Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

A short video folks that I made earlier at the hotel where I suffered tonight working with a squeaky voice.  This is only the second time in my life that I got laryngitis, the last time was about twenty years ago when I worked at First Fidelity Bank in Philadelphia. 

First of all, trying to speak with laryngitis, is painful.  I'm trying to reach my voice under all that phlegm and it just isn't working.  There's nothing like answering the phone with a SQUEAK! when the owner call which is exactly what happened tonight.   I didn't realize how much I talk.  Oh I DO love to talk.  The guests were giving me that "poor thing" look tonight when I tried to get off my usual coterie of bon mots and witticisms.  Just wasn't working tonight.  

So here I am at home now, waiting for the ball to drop and half expecting to see Ryan Seacrest roll out Dick Clark's embalmed body to count down the crystal ball on New York's Times Square.  

Happy New Year everyone!

Laid Low

Where I will be in a few minutes - my bed resting before I go to work tonight
Still struggling here with this Zombie Cold folks.  I got through my shift at the hotel last night, without too much wheezing and sneezing. Under normal circumstances I would call in sick but these are not normal circumstances.  Just my luck this Zombie Cold  is hitting me at the end of the year.

I was hesitant to do another post about my cold but I just can't think of anything else.  I'm pretty sure this is the flu because I ache all over.  When I woke up this morning in my bed I could hardly move, every joint in my body ached.  Well, every one but one.  

Bill drove me down to the Rehoboth Walmart earlier this morning.  I loaded up on Cold Eaze, chicken soup, and Zicam.  I don't know if these cold remedies are really helping me or just prolonging my misery.

Hey folks, sorry to be such a wet rag with this constant complaining.  I can't wait until I'm up to snuff again.  I work tonight and tomorrow night.

  Happy New Year!

Me, on the floor, New Year's Eve - 1963

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our History In Two Minutes

A friend sent this two minute video to me this morning.  He told me it was composed by two high school students.  

This is simply amazing.  Watch this video, it is the history of the world in two minutes. It is a "must see." 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Still a Sick Puppy

Yep, still a sick puppy here, albeit a very old sick puppy.

Chicken soup (Campbell's) - Cold Remedy

I'm still trying to shake this cold/flu. I think it is the flu because my whole body aches and I just feel lousy.  I have a dry cough and am lightheaded (more than usual).  

I managed to get through my shift at the hotel last night with minimal sneezing and wheezing.  Of course I didn't look too good but it's hard to tell the difference when one is looking good or not at 71 years of age.  Yes, yes; there I go with the "old man" stuff again but hey, it is what it is.  I'm no spring chicken and when these colds (or flues) come a visiting me, it's harder and harder (now stop that!) to shake them off.  When I was younger, I just ignored colds and such.  Not now folks, my annual visit from the cold and flu demons slow Old Ron down a bit and this time is no exception.

Chicken Soup With Crackers - Dinner tonight - Yum!

Yesterday I loaded up on Zicam, the zinc cold remedy and that really seemed to help.  Today I had chicken soup for lunch and for dinner.  Yep, that's all....chicken soup; what a way to go on a diet.  I did want to lose about five lbs. of blub around my middle but not this way.  

Tonight I'm going to also take Vicks NyQuil before I go to bed so I won't wake up with a mouth that feels like a platoon of soldiers walked through it with muddy combat boots. NyQuil seemed to help out my friend Lar, who I am pretty sure gave me this cold while we were having our daily FaceTime chat a few days ago. 

What's going to get me through the night tonight

As I said, I'm pretty sure I have the flu which I seem to get every year regardless of whether or not I get a flu shot.  Maybe next year I'll forgo the flu shot.  Hmmmm....let me think about that.  Maybe not.  If I forego my annual VA administered flu shot I'll probably end up with the cold to beat all colds.  Best not take a chance.  

I did get a break at work.  I was supposed to work tomorrow during the day but my co-worker offered to work for me.  This gives me a chance to take another two hour afternoon nap.  That's what I did yesterday which gave me enough rest to get through the night.  However, I do have to go to work tomorrow night and then Monday and Tuesday.  But, another break, I won't have to fill in for my other co-worker on Wednesday; he will take his shift back.  For a while there they had me working six days in a row.  Me, a part-time (two nights a week) hotel front desk clerk.  Ask me the last time I worked a month (four weeks in a row) only two nights a week.  If your answer is "not in the last year" you would be right.  So much for "part-time" work.  Let's just say I'm a substitute front desk clerk, that would be a more accurate job description for old decrepit Ron.

Me sitting on the porch at Brandywine Senior Living where my friends Bob and Jim reside now - don't I look "at home?"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ron's Sick!

Me at Brandywine Hospital April 14, 2002 after a kidney stone attack (with my Mom)

Hey folks!  I'm feeling a bit under the weather.  I feel my annual cold coming on.  I think I caught it yesterday from my FaceTime friend Larry.  He was sneezing and wheezing and coughing the whole time I was talking to him yesterday on FaceTime.  I just KNEW I would catch his cold!

My Friend Lar spreading his germs to me yesterday during out FaceTime session
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have some chicken soup for lunch and take my afternoon nap.  

I'll be back when I'm feeling up to my usual ornery self.  Hang in there.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve at the Inn 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Just got up and ready to eat breakfast.  Got in late last night from work.  My co-worker Robert stopped in around 10 pm for visit.  He was in town (Lewes) to attend the 11 pm Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Episcopal Church which is only a block from the hotel.  

It was a slow night at the hotel (as it usually is on Christmas Eve), so I took the opportunity to take several pictures of Robert in his new glasses for his Christmas card next year.  What do you think? I LOVE to take pictures and I had a willing subject.

Robert (my co-worker) at the Inn last night

After breakfast this morning, Bill and I are going to take a ride to Milton to look for a lost cat.  A few days ago I received an e-mail (along with many others in this area) about a lost tuxedo cat.  Yesterday when Bill and I were at the Food Lion in Milton I thought I saw that cat.  I circled around the street but lost site of him.

I called Carrie, the lady who lost the cat, and told her where I sighted him which was between Federal Street and Mulberry Street.  I wasn't sure it was her cat and I didn't want to be absconding with someone's pet.  When I told her where I saw that cat, she said she lived on Mulberry Street!  So Bill and I are going Cat Hunting on this Christmas morning.  This is what is called a Purposeful Life.

Hope you all are have a wonderful Christmas Day with friends and family!

We're off to look for a lost kitty this Christmas morning.  Wish us luck!

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Best Christmas Present

Me wrapping Christmas presents at our Pennsauken, NJ apartment - 1964

Well folks, here we are finally at Christmas Eve.  Came around pretty fast again this year didn't it?  

On Christmas Eve I often think of my Christmases past.  Like most kids growing up in the Fifties, I believed in Santa Claus and really thought I was going to get what I wanted if I was a good boy all the year.  Most of the year I was a Good Little Boy, at least the months leading up to Christmas.  I was hoping that Santa had a short memory.

Santa Claus

Of course I was always disappointed on Christmas morning when I open my presents to find a pair of gloves, underwear and maybe a toy or two. One Christmas I was especially disappointed.  I wanted an electric train in the WORST way.  Since I was the oldest of my parents three boys, I thought I would be the American Flyer electric train set.  

The year was 1952. I was eleven years old.  I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve.  At dawn's early light I go tearing into the front room (we lived at a second floor apartment building on 120 Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania; a suburban town of 5,000 souls west of Philadelphia).  

Me (the beanpole in the center) and my "competition", my two little brothers in 1953
I see the HUGE package under our skimpy tree.  THAT MUST BE IT!  That package surely couldn't contain more clothes.  I pull the package towards me while my brothers Isaac and John stand behind me in their pajamas. But before I open the package my Mom says "This is for ALL YOU BOYS".  Well, I didn't know the term "WTF?" then but I thought the equivalent of it.  FOR ALL OF US?  WHAT?  

I open the package. Yes, it is indeed the American Flyer Electric Train set.......FOR ALL OF US.  Now exactly how was this going to work out? 

Of course right off the bat, while Disney cartoons are playing on our black and white, 15 inch Philco TV, I get into a dispute with my brothers as to who was going to put this train together and run it.  This was terrible!  What was my Mother thinking?

She resolved the problem of "sharing."  I was to get the engine and coal car.  Isaac, the middle son, was to get the two middle boxcars and the tracks.  John was to get the next to last box car and caboose and the electrical switch box.  

So how did this work?  Of COURSE IT DIDN'T WORK. This was one of the worst decisions my Mother ever made.  To say I was a "bit" unhappy wasn't the least of it.  I was VERY unhappy, and that's saying something because I was generally a very happy kid.  

Me at 10 years old - the happy little fisherman with my worm box - 1951

Long story short, I gave up the train to my brothers.  They could have it.  That was the Christmas I went without.  

Fast forward to Christmas 1969 with My Bill.  I was working in center city Philadelphia at that time.  At lunchtime, I used to visit an art store on Chestnut Street. One painting I admired greatly was a ship sailing in the ocean.  Oh how I loved that painting.  

I wanted that painting so bad but couldn't afford it because it cost $250.00.  I was only making about $80 a week at the bank.  That was almost a month's pay for me.

Christmas 1969 rolls around.  Bill and I return from spending Christmas Day with my parents in Downingtown. Our tradition was to open our presents to each other on Christmas Day Evening.  

I see this big package on the coffee table in our living room at our small townhouse on Naudain Street in Philadelphia.  "What could THAT be?"  

I saved that package for last.  When it came time to open it I was truly flabbergasted.  WOW!  For the first time in my life Santa actually brought me something that I wanted and LIKED!  My life was complete now.

I couldn't thank Bill enough.  So this is what it feels like?  I felt just like all those people in the movies and commercials who open their presents and are truly surprised. SUPER!  

Yes, that's me in my "western outfit and cigar (don't ask) - check out the painting over the fireplace - 1971

I hung that magnificent painting over our fireplace in the living room at our house in Philadelphia.  Over the years that painting has always occupied a prominent place wherever we lived.  Now it hangs over my bed in my bedroom.  Every afternoon before I take my daily nap and every night before I go to sleep I look at that ship "sailing the blue ocean" and get a familiar warm, comfortable feeling remembering back to that Christmas that Santa came through.

Merry Christmas!

Me with my Best Christmas Present - December 23, 2012
Me - 1971 - Philadelphia
Remember the Oscar Wilde story "The Picture of Dorian Gray".  That's the story where the picture of the man aged but the man didn't age.  This is the opposite, "The Picture of Ron."  The man ages but the picture doesn't  Ah yes, Fleeting Youth.  How sweet it was. 

Bill in our Philadelphia living room, front of the fireplace with the wonderful Christmas present - 1970

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Card

This is our Christmas card for all my friends who read this blog and even for those who don't but just happen to stop by accident or out of curiosity.

Bill and I aren't planning anything special for Christmas.  Being together is like Christmas everyday for us.  Oh I know that sounds corny but it is true.  Every day is a "holiday" around here in Bill and Ron Land or as we like to call our home "Casa Tipton-Kelly".  Of course some days are better than others but overall the past forty-seven Christmases we have spent together have gone by so fast.  

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I'm working he 3 to 11 PM shift at the hotel.  I also work the same shift on Christmas Day.  

I know some may feel sorry for me that I have to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but I enjoy working those days.  The reason is that most of the guests in the hotel are so nice. Maybe it's the Christmas Spirit or the fact that grandmom and grandpop are in town visiting the grandkids but thankful to get away from all that activity for a few hours and rest at the hotel. I have found over the years that the best time to work at the hotel is on those Christmas holidays.  Plus, I get paid DOUBLE-TIME!   Win, win.

So for all of those who didn't receive a personal Christmas card from me and Bill here is our viral card.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twas The Night Before........

Ny first Christmas with Bill - 1964
Pennsauken, New Jersey

Or something like that.  Only a few more days to go before Santa dumps his load (or something like that). It's one of those days folks. 

Original photo - oh whatever happened to that sweater - they don't make them like that anymore
It doesn't feel much like Christmas this year.  No, I'm not a "Bah Humbug" kind of guy, it's just that each year Christmas seems to come to early and then, before you know it, Christmas is gone and the Mummers are marching down Broad Street Philadelphia in the cold winds of the new year.  

Female impersonator Philadelphia Mummers Parade - 1965
Back when female impersonation was dangerous
Me, yes in "bank drag" (overcoat and horn rimmed glasses) at the Philadelphia Mummers Parade 1965

Then comes the Big Gray Chill, the bitter cold monochrome months of January, February and March.  The "just get through it" months of mid winter.  The "I hope it doesn't snow two feet" months.    

When I was a kind, which was a LONG time ago, Christmas couldn't come fast enough.  Such was the glittery promise of the magic of getting free things.  Invariably I was always disappointed with my "take" but I still remember my favorite Christmas.  That was the Christmas of 1954 when I was twelve years old, I received my first camera. Oh sure, I know what some of my faithful blog followers are thinking "So that's when it ALL STARTED with Ron and HIS CAMERA."  Yep, that is when it started.  Even then, at the tender age of a dozen years I started clicking away.  My year each younger brothers John and Isaac were the involuntary subjects of many of my first photo assaults.  

My brothers Isaac, John and our pets Bobby (the cat) and Sam (the dog) - Christmas - 1954
My camera was one of those inexpensive Kodak Brownie cameras. I took a lot of pictures for a Fifties teenager but, looking back from my vantage point now, not near as many as I wish I had taken.  Perhaps the main reason I didn't take more pictures was that it was just too darn expensive.  To take an eight picture role, I had to buy the film and then get it developed. I forget exactly what the film cost but I know getting it processed was usually a couple of dollars and took at least a week of anxious anticipation waiting (to see "if they came out") until I got the developed pictures back from the Sam Charles News Agency where I took them for developing.  

The Charles News Agency (on the left) Downingtown, PA - 1970 (the earliest I could get a picture - I bicycled this street (Lancaster Avenue, Route 30) from 1954 to 1959 - where I grew up

The only known picture of my on my newspaper bicycle - one of my brothers took this picture - don't blame me - 1954

I was a newspaper boy back in those days and earn about $5.00 a week, which after what I spent on candy and comic books; didn't leave a whole lot left for buying and developing film.  But I did manage to take quite a few pictures for a Fifties teenager, more than almost all of my friends and classmates I daresay.  

"Bobby" - 1954 - my first and only cat pet - a willing photo subject

Going Viral On LGBT News Facebook

Hey folks, I just found out from my cousin Tim Tipton, that now Bill and I are featured on the GBLT News Facebook page.  We're going to have to get married now.

Seriously though, I hope to God that we live long enough to realize our dream of showing to the world that two gay people can be as committed to a loving relationship as any heterosexual couple.  And anyone who knows me knows that I like to break stereotypes.

Many thanks to my cousin Tim Tipton who suggested that I post the information that Bill and I have been together since July of 1964, that rainy summer night we met.  That was the night I was in the Westbury Bar on South 15th Street in Philadelphia that I decided to go over to the other side of the bar and thank that handsome man who always sent drinks over to me whenever he saw me in the bar with my friends Ron (another "Ron") and Ed.  

Center City Philadelphia, PA

I never paid him much attention and in fact my friends and I used to joke that it was going to take more than a drink to pick me up.  I had seen Bill many times before in the bar, playing the Skeet Ball machine with his friends.  I knew he was popular and I wasn't about to become another notch on his belt.  So when Bill used to send a drink over through his friend Jerry the Bartender, we would laugh among ourselves saying "Oh him again?"  

Westbury Bar (and Restaurant) 15th and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, PA - 2012

The same building but look different in 1964 when I met Bill - wasn't a restaurant then nor did it have awnings.

Oh if that building could talk, the tales it could tell.  This is where my Life Course took a major change.

Then there was that one rainy night of July 3rd, 1964 when, for some reason, I was in the bar by myself.  Again, Jerry the Bartender puts a gin and tonic (my Drink of Choice) in front of me and nods his head towards the Skeet Ball machine and there is Bill, a BIG SMILE.  Uh huh.  Well folks, you know what?  I sort of felt sorry for the guy, sending me all those drinks month after month.  I think about three months in all.  I thought "Well, the least I can do is thank him."  And believe me folks, that's ALL I intended to do, was to be polite and thank him.  Although Bill was (and is) very good-looking he wasn't really my type. Plus, he was way too popular and I've always had a natural aversion to being just another conquest.  Oh no, if I was going to make it with somebody, it had to be real.

Me (left) with Jerry the Bartender who I found out was a GOOD FRIEND of Bill's at Bill's apartment in Pennsauken, NJ (yes, that is a cigarette in my hand and horn rim glasses on my face)
So I go around the bar, weaving my way through the throngs of guys clad in Sixties Wear (picture it, "Mad Men" all over).  Bill saw me coming and was somewhat surprised.  After all, I had never thanked him before.  I had never talked to him before.  So here I was up close.  I said "Thank you for the drink."  He smiled and replied "You're welcome." 

I was surprised.  He wasn't at all obnoxious like I assumed he would be.  I don't remember exactly how our conversation went but I do remember him telling me he liked "tall, thin guys."  I'm 6'4" (or was, I'm now 6'3") and weighed about 160 lbs (170 lbs now).  He continued to surprise me by not being a bore and listening to me talk.....and talk....and talk.  I like to talk.  

Me and Bill at his Pennsauken, New Jersey apartment - 1964

While we were talking another guy came by who was also named "Ron" (not my friend Ron) and started to talk to me. It was obvious he was trying to pick me up.  I wasn't interested in him.  I was waiting for Bill to rescue me.  Bill didn't.  He just stood there, leaning slightly on the juke box with a slight smile on his face watching me trying to discourage this other Ron.  

Me and Bill at our house in Philadelphia - 1970

The Other Ron was becoming more insistent when finally Bill said "Would you like to stop over at my place for a drink?"  Would I?  He lived in Pennsauken, New Jersey; over the Walt Whitman Bridge so "over there" was going to mean a car ride (I lived in Coatesville, PA 42 miles east of Philadelphia which was where all this was going down).  I opted to go with Bill.  Of course the Other Ron was much disappointed but I was free.  Remember, this was when I was a Shy Young Thing.  

Me and Bill at my parents' house Downingtown, PA - 1978

Long story short, I went home with Bill and we've been together ever since.  That was forty-eight wonderful years ago.  Here I met my Prince Charming and I didn't even know it.  You just never know.  

Me (center) with my brother Isaac (left) and Bill at my brother's home in Downingtown - 2012
This was my Christmas card picture this year.  My regular blog followers will recognize these pictures because I have posted them before but they bear posting again.  Interestingly, for all the pictures I take, I don't have that many of my Bill and me together.  Bill is camera shy, I'm not. I'm not a Shy Young Thing anymore.

Me, living the Good Life - 2011

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wait.......wer're still here?

Dodged another bullet again, we're still here even after the Mayans predicted that the world would end about 7 am this morning.  

Gee, who would've thunk that yet another prediction of the END OF THE WORLD would be WRONG!!!!!!


Who are these ass-wipes who keep predicting the end of the world?  Maybe it was the end of the world last night for House Speaker John Boehner when his stupid ass bill protect millionaire's from paying taxes went down to DEFEAT.  Hey folks, I'm enjoying watching these Republicans self immolate but I'm glad we're all still here.

Rainbow from our backyard this morning
Now here is something interesting.  Right at about 7:30 this morning while I was talking to Bill in our sunroom he spotted a rainbow off in the horizon from our backyard.  What was this?  A sign from the Mayans they were wrong.  A sign from God that we have been blessed by the gay fairy godmother?  

What?  Bill said this was the most unusual rainbow he's ever seen.  I quickly grabbed my iPhone and took this picture.  Two minutes later the rainbow was gone.  Surely a sign.....but of what?

Close-up of rainbow that appeared on the horizon from our backyard this morning.  Not a Photoshop picture

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...