Friday, June 29, 2012

"Ahoy, me Hearties!"

This year's theme for my annual Olde Tyme Photo is pirates!  Yep, pirates.

My longtime friend and partner in adventure (since 1951 - 3rd grade!) Lar came down here to the former pirate enclave that was coastal Delaware early this morning.  For the past three years now this is how we celebrate Lar's birthday (June 27th), we go for one of those cheesy old time photo tourist shop that dot the summertime seaside resorts of the East Coast.

"I'm a pirate. I'm my own captain."

The temperatures today, even this morning were God awful.  I didn't even look but I think they were hovering around 100 degrees.  Walking around in this heat and humidity I almost feel like I needed an oar and a canoe.

"If ye can't trust a pirate, ye damn well can't trust a merchant either."

I finally finished my three day shift of work at the hotel.  Yes, again I'm working extra days.  I love working at the hotel but I would like to keep it down to two days a week.  An occasional fill in is all right but not every week.  Next week I'm scheduled to go in on Wednesday,  yes the FOURTH, and Thursday.  That should keep me jumping.  I've already informed my manager that that is WHEN I will see him, not a day earlier.

"A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas."

I rarely if ever go to Rehoboth beach in season, it is just TOO crowded and crazy.  Sure, it's summertime and there are a lot of cool  hot bodies (are there ever!) strolling and posing on the boardwalk.  But I prefer to make my boardwalk appearances early in the morning before the heat and traffic descends upon the land.

"If ye thinks he be ready to sail a beauty, ye better be willin' to sink with her."

Lar and I stopped in Dos Locos, a very popular eatery on the main drag of Rehoboth with is named Rehoboth Avenue of all things, imagine that!  A friend of mine works as a hostess host.  I haven't seen him in a long time in the flesh but I do read his blog occasionally which never fails  to entertain with his sardonic wit observations on the many absurdities of life.  Plus, I love seeing people who do their job well and he is one of the best at what he does.  

"There comes a time in most men's lives where they feel the need to raise the Black Flag."

Oh my God, it was so refreshing to get out of the heat and step inside the cool environs of the Dos Locos restaurant.  Our gracious host escorted us to our booth.  I felt the need for a crushed ice Margarita.  My friend ordered an Old Fashion.  I would show you a picture of taking my first suck of my Margarita but I couldn't get the flash to stop on my iPhone.  The iPhone is great in every other aspect but it takes lousy flash photos.  You'll have to imagine me imbibing my south of the border refreshment.  By the way, I got a nice little buzz from it too.  Buzzes are always welcome.  Been awhile since I had a BUZZ.  I don't drink and drive and I don't have anyone else to go out to lunch with (Bill doesn't like to go out) so I rarely get the opportunity like I did today.  Thanks Lar for driving!

"The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate."

You know, I've done a lot of research in my family history but one thing I've never found is a pirate.  Fancy that.  I have found Indian fighters, hillbillies galore (God did I ever!),  merchants and even a senator and congressional representative.  Baseball players, soldiers (both sides of the Civil War God bless them) and even an actor or two but nary a pirate.  You can bet if I did find a pirate I would not hesitate to brag. 

"I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, A poet, a pawn and a king; I've been up and down and over and out, And I know one thing; Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race."

Sometimes I think I have the seafaring blood in me.  I've always had the yearning all my life to "live near the water."  And since I moved to Delaware six years ago I am living "near the water."  And I love it!

"Ye can swab the poop deck, but ye can't poop on the swab deck."

The first Tipton in this county, my sixth great grandfather was Jonathan Tipton.  He immigrated to this country from Port Royale, Jamaica. Doesn't that sound very "piratey?"  He wasn't a pirate as far as I can figure out, he actually made barrel staves for rum barrels.  A hurricane wiped out his business so he made a new beginning and landed in Anne Arundel County (Baltimore) Maryland in the late 1600's.  Why was he in Jamaica?  The best we can figure out he was either an indentured servant at one time or a political refuge who fled England (he was a Royalist who supported King Charles II) when Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads took over.  Both stories have some credence in the Tipton family history.

I don't want to bore you all with my family history, I'll leave that to my other blog "Tipton Tales and Trails."  But I did want to make the point that at one time one of my Tipton ancestors was on the high seas.  I wondered if he ever encountered any pirates.

"Dead men don't tell tales."

"See you in Davie Jones' Locker."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life's Lessons

Okay folks, here are a few nuggets of wisdom that I have accumulated since I made my debut as a newly minted young baby boy on this planet in November of 1941, one month before World War II..

I have listed these tried and true pearls of lessons learned in no particular order.  There are the lessons of life that I have learned in three score and ten years of my life so far. I guarantee you that if you apply these lessons to your life you may be just as happy as I am now.
  • Aim high.  You might not always achieve your goal but you will end up a lot higher than you ever dreamed.
  • Don't let the bastards get you down.  There will always be somebody who is jealous, envious or just plain mean who will try and bring you down.  Do not pay attention to them.  Pity their sad lives and go on with your life.
  • Always, but always treat eveyone kindly and with respect, especially the elderly, children and animals.
  • Never, but never attempt to get even or revenge.  It will always come back to bite you in the ass.
  • Always do your best whether it be at your job, hobby or keeping house.  You will be rewarded many times over.
  • Stand by your principals even if they differ from your friends, relatives and those in authority.  They will have more respect for you if you do and none if you don't.
  • Always be willing to offer to help but not enable.  There is a difference.
  • Be generous, even if others do not repay your kindness. 
  • If someone doesn't like you, and there will be those, part company.  If you don't you will only continue to annoy that person and frustrate yourself more.  These people need to find their own path even though it's not with you.  Don't waste your time (and theirs).
  • Always, but always question authority.  Just because someone is in authority doesn't mean they know more than you do.  It probably means they are slicker than you in getting to that position.  They are not smarter or nicer than you. 
  • Don't fret over mistakes that you make.  We all make them.  Learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
  • Be unafraid to state your opinion. Someone will always disagree with you whatever opinion you have.  That doesn't mean your wrong.
  • Stand your ground.  Run only when you're outnumbered.
  • Be happy with the body that you were born with and take good care of it.  Your kindness and generosity will outshine any bodily defects and make you more attractive than the most perfect model.
  • Find the good in any bad situation you find yourself in.  Adversity will make you stronger.
  • Be thankful for all the good things that you have in life.  Do not take anything for granted.
  • Always remember that there are two kinds of people in life.  The Good People and the Weasels.  The Good People will always outnumber the Weasels.  The Weasels will never change so keep  your distance from them. The Weasels will only use you and discard you when there is nothing left.
  • And finally, make the most of every day you are granted life.  We all are serving a death sentence.  While some of us live longer than others, we all have the opportunity no matter how long or short time we have on this earth to make a difference.  We are all given that opportunity.  Take it.
And that my friends is the Purpose of Life - making a difference.

Notice that I haven't said anything about LOVE.  Love yourself and others and they will in turn love you.  That's the way it works.  Don't waste your time hating.  It will only bring you down.  Love begates love.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Ruminations on a Summer Day

Totem poles for sale at Tiki (up the road from Casa Tipton-Kelly)

Hey folks!  Haven't been blogging for a few days.  Did you notice?

Don't worry, the well hasn't run dry.  It's just that there is so much to do.  For one thing I was called into work AGAIN yesterday because my co-worker had a family emergency.  Almost every week she asks me to either switch times with her or work her shift.  I feel like a fireman, I can't plan anything because I'm always expecting a text message from her with her latest emergency.  I understand every family, and I HAVE a family too folks, has emergencies but every week?  I told my boss I would like to work at least one month just my shift.  You know, for a change, a novelty.  He wasn't to encouraging.

I don't mind filling in for my coworkers occasionally but not every week.  I have a life too.  Yep, I sure do.

I write all this knowing that my co-workers read my blog.  Maybe this needs to be said.

The weather the past few days has been absolutely gorgeous!  Man oh man, I could take this kind of weather all summer.  Won't last though.  This morning I felt the humidity creep in our coastal haven.  The heat and humidity are returning this weekend, according to the weather forecasts.  Oh I can't wait.

I work two more days then I have Friday off.  My friend Lar is coming down and we're celebrating his birthday with lunch and some Olde Time Photos.  Yep, all part of my life.

This afternoon I'm attending a viewing for the mother of a good friend of mine.  I'm out of sympathy cards again.  Every year I stock up on sympathy cards for this year's deaths.  Here it is June and I'm out already. Just another facet of being an Oldie Goldie as I am now.  Friends, former classmates, relatives, parents of friends and neighbors....all dropping off with alarming regularity.  Soon it will be my time.  Oh yes, I'm going down that road not too long in the future and I'm all right with that because I won't know anything.

My friend Lar (yes, the same one that is visiting me this Friday to celebrate his birthday) just put his parents (94 and 92 respectively) in a "care facility" or whatever they call nursing homes today.  Hey folks, I'm not going there.  First of all I can't imagine myself being in my 90's.  Then again I couldn't imagine myself in my 70's, which is where I am now.  I never thought I would make it past 60 years of age.  But here I am, an official Old Man.  Actually, it's not too bad other than when I get up in the boring everything seems to ache.  I'm not too ugly yet but getting there.  My brain is still functioning, I think my job helps keep me focused and not degenerate into dementia like my good and longtime friend Big Bob.  But 90 years old?  Can you imagine yourself at 90 and living in a living care facility?  I can't and I won't.  For one thing I'm just too damn fussy.  If I didn't die a week after I enter a nursing home someone would kill me.

So there you go folks.  Another stream of consciousness from your friend Ron.  Got that off my chest.

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bill Gets His Milkshake

Bill gets his strawberry milkshake

All is quiet on this summer's eve as darkness falls upon our humble abode here in Covington Chase, Delaware.

A few minutes ago I saw our neighbor Don's garage door open.  I guess he returned from having Sunday dinner with his friends in Rehoboth.  I feel so sorry for Don every time I see him at his big house across the way.  Don's longtime partner (40 years) Al died a few months ago.  That's tough when you're an older gay man and you're no longer partnered up.  I dread the day if and when Bill departs.  I'm hoping I go first.

There's Don bouncing around that big house over there with no purpose that I can see.  Maybe he does have a purpose, none that I know of anyway.  Don is one of those people who work, work, work and has no outside interests. I wonder how he manages these days.

During these hot summer days I like to take Bill for a ride and get him a milkshake.  Last night I tried a "twofer", killing two birds with one stone.  I stopped down at Panera Bread Co. to stock up on my black bean soup and get Bill a milkshake at the same time.  Of course Panera Bread doesn't do milkshakes.  I got a strawberry smoothie instead.  When I handed it to Bill in the car he said "What's this?"  I told him it was a "smoothie, it's the same."  He said "We'll see."  Guess what folks?  It's not the same.  Bill takes one sip and looks at me and says "Well, it's cold."

I pulled out of the parking lot, and changed the subject.  Occasionally I glanced over to Bill and saw that he was sucking on the straw but he wasn't happy but he wasn't complaining either.  Finally, after he was about half done I said "Let me try it." I took a sip and guess what?  It was good!  Certainly not a milkshake but refreshing.  Sort of like a big healthy slushy.  I finished it off.

This evening, I had a couple of Find a Grave requests in Lewes.  I asked Bill if he wanted to come along.  I told him I would stop at Dairy Queen after I looked for these graves and get his milkshake.  His eyes lit up!  Just like when me and my brothers back in the Fifties after a hot day of weeding corn our father would take us to the local Tastee Freeze for a treat.  Oh my, how good were those days!  Sometimes I got a root beer float and other time I just got a big Tastee Freeze which is just soft custard.  You know, nothing much has surpassed that taste treat since then.

The line at the Dairy Queen in Lewes, DE tonight - it moved fast!

I don't like to drive into Lewes on weekends because the parking is horrendous.  Well, perhaps not horrendous but bad.  Surprisingly enough I found an easy parking slot right outside the Dairy Queen and it wasn't the handicapped spot either.

I go inside and get in line with the beach goers and await my turn.  This Dairy Queen is very well organized.  One line for the orders and you get your number which is called out.  Much like Panera Bread does.  Hey, do you think these food emporiums are finally getting it?  I think so!

I got a LARGE strawberry milkshake for Bill.  I didn't get one for myself because I had not eaten dinner yet.  I'll have my treat later tonight (strawberry shortcake).  As you can see from the photo at the top of this blog I made up for last night.  Bill is happy.  I'm happy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Roadside vegetable stand - Milton, DE

Well folks, we're officially into the lazy, hazy days of summer.  I just got back from Panera Bread.  I figured it was safe to go out on Route 1 this time of evening.  The Saturday logjam of traffic was pretty well dissipated by this hour of the day.

Bill checking out our neighbors' garage sale items this morning

It was SO HOT today, that we just lazed and hazed our day around the house here today.  Some of our neighbors has a garage sale.  We are asked to participate but I just couldn't get up the enthusiasm for getting some of my junk collectibles together to put on display to possibly sell for 25 or 50 cents.  Not for me folks.

I'm trying to think of what I did today and my mind is drawing a blank.  How about this for a blog posting?  I'm coming up empty folks!

Francis Scott Key
Oh, how about this?  On Wednesday and Thursday at the hotel I checked in a couple of distinguished guests. On Wednesday it was Francis Scott Key.  You remember Francis don't you?  He wrote our national anthem, "The Stars Bungled Banner".  The one that is so hard to sing and remember the lyrics to.  The gentleman was quite a pleasure to meet.

Dolly Madison
Thursday Dolly Madison herself checked in the hotel.  I asked "Dolly" if I could take her picture.  She said "Well, I'm a bit dewey ( I think she meant she was sweaty) but alright." The heat and humidity of the past week left no one untouched folks, even the wife of the fourth president of these United States, Dolly Madison.  Seriously though folks, these fine individuals were actors in town for historical reenactments of the Lewes Historical Society.  The hotel where I work was generous enough to provide them with room and board.  That's just the kind of fine gentleman I work for.

At the top of this blog is a picture of the roadside fruit and veggie stand in Milton.  Summer doesn't officially begin for me until this stand opens.  It opened this week and I got my first ears of fresh corn.  Delicious!

I hope you're enjoying your summer as much as I am.

Karen Klein's Tormentors Apologize

All four of the middle school teenage boys have now apologized to Karen Klein.  Like Karen, I doubt the sincerity of their apology.  After all, like Karen says "How sincere is a 13 year old after they've done what they've done? I don't know."  I agree Karen.  But it's a step, however small, in the right direction.  Maybe someday it will sink into their still developing brains that they did wrong.

I am so thankful for the new technology which enables abuse like what happened to Karen to instantly become viral.  Not only bad policemen and others in authority exposed for what they are but also the senseless cruelty of teenagers like these four numb brains who cruelly bullied Karen that day on the school bus.  A lot is made of the lack of privacy of the new Internet age but this is one good aspect.  Maybe this incident will change the way some parents raise their kids to know that it is unacceptable to bully anybody whether it be a fellow classmate, a gay or lesbian, or an elderly, widowed grandmother who is trying to make a living by being a bus monitor.

I loved this interview with Karen because she comes across as real and genuine.  I hope you have a very happy life from here on out Karen!

School Bus Monitor Bullied

Here is a disturbing video of the new incivility in this country that I firmly believe that results when a certain segment of our population (read "Republicans") think it is all right to disrespect our president.  When the president's State of the Union speech is disrupted by a member of Congress yelling "You lie!" and his Rose Garden address interrupted by a member of the press rudely asking questions, this is the result.

Four teenage boys, seventh graders viciously taunt and bully their school bus monitor, an older lady named Karen.  Oh sure, I know some will say "This is what teenage boys do."  Uh huh. This teenage boy would NEVER do something like this.  Know why? Because my brain doesn't think that way.  I was raised differently that obviously these boys WERE NOT RAISED.  I don't blame these snots as much (oh, I do put plenty of blame on them) as I do their parents.

Some say Karen should bring charges against the boys.  Karen doesn't want to do that and I agree with her.  I hear two of the boys "apologized" to Karen.  Of course the cowardly snots did not make their apology to her face, bullies never do that because they are cowards.  What do I think the appropriate punishment should be?  Well, I wouldn't call it punishment but the least they could do is appear in public WITH THEIR PARENTS and apologize not only to Karen but to society for their cruel, inhumane and vicious actions.

I am so mad I can hardly type this blog.  I truly believe this is the behavior that results when those in our society like out lawmakers show rude and unacceptable behavior, then impressionable kids think that is all right.  IT ISN'T!

What is also unacceptable is the reaction of a so-called "expert" that I saw on TV yesterday.  She said Karen should have confronted those boys.  Well you know what "expert", people are different.  I had the same situation several times when I worked at a hotel in Pennsylvania where some underage kids snuck in the hotel on New Year's Eve and were other guests by their loud and raucous behavior.  I confronted the kid and asked him to "keep it down."  He responded to me by telling me "Go f*ck yourself!"  I told him "You're out of here!"  He ran and hid in another room.  I called the police and when they arrived I had him taken into custody and called his parents to pick his wise ass up.  Case taken care of.

I was bullied a few times in my young life.  The first time I took it (I was in first grade).  The second time I swung back (7th grade).  The third time I punched back (8th grade).  The fourth time I went after my tormentor with a broom handle (my rifle was locked in a gun rack, and I would have used it if it wasn't).  That was in basic training.  Several times since those incidents in my lifetime I have encountered these cowardly bullies who have mistakenly misunderstood my gentle demeanor as a weakness and attempted to bully me.  Every time I have thrown it right back in their face and they have ALWAYS backed down.  I understand bullies will go as far as they can get away with it.  I understand not everyone is like me who will fight back.  Those are the people who we have to protect.  Where was the bus driver while all this was going on?

It angers me so when I see bullying like this going on and accepted by some as funny and even worse, condoned by parents just like the Republican leadership was silent when the bullies in their own party disrespected president Obama.

This has to stop.

Now if you want to do something nice, donate to this website   that a kind young man has set up for Karen to give her a vacation.  All the money, every penny will go to Karen.  This is a start.

By the way, this is the kind young man who started the website to give Karen the vacation of her lifetime.  Hopefully she will take all the money that is raised and retire from being a bus monitor.  And please Karen, don't give any of the money to these mean, vicious kids.

Max Sidorov's Facebook account

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Rains Came and Other Mutterings

Hey folks!  We got a break from the sweltering heat wave of the past few days here in Slower Lower Delaware.  

Late this afternoon, shortly after I took Bill on his weekend late afternoon ride, the skies open and the deluge descended upon us.  Didn't know I could speak French did you?

Late this afternoon I took Bill for his ride to the Broadkill Beach development off of Route 16.  When we first moved to lower Delaware bill was put off by many of the names of the local communities like Broadkill, Slaughter Beach, Murderkill and Assawoman Bay.  I kid you not, I am not making up these names.  We live in some kind of funky area of these United State folks.

As you can see form the posted video that I took with my iPhone shortly after we hit the road, the downpour began.  We had to pull over to the side of the road.  I couldn't see where I was going and I don't want to have a head-on and become another Delaware traffic statistic.

As you can see folks, Bill and I live some kind of exciting life.  Well, actually we do.  Not for us the constant swirl of parties and tinkling of glasses and phony friends.  That never was our lifestyle.  We enjoy each other's company.  Of course I worry about the day that I might go solo.  I have to tell you I'm not to thrilled about that possibility. I'm sort of hoping that I go first.  But I can't think about those things now.  I live one day at a time as they say.

I worked hard last night at the hotel.  Oh the stories I could tell but I won't because the folks I work with at the hotel read this blog (including the owner sometimes).  Uh huh.  I get in enough trouble as it is, I don't need to get into trouble at work.  I'll save those stories for sometime in the future should I become fully retired.  I could write a book about my hotel experiences of the past twelve years.  A funny book.  Mostly bitching but some of the stuff I've had happen to me and observed is not to believed.  Way more interesting than anyone of these faux "reality" shows on the no-name channels.

This is the first official summer weekend here in southern Delaware. The bugs (and mosquitoes) are out in full force and quite aggressive I must say.  My days of lingering in the Back Forty (our backyard) are limited because I don't relish being dinner for mosquitoes.  

I just got in from my walk and I see where I brought in a lot of these ant like flies which I am in the process of squeezing the life out of as I type this nonsensical blog posting.  No Mark, I don't know where I'm going with this posting.  

I'll now have more time to see what the latest lie Mitt Romney is trying to palm off on the portion of our public who hate Obama so much they'll suck up anything Romney and the shameless Republicans will put out there.  One thing I will never be able to figure out is how people (some of my best friends too!) can go against their own self interest and support a person like Romney who has absolutely no character. Don't you folks realize that Romney and the Republicans only want to cut taxes farther for the rich and defund all the social safety programs like Social Security and Medicare?  You know one thing?  I may dislike Romney and the Republicans but my hate doesn't even come close to those who hate Obama with such unrelenting intensity they can't see ONE THING that Obama has done good.  I can actually see some good aspects of Romney.  Of course the one thing I cannot forgive him for (and it's not tying Seamus on the roof of his car but that is a biggie) is the fact that he gave his five sons a pass on serving in the military.  When asked why none of his FIVE SONS ever served he said "They work on my campaign which is the same."  NO IT'S NOT MITTSY!  What a arrogant, stupid, and soulless comment to make and a disrespect to all those who have served this country and sacrificed so much.  For that reason alone I would never vote for this empty soul of a man called Willard Mitt Romney.  

There, how's that for getting off track?  Say, I go wherever my brain is transmitting to my fingers on this iMac keyboard.

Excuse my while I squash another fly.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sweltering Heat Wave

I took this photo a few minutes ago - see how I'm "enjoying" this heat? Oh man.

Oh my God.  OMG!  Is it ever hot here in good old Slower Lower Delaware.  This is Miami weather.

Heat index 105 with maximum humidity.  I feel like I'm walking in the bottom of a warm pool with the oven door open.  What is going on here?

As regular readers of this superior blog know, I like to include current photos with my blog postings.  Not for me the generic photos that are the realm of the lazy and still in the closet bloggers.  So it was some challenge this morning to venture out our garage door to look for a suitable subject to convey the heat and humidity of this day at Casa Tipton-Kelly.  NO ONE IS OUTSIDE!  Even the birds are keeping a low profile.  I trudged (and "trudged" is the appropriate description of how I walked to the other end of my back yard) to see if there was any insect activity in my perennial border.  Ah ha!  I captured an engineer bee working on my recently bloomed oregano plants. Oh how the insects love my herb plants.  Bill doesn't like them because they don't display big blooms but the insects thrive on them and that's why I plant herbs (lavender, dill, oregano, sage, thyme) in my perennial border.

So back to my Daily Photo.  I looked around and saw no other suitable subject so I go back to.....ME!  Yep, here is a photo of me a few minutes ago wilting under this heat and humidity. And, if I do say so myself, I don't look too bad for a 70 year old geezer on his way out do I?  It's the lighting folks.  A little trick I learned from Joan Crawford.

So here we go folks.  I worked last night at the hotel.  Sold a lot of rooms.  I am working again tonight.  Then I'm off until next Wednesday.  This working two nights a week suits me very well.  Gets me out of the house, gives Bill a little breathing room, reinforces my self-esteem that I still matter in this world and I get to meet a lot of new cool folks.  You would be surprised at the variety of folks who check in our little boutique hotel here in Lewes, Delaware...the First Town in the First State.  Yep, no one else can say that folks and believe me, I saw it a LOT when checking in guests for the first time at our comfy, cozy hotel in downtown Lewes.

I have a little headache now just from that short sojourn outside to take a few photos.  I can't take this heat folks.  I can't breath.  Now I see why they always warn the old folks to stay inside during heat waves like we're having now.

That's about it for now.  I'm on this computer this morning staying cool until lunch time, then a nappy nap before I go to work this afternoon.  And as someone from my past often says when he ends his posting:  "and so it goes".  Or was that Walter Cronkite?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whole Lotta Love

These days I often think of my "glory years" back in the 70's.  Yes folks, that was my time.  Even though I grew up in the 50's and came of age in the 60's, the 70's were MY TIME.  I don't much remember the 80's, I think I was too busy with my job at the bank.  The 90's are a blank and of course the Two Thousands (how do I say that anyway?) were also a blur.  So here I am now in the 2010's reflecting on my wonderful years now and in the past.  Now and in the past?  Oh yes, NOW and also in the past. Time flies.

Me with the only dog who ever loved me - Horace - 1982

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baby Bird Rescue!

Hatched Purple Martin egg shell in the grass at the base of the birdhouse

I just got up from my afternoon nap and walked in our backyard to water my new river birch trees.  On the way back, passing the Purple Martin house, I noticed a "leaf" moving in the grass at the base of the house that moved oddly.  Upon closer examination I saw that it was a naked baby bird, reaching its open mouth for food.  Nearby I saw a broken egg.  Uh oh, one of the eggs just fell from the Purple Martin house to the ground.  Emergency action needed to be taken.

No, I didn't take a picture of the newly hatched, naked baby Purple Martin.  Somehow that didn't seem right to take a picture of this poor creature that was born minutes ago, struggling to survive.  I just didn't feel right about this.  Now that I think about it, probably because some blog troll will think I staged the event.  Believe me folks, I get some strange comments on this blog.  I don't post all of my comments, especially from Blog Trolls.

I quickly walked back to the house and, seeing Bill come out of the garage I said "One of the baby Purple Martin eggs fell out of the house and hatched in the grass." He knew what I was going to do:  BIRD RESCUE.

I got my big step ladder out of the garage, took it to the Purple Martin house.  Bill followed me.  I opened and climbed the ladder to the Purple Martin house and checked the first apartment.  Ah ha!  The very first apartment had five naked baby birds.  No eggs shells though.  Oh, wait a minute!  I think the mother Purple Martin made a BIG MISTAKE.  She was cleaning out the eggs shells and must have pulled one out that still had a baby bird in it.

The bottom middle hole is where I placed the baby Purple Martin

While I was at the top of the ladder, Bill had picked up the little creature and was cupping it in the palm of his hand.  I asked him to hand the baby bird to me.  It was warm in my hand as I placed it gently with its sisters and brothers in the apartment.

Interestingly there were no adult Purple Martins around when I discovered baby Purple Martin or while I was performing my rescue.  Once I placed the bird in the nest and climbed down the ladder and folded the ladder up and began to walk away Bill and I heard the squall of several Purple Martins.  We looked back and saw eight or nine Purple Martins swooping around the birdhouse, making a racket.

When I got back to the garage, I looked back and I saw a female Purple Martin scoot into that lower apartment where I placed the rescued baby bird.

Yes folks, all is well in my latest Backyard Drama.  This is good.

Bill after helping me with the Rescue, returns to working on our front driveway.
We're gay so we have a LOT OF COLOR when you enter our driveway.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Home Saved!

Bill and I brought the land for that home in 1976 and built the home in 1980.  We lived there for twenty-five glorious years until we were forced out by the high taxes of living in Pennsylvania.  That was the main reason why we moved to Delaware.

The twenty-five years we lived in our home on seven acres in East Brandywine Township (four miles outside of Downingtown) we put a lot of work into that property to make it a real Shangri-la. Bill especially put a lot of manual labor into that house.  I did all the landscaping.  We had a regular Longwood Gardens.

When we sold our home in November of 2006 we were hoping that the new owners would take good care of our "baby".  That was not to be.  They did nothing.  After two years they walked away from it and the house and property went into foreclosure.  For two years the house was abandoned.  Bill and I would occasionally visit only to become more depressed as we witnessed the neglect and disrepair.  Last year the vandals started to steal things from the house and property.

This past winter we heard that the house was sold at a sheriff's auction.  The home that I sold for $500,000 (a $100,000 lose for me, another whole story which I've touched on before in previous blog postings but won't go into again here) the new owners bought for $302,000.  That was a buy!  Of course they had a lot of work to do.

One of our former neighbors sent me a Facebook comment (Facebook is good for something after all) telling me that a young couple with a small child was now living at our former home and cleaning it up.  Of course Bill and I wanted to see what was going on.  We waited a few months and yesterday we pounced.

The new owners of our former home in PA - great couple!

We arrived unannounced. They were surprised also to realize they were meeting the man who built the house they are now living in.  They invited us in and we were pleasantly surprised.  Wow, look what they did to the kitchen!  They knocked out a wall and now the whole area flows into the den.  They also took off the tile floor in the kitchen to expose the oak floor beneath.  Bill and I both agreed, we want to live there again!

The new kitchen!

I think Bill is happy with the new owner

Even better than the physical changes was meeting the new owners who were indeed a very nice couple.  They have an 18 month old son who was adorable.  What a home that kid is going to grow up in.  I envy him.  I wish I could have grown up in such a home instead of the second floor apartment in the low income section of Downingtown where my two brothers and I grew up, without our own backyard or land to play on (he played on the railroad tracks out back).

Bill and I are so relieved.  This is the couple we were hoping would take our "baby."  They have a lot of work to do yet but they realize that they got a good buy and that the home is solid with an excellent location.  He said his uncle told him he was "crazy" if he didn't buy it because all the neglect and overgrown shrubbery was only cosmetic.  The basic were good which is what Bill and I knew but apparently many prospective buyers couldn't see past.

Me with the new owner - you know I had to get a photo of me in here didn't you? :)

We visited for about two hours and Bill promised to help them to get the lights working on the 500 foot driveway again.  I promised to send them pictures of our home before it was abandoned two years ago and was almost destroyed by neglect.

We are so happy and I'm happy for this couple because they now have a fabulous home and they know it.  Also, Bill can continue to visit his old home because he will help them out with their electrical questions.

It's been a long time since Bill has been this happy - here is is at the entrance to our former home
Yes folks, yesterday was a good day.  Very good.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Young Ike Tipton (not a mug shot but an employee ID for Lukenweld Steel)

My father would have been 92 years old this year.  He died August 22, 2000.  He was 80 years old when he died.  He died of lung cancer.  He smoked all his life.  He was told to stop smoking but he never did.  Stubborn to the end, that was my father.

I normally don't post anything on Father's Day just as I never did much to celebrate Father's Day when my father was alive.  We weren't that close.  I was the oldest of this three sons.  I fit the gay stereotype in that I had a distant relationship with my father and a close relationship with my mother.

Since I was 22 years old I have been in a 48 year relationship with an older man (13 years my senior) who in many ways was like my father.  In fact, when my father was alive my partner/spouse/whatever and he were very close.  They were buddies, on the same wave length.  Ironic, no?

I decided today to post a photo montage as a tribute to the man who brought me into this world (as he often reminded me which he finished with "and I can take you out."  Oh yes, he did say that on more than one occasion when we had a disagreement).

Before you view the photos here is a little of his background.  He was born near Pigeon Roost, North Carolina.  He was the fifth son of a total of 12 sons (no daughters) of my paternal grandparents Fieldon Jacob Tipton and Hester Lewis.  My grandparents and father (and uncles) were Appalachian Folk or what is more commonly known as "hillbillies."  My grandfather Fieldon moved his family from the mountains of western North Carolina in 1930 to southeastern Pennsylvania to work as field workers at his brother-in-law Don Byrd's farm in New Garden, Pennsylvania.  Many of the mountain families moved to southeastern Pennsylvania during the Depression to find a better life for their families.  My father met my Mother when he was 19 years old on a double date (he was the other date).  About a year later they eloped to Elkton Maryland (my Mother was still in school and only 16 years old) and got married November 2, 1940. I was born almost one year later on November 9, 1941.

The following is a photo history of my father, Isaac "Ike" Tipton:

My dad liked to play guitar and sing hillbilly music - another Hank Williams - 1938
Ike Tipton still strumming away on his guitar at his first home after he married my Mother

Isaac Walter Tipton, Sr. - tall, blonde, handsome, charming - Ladykiller

Mom, Pop and me (a few months before I was born) - 1941
Pop, Me (the chubby baby) and Mom in Mineral Springs, PA - 1942 - I have arrived

Me with Pop (far right with my hand on his shoulder) and my two brothers John and Isaac, Jr.

Pop (tall man on right in back) with 9 of his 10 brothers) - 1961

Pop with the love of his life - my Mom - 1960

Pop with my two brothers John and Isaac - 1960

Pop and Mom - with his ever present cigarette 
John, me and Pop - 1962
Pop with his dog Pepper, Mom and me  - 1972

Pop making his famous vegetable soup recipe with veggies from his own garden - 1978
The last time I saw Pop  a few weeks before he died August 2000 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ruminations About Living In Delaware

Me at the Rockpile, Millsboro, DE

Yet another glorious day here in southern Delaware!  Oh how I love living here.  I think Bill is even coming around to recognizing that we do indeed live in one of the most beautiful, relaxed and inexpensive (if you avoid the tourist trap restaurants in Rehoboth) locations in the nation.  If someone came up to me today and asked me "If you could live anyplace in the world where would you live?"  Without hesitation I would say "Exactly where I am living now."  

It's no accident that I live in Delaware.  With the consistently ever rising taxes in my home state of Pennsylvania, and me in retirement mode, I knew I had to move someplace else if I was going to survive.  My two choices of retirement locations were either Johnson City, Tennessee (Bill loves the mountains and it is also the location of the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site which offered me a job) or Slower Lower, aka Sussex County, Delaware.  One of the reasons, but not the main reason, I moved to Sussex County and the Rehoboth Beach area was because of the significant gay and lesbian community that already lives or has second homes in this area.  Being gay I had assumed I would fit right into that community.  Well, that didn't happen for various reasons which I won't go into here again but something even better has happened.

I have a great job (part-time hotel front desk clerk at a boutique hotel in Lewes).  I work with wonderful, caring people.  I have great neighbors.  Our home is everything I could ever want and I have a backyard that isn't plagued with deer.  Even though I am not part of the local gay community I don't feel the hatred and heaviness that I did when we lived in Pennsylvania.  Believe me it is a pleasure to shop at Loew's or Home Depot and not get The Stare because we're two men together.  Down here in Lower Slower two men shopping together (or two women) is NOT UNUSUAL.  Straight people don't understand this but it is a wonderful sense of freedom to shop and go about our business without having to worry about offending somebody's sensibilities just because we are taking up space together.

Me visiting with my distant cousin in the hills of North Carolina

Bill and I can go anywhere together and we don't get The Stare.  Last month Bill and I visited the North Carolina Mountains, where my father was born and grew up on our annual trek South.  If I needed any reminder why I didn't retire there it was provided by the husband of my second cousin who lives in those mountains.  While he was the gracious host to us and provided me with much good information how to find some local family cemeteries, he did ask Bill "What do you think about Obama and the queers?"  Oh yes, I needed that reminder of the ignorance of some of the folk down there because I was almost lulled into a false sense of security of renting a cabin in the fall just up the road from this man.  Oh yes, that would have been very interesting to see how long it would take him to figure out that Bill and I were more than just two good ole boys.  North Carolina, the state that just passed a constitutional amendment outlawing marriage equality.

Me in North Carolina last month at Pigeon Roost, where my hillbilly father was born and raised until he was 10 years old

Yep, I'll visit just about anywhere but this is where I'll live out my days, in good old southern Delaware.

Do You Feel Worthless?

Not my cat.  My friend's cat.  Bill won't let me have a cat.  But every chance I get I'll cuddle up to a cat.  I like cats.

Haven't we all at times felt worthless?  Not good enough?  Of course you know the answer is that we all have worth.  Don't ever let anybody bring you down.  WE ALL HAVE WORTH.

As we travel through life there are those who will attempt to belittle you because of their own insecurities.  Don't let them do it. 

We all want to be liked.  Sometimes we think if we act as we think others want us to act, then they will like us.  Doesn't work.  If you stop being yourself and try to be somebody else who they think you should be, they will lose respect for you and you will lose respect for yourself.  It just doesn't work.

Occasionally, on the weekends I watch the MSNBC show "Lockup."  This show is about men and women in prison. While most of these people who are in prison are lowlifes and look it, I am surprised by the number of people who are attractive and articulate.  It makes me wonder "Where did they go wrong?"  

Did they have an abusive childhood?  Bill had a very abusive childhood.  His father died when Bill was only one year old.  His 21 year old father and a group of buddies were drunk and crashed into a bridge abutment, thus ending their lives and changing the whole course of Bill's life.  While Bill has his issues (which we won't go into here), one thing Bill is not is an evil person.  In fact he is generous to a fault.  He doesn't lie, cheat or steal or worse.

My formative childhood years were more neglectful childhood than physically abusive. My father didn't want children and he let me know it.  My father always put me down.  When I left home to join the Army (I knew enough at that time to at least get away from that environment), I thought I was ugly, stupid and a loser.  Much to my surprise I discovered (after some initial confusion) that I was none of those.  Even though I was belittled and neglected I never had the urge to rob, cheat or steal.  In fact I'm generous to a fault, which has caused me many a problem over the years because of unscrupulous people who attempt to take advantage of me.

One thing Bill and I have in common, we both want to be liked.  I guess you could say most people have that need.  But where it causes Bill and I problems is, as I mentioned before, there are those who see that trait as a weakness and attempt to take advantage for their own selfish needs.  I was very fortunate that I meet Bill when I was just starting out in life.  Of course he was fortunate that he met me too.  Ours wasn't a lustful, sex crazed attraction but more like two men who were looking for a port in the storm of a sea of folk seeking to use and abuse.  We were lucky.  Sometimes I don't realize how lucky we were until I see some truly horrible, abusive relationships.

In the forty-eight years that Bill and I have been together, their have been those few times I have sampled the "other side of the fence."  What an eyeopener those experiences were.  Every time, without fail the object of my desire (and Bill's because he strayed once or twice too, it wasn't just me), betrayed me.  Every time folks.

I feel for these bloggers that I read who bemoan the fact that they are alone.  They're looking for love and it just isn't there.  When I read their sad tales of woe I think "That could be me."  Thank God that isn't me."
Then I wonder, is it luck or something to do with me?  I've come to the conclusion that it is me.

You see one thing I learned from a childhood of neglect and putdowns was to never accept the putdowns.  Never accept someone trying to belittle me whether it was because I am gay and they're straight and they feel that I am a lesser human being.  Or if it is a fellow gay person who for whatever reason (and I'm still trying to figure this out), feels a need to belittle and put me down.  I can't help but think that those gay people must have a low self-esteem and are losers themselves and that's why they feel the need to strike out and be mean to a fellow gay who they obviously are jealous of.  Yes, I said it, jealous.

I heard through the grapevine recently that "Ron doesn't want to have friends."  WRONG!  I have friends, a lot of friends.  Granted most of them are straight.  But there is one thing I will never accept again in my lifetime or what remains of it, and that is to be treated as less than by straights or gays.  I've put up with too much, especially since I moved to Delaware and the supposedly "gay friendly" resort area of Rehoboth/Lewes/Milton.  I find it anything but.  I find it very cliquish and exclusionary.  Is it me?  Probably because I will no longer accept being discounted  I will no longer look the other way or ignore when someone, gay or straight, belittles me with an offhanded, vicious comment.  I'm done with it folks and I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

One of the few times in my life I was appreciated for something I did.  Here I am with Phil Cordrey, the President of Hampton Inns at the Epcot Center in Disneyworld April 2000.  I was accepting an award for Best Guest Service Representative.  Hotel work has always made me feel valued.  

Today is a perfect day.  The sun is out, the sky is clear, the temperature is a moderate 74 degrees.  There is a light breeze rustling our river birch trees in the oval planter in our back yard.  The birds of our backyard habitat are busy raising their families.  Traffic is streaming down Route 1 towards Rehoboth and shore destinations beyond for yet another glorious summer weekend "at the shore."  Bill and I are going to Pennsylvania this weekend to checkout the new owners of our former property.  We're curious to see what they did with it.  We're not telling them we're coming.

While we're enjoying yet another wonderful weekend here in our Delaware oasis, I will think occasionally of those men and women in prison who do not have the freedom that Bill and I have and wonder why?  What caused them to take that path to pain and destruction whereas Bill and I took our rejections and made ourselves stronger.

I think I've figured out a lot in my lifetime but this is one thing that still has me puzzled.  You grow up being made to feel worthless and even during your lifetime people attack you to make you feel worthless but some people become stronger while others succumb to self destructive evil ways.  This is something that I just don't understand.  Food for thought folks, food for thought.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lovers, Boyfriends and Crushes

"What in the world?"  Is that what you're thinking when you see the image I have posted on THIS blog? I'll give you a minute to figure it out.


This is a word jumble of the guys of my love life (most consummated, some not) during my three score and ten years of my existence on this earthly plane.  Yes, I'm naming names.  It's up to the reader to link the first names with the last names.  And NO, I did not have GEORGE LOPEZ ( PUH - LEEZE - I do have taste - no pun intended).

Yep, I'm naming names.  I may even go into SOME detail in future blog postings.  But all I can say now is that each one of these guys provided me with much happiness in my very fortunate life.  Of course I've "known" many other men but these are the ones who stand out.  These are the ones who literally swept me off of my feet and into their (or my) beds.  A few I never got to home base with but they provided more than enough fantasy for me to take matters into my own hands so to speak.

Lately I've been reading from some fellow bloggers that we should forget about the past.  Are you kidding?  Man oh man, I've had some past.  There is no way I'm forgetting about it.  I relive the good times over and over again in my mind.  Interestingly enough most times those experiences get even better.

I'm not one of those people who regrets the mistakes I've made and I've made many of them believe you me.  Any mistake I make is a learning experience for me.  If I was to wipe out all my bad memories of the past, then I might as well have dementia.  Of course I realize that some of us can't deal with our mistakes or unable to even recognize that we have made mistakes so the best way to deal with it is to ignore those mistakes, that's not me folks. I'm not one of those people who, when asked what is the biggest regret I have will give such a self-serving answer as "I wish I had more time to volunteer my time to feeding the poor."  Oh give me a break.  Get a hold of yourself and look in the mirror and admit the biggest mistake you made was being a jerk and taking friends and or lovers for granted.

So here I am this morning wallowing in memories of my top list of former boyfriends, lovers and crushes.  Oh yes, I'm still with one of the guys.  The only guy who could put up with me.  The rest of them are history but they will remain in my memory and continue to bring me much happiness.


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...