want to watch the video turn the music of this blog off by pressing the button to the left)

What was I doing on my neighbor's lawn?  I don't exactly remember other than I was doing my absentee neighbor a favor by either collecting his mail or going to his front entrance to take a picture of my beautiful domicile.  Whatever it was, I was created a problem that wasn't there before.

So now to interpret this dream.  What happened that would cause these thoughts to go through my mind?  I did a little quick self-evaluation of my eclectic life in the previous hours before I took my Daily Nap.

  • I was to meet a real estate friend for lunch today.  
  • Lunch was my suggestion (and on me).
  • I wanted to introduce my friend to the Surfing Crab, which is just down the road from me.
  • I also wanted to have lunch at the Surfing Crab because I like it but haven't been there for 2 years.
  • After lunch I was going to bring back to my development and introduce him to my neighbor who is selling his house. This way I was doing two people favors; my friend who is new to real estate and my neighbor (and his wife) who are very nice and always pleasant to me (not everybody is).
  • After driving down the nightmare (or is it "daymare") that is Route 1 south in the summertime, I arrive at the parking lot of the Surfing Crab.  I see a young man sitting on the stoop with a surfboard.  As I turn my car off, he approaches my car.  I roll down the window and am met for a ridiculously young, handsome face which no one should have. I felt like slapping him because he was so good-looking.
  • With a smile he tells me "I'm sorry sir, but the Surfing Crab doesn't open until 4 this afternoon."He gives me a Smile of Pity and turns and walks away, with his surfboard tucked securely under his arm.  I note that he also has a body (from the rear) that most gay men dream about.  I really wanted to slap him now.  So young, so gorgeous.  Somehow it's just not right.
  • So there I am, sitting in my red Subaru Forester, wondering if I should wait for my real estate friend to arrive or just call him and tell him to meet me at my house, which is up the road.
  • Our meeting time of 12:15 arrives, no friend.  12:20 arrives, still no friend.  I wait another 10 minutes and still no friend.  
  • I call his cell phone to tell him to meet me at my house.  No answer.  Ringy Dingy many times and I finally get his voice mail.  I leave a message to meet me at my house (up the road).  
  • I decide to wait a little longer, JUST IN CASE.  I didn't want to be pulling out of the parking lot as he was pulling in. 
  • By the way, the heat today is brutal.  BRUTAL.  I'm out in this Heat That Kills Old People Quickly doing all this business.  Can you believe it? 
  • Also, to get to the Surfing Crab from my location on Rt. 1 I have to make a left turn and cross over, after waiting for a break in the Route 1 north traffic.  I pull my car into the cross over island and am joined by another car from the housing development who also wants to make a U-turn but obviously can't wait.  I turn and look at the driver of that car and am met with a "See there, I can't wait Stupid Ass Smile".  While all this is going on another car is waiting to enter the cross over island form the other direction.  We all end up in the island together.  NOT SAFE.
  •  I turn on my car air conditioner and call my friend's home phone. I get some kind of garble and a message that the phone number is no longer in use.  I call his cell phone again and...after many Ringy Dingys get his voice mail again, I leave a message.
  • I go home, on the way wondering where I'm going to take him for lunch on this typical Dog Days of Summer in Delaware.  The Broadkill Boathouse in Milton?  Nah, they're probably closed too.  Po Boys in Milton?  Nah, they're big on shrimp, crawfish and all that seafood that looks like garbage that is left on the beach after the tide goes out.  I'm not a Seafood Person. 
  • I walk in the door now to be questioned by Bill (The Spouse) - "Why are you back so early?"
  • When you live with someone as I do, you have to explain Everything.  When you go, how long you're going and when you come back.  EVERYTHING.  There is no just going out whenever the mood hits you and returning unexpectedly.  You have to have an EXPLANATION.
  • I tell him that my real estate friend didn't show up.  My Need to Know spouse asks "Didn't he call you?"  I said "No."
  • As I was answering I casually checked my e-mail on my iPhone.  Since I got my iPhone a few months ago, checking my e-mail is almost a reflexive action, probably much to the annoyance of those who interact with me in my daily life.
  • Ah ha!  I see an e-mail from my real estate friend.  He says "Something else came up and I won't be able to make lunch.  Sometime next week?" The time on the e-mail was 25 minutes before I left to meet him.  Uh huh.  So I Missed the Message. 
  • I call my neighbor and tell him that I'm not bringing over my friend the real estate agent today.  I tell him "Something else came up."  
  • My neighbor acknowledges this change of plans and is probably glad he doesn't have to travel from his new dream home on the canal next to Rehoboth Bay at the end of Old Landing Road to our lovely little development out here just off Route 1 with his view of a dry retention pond (the reason he moved - to get a "water view").
  • I decided to have lunch then take my Afternoon Nap.
Now, can you figure out the reason for my Nap Nighmare (or is it "Daymare?)  I tried to do something nice for two people today and it ALL WENT WRONG.  As my always know it all knowledgeable Spouse said "Why did you even go out today?"  And, as always I am reluctant to admit that he might have been right this time.  What was I thinking?  To go out on a brutally hot and humid day like this that just saps the energy out of you?  Just what was I thinking?  

I know what I was thinking.  I'm like a lot of other people. I like people to like me and I thought by doing this little activity today I would be helping two people who I like.  Didn't work that way.  The more I did the more I sunk in the muddy quicksand.  

I was so glad when I woke up and realized that I wasn't muddy up to my chest.  Also, I think where some of this "muddy" came from was the result of our afternoon Downpour yesterday.  We had enough rain to fall in half an hour to take us through the end of the month.  Before I left today I was walking on my neighbors' grass (he's not here, he's a physician who lives and works out of Philadelphia, and yes...his house is ALSO FOR SALE).  Bill and I collect his mail and I occasionally go over to his front doorway to take a picture of my house. Today while I was walking on his grass I was getting the "SOG.SOG.SOG".)  

Add these elements up and I you have the makings of my daytime nightmare (or is it "daymare?")

Thus, another long winded episode in the Life of Ron.  I warned you folks, I write what I think.  

Me, bit clown feet and all

New York City Trip Canceled

The view out of my bedroom window at 6:30 am this morning

This is the day I had planned to be in New York City.  The trip was cancelled.

If the trip had taken place, I would be on a bus with my friend Don at this time headed to New York City, instead of writing this blog about the trip that wasn't.

I had decided last week I didn't want to go on this trip.  Did I really want to go to a big city in the oppressive heat and humidity of mid-summer?  No, not really.  I'm having a hard enough time not getting soaked with sweat every time I go out to change the bird baths here.

Earlier this year I planned to get out more.  In May Bill and I took a week off and traveled through the south, visiting his hometown in Georgia and my brother in South Carolina.  On the way back home we drove up through the mountains of western North Carolina to visit my father's birthplace and my paternal ancestral roots.  I have yet to write any blog postings about that very interesting trip.  I took hundreds of pictures and many videos. Lots to share.

This spring I made trips to the Balitmore Aquarium, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and the Philadelphia Flower Show in Philadelphia.  I enjoyed all these trips but I think it's time to spend more time at home.

The picture at the top of this blog I took this morning out of my bedroom window.  I have a lovely backyard.  In fact I have a terrific backyard.

This is where I'm spending the rest of the year, right in my own backyard.

Me on my deck overlooking my backyard - where I plan to spend the rest of this summer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Me (the tall kid in the middle with legs crossed) with my friends Billy Smith, Pee Wee Mack, Chubby Shores and my brother Isasc (with the baseball mitt) at 120 Washington Avenue. Downingtown, PA 1951

This is my favorite time of year, summertime.  My second favorite time of year is fall but my all time favorite time is summertime.

The hot, long day of summer remind me of growing up on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, PA in the Fifties.  Like most families, mine was very poor although we didn't think all that much about it at that time.  We were too busy having fun with the other kids on our block.

Me (the big kid holding a grasshopper in my finger near my eye) and my brothers John and Isaac and some other kids from the block - we were ready for our big adventure of the day

Summer always seemed to go by so fast.  From the first daylight we would bust out of our apartment to meet with our playmates who lived in the other apartments and houses nearby.  We always had something to do.  We were never bored.

Too soon summer was over and we were headed back to school.  I remember the smell of our new school clothes that my Mother would order from Montgomery Ward.  No more long days, no more playing hide and seek, no more exploring around the railroad yard behind our house.  No more long bike trips to nowhere.  No more exploring abandoned farm house.

Every now and then I got real lucky and was asked to spend a couple of weeks at a farm or house "out in the country."  Those trips for me were better than a visit to Disneyland!

My Mom with me (she has her hand on my neck) and my brothers Isaac and John and my step aunt Mary (long black coat) and my Mother's half sister Ruthie (squatting) at their place in Compass, PA - 1948

My Mother's step-sister, Aunt Mary, and step-mother (Margaret - I was always afraid of her.) lived in a house in Compass, PA.  The house didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing but that wasn't a concern of this 10 year old who was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks of summer "in the country." I loved it!  I remember the smell of the county being so different from the smell of Washington Avenue.

Me and my baby brother John in front of Aunt Mary's bathroom (a working outhouse) -1949
 I remember at nighttime, when everyone was in bed, lying in my bed listening to the sound of the clocks ticking in the modest wood frame house in the field.  I remember using the outhouse and looking down that black hole to the glistening mass below.  Believe it or not, I wasn't freaked out by using an outhouse unlike now where I am so spoiled by the conveniences of modern living I would never consider using such bathroom facilities.

Me with my "Aunt" Mildred and her children Peggy and Duckie (I don't remember the baby's name) -  1951 - by the way Duckie and I were the same age - guess who was big for his age? I think this is why I was so serious - I was very conscious of my height and "big" nose and skinniness - 1952

A couple of times I was asked to go to the Vances farm.  George and Mildred Vance was the brother-in-law and sister of my Aunt Margaret who lived in the apartment above us on Washington Avenue.  They had two children, a son called "Duckie" and a daughter (Peggy).  Duckie was my age.  I was asked to visit them to keep Duckie company.  His family lived on a real farm.  They had a barn with a hay loft.  Lots of pigs.  It was so much fun to swill the pigs with garbage collected from nearby houses.  I can still remember the happy squeals of the pigs as we dumped bucket fuels of stinky garbage in the pig troughs.

Another fun thing Duckie and I did was to play in the corn fields.  We would crawl on our hands and knees through the dirt to create mazes.  I'm surprised at myself now that I was that destructive of those corn fields.  I have cornfields near me now and I would never do something like that.  But when you're a 11 year old kid, you don't think of such things.

Another fun thing Duckie and I used to do was to go into the hayloft and jump into the piles of hay below.  Oh what fun!  I can still remember the smell of that dried hay.  That to me is the smell of summer.  At night we would catch lightening bugs and put them in a Mason jar.

Oh the wonderful times I had in summertime when I was a kid.  We didn't have any money but that didn't seem to matter.  Once in a while we would get a treat to a Tastee Freeze, which today is known as soft ice cream.  My father would pile me and my brothers in the back of his pickup truck and we were off to the Tastee Freeze stand in Thorndale, PA.  Every now and then I would get a root beer float.  Delicious!  The taste of summer.

One of my favorite pictures - me and my brothers (and our dog Sam) at the Old Swimming Hole - again I'm the Big Kid on the right - 1952

Another really favorite treat was when my father would load us up in the car (or pickup truck) and take us to the Old Swimming Hole.  Yep, we had our very own swimming hole.  I don't know who liked that swimming hole more; me and my brothers or our Chesapeake Bay retriever dog Sam.

Me talking to Sam while my brother Isaac looks on - check out that swimming suit, it was yellow! It got a lot of use at that swimming hole - 1952

This was the only swimming me and my brothers ever did when we were growing up.  We never set foot in a swimming pool or the ocean.  The first time I got into a real swimming pool was when I was stationed at Ft. Meade, in Maryland in the early Sixties.  I didn't see the ocean until I was twenty-two years old and Bill took me to Rehoboth Beach which is where I am now.  Ironically since I moved down here in 2006, I have yet to put my foot in the surf of the Atlantic Ocean which is just a few feet away from the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, where I usually spend my time when I do go to the beach.  Ah yes, my absolute favorite swimming days were back in the Fifties.

A different swimming hole - we took a dip on a hot summer evening after picking a couple of buckets of raspberries for Mom - this was our treat - we all had ice cream cones after the swim - who needs a pool?  
These are just some of my memories of summer.  These days I'm creating new memories of summer.

Yes, summertime is the best time of the year.

Me at summertime these days here in Delaware

Monday, July 18, 2011

Man Boobs

Self-portrait this morning of my deteriorating body

Now that I have reinforced my policy of being unashamedly honest in my blog postings, I will now address one of the developments of my aging process.  

As regular readers of this blog know, I am 69 years old and frequently write about my view from this vantage point in my life.  Other than the expected aches and pains that come with getting older, I have no complaints about getting older.  A few months ago I read a friend's blog posting in which he expressed some concern over discovering his first wrinkle (yes, Mark, that's you I'm talking about).  I was amused over his concern.  Heck, I discovered my first wrinkles back in the 80's.  I wasn't bothered at all by that development.  I felt it gave my face more character.  Wrinkles never turned me off on anyone.

However, there is another development that I have recently discovered.  I think I'm getting man boobs!
Some years ago there was a very funny Seinfeld episode in which George's father had man boobs. I laughed along with everyone else who saw that Seinfeld episode.

Provincetown 1979 - before the Fall

All my adult life I've been proud that I've been able to maintain my weight at around 160 lbs.  I've always been lean.  However, I fear time and gravity has taken its toll.  I weigh the same but now I have the boobs that are turning floppy.  I have a spare tire.  I also have the makings of a pot belly.  The three parts of the man's body that is the first to go.  With women it is generally their thighs and butt. 

I guess I could up my exercise routine and do some kind of exercise to firm my boobs, waist and abdomen.  But then I think not.  I just get so tired anymore.  

However, I can take some comfort knowing I'm not alone.  Hey, checkout "AH-NOLD"!

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Before and After

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Speed Bump

Me at Lenscrafters in Dover Saturday- brain scan next!

The last couple of days I've been feeling sort of out of it.  Off the rails one might say.  There was no one specific reason.  I thought maybe the reason was lately there has been more focus on my blog and what to write and not to write.  I've always written my blog the way I think.  Ironically, a few weeks ago I was criticized by a friend (who no longer reads my blog but who was the one who orientally urged me to keep a blog back in 2006 when I started on and then stopped for about a year), who answered when I asked him why "You write what you think."  Duh, well...I didn't have an answer for that statement because actually, that is what I write on my blog.  I think he was concerned that perhaps I would write about a confidence he  told me.  A justifiable concern for sure.  But I wouldn't do that.  And I was a bit surprised that he would think that I would.

Another concern is my partner.  He's concerned with my language and some of my subject matter.  His concern is always "What will the neighbors think?"  Certainly a justifiable concern if I was go to into the blow by blow action (no pun intended) of my first (and second, and third and best and worst ad infinitum) sexual activities.  But I wouldn't do that either and I was a bit taken aback that he would think so.  Besides, my sexual acrobatics are nonexistent.  Believe me, I'm one of the most boring guys around as far as that arena is concerned.  You're not going to see a Circus Soleil of sexual prowess with this guy (that would be me).  I'm more of the "relationship" type of guy than I am of the raw physicality of sex.  To me, the physical act of sex has always been a "Is That All There Is" moment.  Sorry folks, that's the way it's always been with me.  Frigid Ron.  Maybe that's why I'm still alive today when so many of my compatriots and acquaintances are long gone due to the Gay Plague.  To me a dinner out with a handsome and friendly man was always so much more sensual than hopping in the sack for a quickie.

So anyway, I don't want to go too far down THAT road today.  I'm proving the point again that some of my blogger friends have gently pointed out to me, "Sometimes I don't know where you're going with your blog but I read it anyway."  Hey, that's me...unpredictable.  Sometimes people think they can predict me but they are sadly mistaken.  Many things I am not but one think I am and that is unpredictable.

Back to the subject at hand.  I've been feeling a little out of it lately and I think that was because I felt I was being constricted on my blog.  In my previous blog posting "Still Here" I expressed this concern.  Almost immediately two of my most respected blogger friends sent me a comment reassuring me to write as I think and do not censor my postings for fear of offending a reader or two.  Both of the were right in saying that those interested in my blog postings will continue to read them and those who are not,  well who cares?  I thought I did but I realize now that I don't.  I can't live my life according to the way they want me to live my life.  I can't be someone who I am not.  I have to be me.  Hey, isn't that the lyrics to a song?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Still Here

Me on a "road trip" with my brother circa 1957

Not to worry folks about my recent absence.  I'm still here.  I'm rethinking the direction my future blog postings are going.  I'm rethinking why I write a blog.  I really have to take into consideration who is reading my blog postings.

I have learned that all those persons who read by blog are not those anonymous persons I have never met, nor will I likely every meet them.  Sure, I still have those readers.   But more and more of my blog readers are my neighbors, friends and relatives.  I have to take into consideration what blog subjects I write about.  I guess I can't really go into a lot of interesting detail about the personal aspects of my life.  I really don't want my next door neighbors knowing those facts.  It's not so much of a privacy issue as it is one of not embarrassing my neighbors the next time they see me.  I have the same situation with my friends and relatives.

So what do I write about?  If I'm reduced to writing a bland blog, then that's no fun for me or the reader.  So where is the middle ground?  That's where I am now.  I'm thinking this through.  Bear with me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Real Bargain

161 Crawford Road
Downingtown, PA

This is our former home in Downingtown, PA.  It is located in East Brandywine Township, four miles outside of Downingtown, on 6.875 acres of a wooded hillside.  Bill and I brought the land in 1976 and had the house custom built to our specifications in 1980.  In the twenty-five years we lived there we added many additions, like the sun room (see picture above), brick terrace, and extensive landscaping and three ponds filled with goldfish.

Because I couldn't keep up with the ever increasing Pennsylvania school taxes and the other county taxes which were rising at the rate of 20 to 25% a year, I put the house up for sale in January of 2006 for $695,000.  Four days later I had an offer of $640,000 which I laughed at and refused much to my later regret because this was the beginning of the downtown of the housing market.

I eventually sold the house for $500,000 in November of 2006 and moved to our newly built house here in Delaware (where I am typing this blog from).

The new owners of our old home (a couple from Florida with two young daughters) bought our house at the great bargain of $500,000 and promptly refinanced it for $567,000, thus netting a tidy profit. I had sold the house for less than its value just to stop the pain of carrying two mortgages.

The new owner upgraded the house by putting in a new master bath and finished off the room above the garage for a home office.

For whatever reason, he could no longer keep up the monthly mortgage payment (I think there was a family discord but I don't know that for sure), so he simply abandoned the property in early 2009.  The property has been sitting vacant for almost two years now.

All of my lovingly planted shrubbery was left to grow and grow.  The ponds fell into stagnation.  I don't even want to think what happened to all the happy fish who used to reproduce in those ponds.  That was one of my problems, what to do with all the fish I was producing.

Last August the house went into foreclosure.  It was auctioned off.  I don't know who the new owners are but I do know they have been trying to sell it for the past six months.  They are selling it "as is."  Well, let me tell you the "as is" just means the grounds were let go.  No leaves were raked, no branches picked up, no shrubs trimmed.  The inside of the house is just as solid as we left it, even more so because I put in many upgrades, including $4,700 for all new top of the line granite counter tops in the kitchen (what was I thinking)?

The past few months Bill and I have been watching the price of our former paradise (which Bill still loves) go down and down.  Here is the latest price:

Folks,                         THIS IS A BARGAIN!

 $379,900?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

If I had the money (which I don't) I would buy this in a snap!  I'm playing the lottery.  Maybe lightening will strike and I'll win the BIG BUCKS!  Then I would make Bill's dream come true, he could go back home to the place he has never stopped loving.  

Bill sitting on the terrace he built late August 2006, a few months before we moved to Delaware

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Old Friends Reunite

Larry, Stuart and Ron October 1957 - check out the hair!

Larry, Stuart and Ron July 10, 2011

This past Sunday my longtime friend Larry and I reunited with the third member of our old grade school and high school friend Stuart.  Stuart lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida these days.  Larry lives in the northern part of Delaware, which is about an hour and a half from me.

Me standing behind Stuart for our official 3rd grade picture - 1950
I'm the one with the mop of hair standing next to the pigtailed girl whose name I remember to this day - Margaret West.  The boy standing next to Stuart is Donald Murphy and the head of the boy standing down front is Francis Trego.  I can't remember what I did yesterday but I remember these names!

During the Fifties Stuart, Larry and I were best friends.  We definitely were not part of the "In Group" of our high school.  We were on the outer fringes but we did find one another and had a wonderful friendship.  Stuart was the only Jewish student in our class.  Larry was (and is) a quiet, shy only child.  And you all know about me if you are a regular reader of this blog.  I was the only homosexual ("gay" back in those days - The Fifties - meant that you were happy and carefree) IN THE WORLD back in those days.  Of course I was in the closet.  I didn't even come out to my friends.  Somehow we all seem to coalesce into the same orbit.

Larry 1950

Ron 1950

Me (in back to the left), Larry (in back to the right) and Stuart (in front to the right) in a class play about scarecrows 1953 - I don't remember the play but I do remember the smell of the greasepaint!
Of course after we finished high school we all went in our separate directions.  Stuart went on to college.  I joined the Army.  Larry got married.

Over the years we lost touch.  Once I ran into Larry on Spruce Street in Philadelphia.  Another time Stuart briefly worked at the same bank I worked at in Philadelphia.  However, we were all consumed with our lives and only had these brief encounters.

The three of us goofing around one summer 1957

Stuart and Larry 1957 - baseball fanatics

Fast forward forty some years.  In 2001, a few months after 9/11, I received a Thanksgiving card from Larry's Mother.  She suggested that I give Larry a call.  Larry has recently lost his banking job (one day before 9/11 of all dates) and she thought I could life his spirits.  A few years before I had lost my banking job.  I knew how to survive.  I called Larry and thus began the renewal of our friendship.  It was like we had never left off, except for the forty year gap.

Larry gets married 1960-still married!
Larry and me during my Army days 1962
A few years ago Stuart would call us on the phone from his home in Ft. Lauderdale.  We started exchanged birthday greetings and sometimes just called to talk.

Me and Larry with our third grade teacher Miss Elizabeth Ezrah 2003

Recently Stuart lost two close friends.  He decided that he wanted to see us in person.  His wonderful daughter Leslie knew of our situation.  She got the ball rolling and suggested that we all meet in the Philadelphia area when Stuart was visiting relatives in New York City.

Larry and me a June 21, 2011 at the Purple Parrot Rehoboth Beach, DE - the friendship continues!
We had that meeting this past Sunday.  It was wonderful!  We met at a deli in Broomall, PA that is owned by one of Stuart's relative.

Me and Larry at the Deli in Broomall, PA July 10, 2011

This is the video of that reunion.  It's a little long so maybe you want to deactivate the music function on this blog.  Just go to the button and press it once with your mouse.  Now if you have about 15 minutes, enjoy this wonderful video my friend Larry (who is giving Steven Speilberbg some serious competition) put together.  This is what life is all about:  the camaraderie of old friends.  I am so glad that Stuart's daughter pushed us into this reunion.  These are memories to last a lifetime (or what little time we have left).  Enjoy!

Friends forever!

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...