Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

Horace- 1982 - 1998

Yes.  Yes, they do.

How do I know?  When my 16 year old Pomeranian Horace died in 1998 the pain of losing "my little buddy" I felt was so unbearable the only way I felt I could survive was the knowledge knowing that I would see him again someday.  




I bought Horace from a pet store in Philadelphia, PA.  I was on my way to lunch and I happened to see him in the store window playing with other dogs much bigger than him.  Bill and I had previously owned two Pomeranians.  I had no plans to buy a puppy that afternoon but I made a big mistake by going into the pet store and asking "how much?"  The store clerk said "Here, hold him."  See the way Horace is looking at Bill above?  That's the way he looked at me.  I bought him on the spot, $300.00.


When Bill picked me up at the train station at the end of the day I had a "little surprise for him."  Bill said "take him back!"  But then I asked Bill to hold Horace.  That did it.



Horace at home in Bill's lap.

In my whole life, all of my previous dogs both with Bill and my family always chose someone else.  Horace was different, he CHOSE ME!  




This is me and Horace and our first Christmas card picture, 1982.  Me and my buddy Horace.

Horace went everywhere with me.  I could never even thing about my car and Horace would know. He HAD TO GO!



We usually took a short ride over to my parents in my '80 Honda. Horace always in the driver's seat.



Here I am in my parent's kitchen with Horace and his daughter Babydoll.  Yes, we got Horace a "wife." His daughter and his wife did not like to travel but Horace did.  As you can see Babydoll is anxious to go home.



Here is my Mom holding Horace but he wants to be with me.  What a good feeling to have an animal who wants to be with you and only you.  Horace and I had a very special relationship.



Here's the whole family; Horace to the right, "T" in the middle and their daughter "Babydoll."

Pomeranians usually live to be twelve years old.  Oddly their daughter died first.  She was only eleven years old.  "T" died next, she was fourteen years old.  Horace lived to the grand old age of sixteen and died in September of 1998.



Horace near the end.

When he died for the first time in my life I experienced the devastating feeling of total loss.  The only way I could ease my pain was with the knowledge that I would see him again someday.  That's when I began to believe in Heaven.  

Why didn't we get a new dog?  Bill can't take the loss anymore.  He said if I got a new dog he would leave me.  When his dog "T" died Bill had to undergo psychiatric care for two years.  I'm not allowed to even mention our dog's names nor display their pictures.  

I was reminded of this kind of loss today this morning when we visited a 92 year old friend of ours.  His name is Bart and he lives by himself on a nice parcel of land abutting the woods.  When we have visited him before we were always greeted with a "Yap! Yap!" of his small mongrel dog.  This morning there was no greeting.  The first thing I asked Bart was "Where is your dog?"  Bart said "He died two weeks ago.  I miss him terribly."  


I asked him "Are you getting a new dog?"  He said "No, I'm too old and I wouldn't want to die before the dog.  I wouldn't do that to a dog."  



He then pointed out to a small bush at the far end of his back yard.  He said "That's where I buried him."  



I could see the sadness in his eyes.  

Do I believe dogs go to Heaven?  You're damn right I do.  We will see you soon.




Ever Wonder Why Gay People Are So "Gay"?



If you've ever been fortunate enough to be among a gathering of gay people, especially when they are on vacation, you'll notice one thing:

They are VERY GAY!

Look in vain and you'll rarely see a face that doesn't have a mile wide smile.  One would think with all the obstacles thrown at gay men (more than gay women, let's be real here), there would be a lot of sadness and long faces, not so.

Check out this video of the 2011 Provincetown Carnival in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Lots and lots of happy faces here folks.

Remember our Bloggerpalooza last year in Lewes?  Any sad faces?  No ma'am!  Big smiles abounded.

What is it with gay people that when they get together, even if they're not camping it up (which is a lot of fun but we don't do THAT all the time), we always have a LOT OF FUN.  When is the last straight party or get together you've been to that you've seen these many smiles and just a total abandon of good times?

The Provincetown Carnival was an event that began after I stopped visiting Provincetown in the early 80's.  Back then we had our daily afternoon Tea Dance at the Boatslip. Back in my day we didn't have iPhones where we could take an instant video. You know if I had one I would be posting those videos now! Here's what I find interesting about this video that I pulled from YouTube, NOTHING HAS CHANGED! This is the daily afternoon Tea Dance (from 4 pm to 6 pm) at the Boatslip exactly as I remembered it and participated. Yes, there really are that many men there.  Does it look crowded?  I never had a problem body surfing this crowd.

By the way, how long do you think it will be before Rehoboth Beach has it's own GAY CARNIVAL?

Boatslip Tea Dance Provincetown, Mass



In my Previous Life, I used to vacation every summer at that premier gay resort, Provincetown, Massachusetts.


Provincetown from The Monument (my photo) 1974


The first time I visited Provincetown was in 1974 with my friend Bob Mc.  This is the photo we posed for at an Old Time Photo place.  

Bob and me - Faux Cowboys 1974


Bob and I didn't know much about Provincetown other than it was a "gay" vacation resort.  That first week we spent there we didn't know where to go.  We actually stayed at a motel on the outskirts
of town after spending one night at a place called "The Ranch" which was anything but a ranch.  We were just too butch to stay there.




Bob soon met a guy from Canada named Brian and he spent the week with him.  I was on my own, a precursor to my subsequent visits to Provincetown.  



I would walk down Commercial Street, the unoriginal name of the main drag (no pun intended) of Provincetown.  One place I walked by  in the afternoon as I returned from Herring Cove was the Boatslip, which was a hotel right on the bay.  I would hear a "thump! thump!" behind drawn canvas curtains. I assumed it was a private party and as you all know, Ron is never invited to private gay parties, a pattern which continues to this day because I continue never to be invited to gay parties (hear that Rehoboth Beach and Camp Rehoboth?)  But I digress.  


Me (tall and skinny on right) with my friends Gino and Bob on Commercial Street

I spent my first week in Provincetown at Herring Cove, the beach outside of town.  I would return in the late afternoon, always passing the Boatslip and the "thump! thump!"  Sometimes I would meet my friend Bob and his boyfriend Brian for dinner but mostly I ate by myself.  One might say I wasted my first visit to Provincetown but I didn't know that until I returned home to Philadelphia.


Me at my room at the Crown and Anchor overlooking Provincetown Bay

When I returned home to Philadelphia and related my vacation to the Gay Disneyland to my gay friends they asked me "You didn't go to the Tea Dance at the Boatslip?"  I said "What is a Tea Dance?"   Well, needless to say they quickly informed me what I was missing.  Folks, I didn't make that mistake the next year when I visited P-town.  And the next year, and the following year and until 1986 which was my last year I visited Provincetown.  By then I was spending four weeks in Provincetown.  I was a "regular" at the Tea Dance.  



Just tonight I thought I would check You Tube to see if there was any videos of the Tea Dance.  Viola!  You know what folks?  Nothing has changed!  WOW!  Everything is as I remembered it.  Even the pool where I used to hang out.  WOW!  Oh how I miss the Tea Dance. How I miss Provincetown.  

Bill didn't like Provincetown.  He only went with me once and stayed the whole time at the semi-straight Best Western.  He never came out of his room except to go on the balcony.

Oh, he did go out once with me in a boat.  He wasn't happy as both photos show.  This is why Bill never went with me to Provincetown again. 



When I arrived in Provincetown by plane the first thing I would do was rent a bicycle.  


Me at the Provincetown Airport

During the week I would ride that bicycle to do my errands like going to the grocery store and ride to Herring Cove, which was outside the main part of town.  I also used to ride the National Seashore Bike Trail which was a great bike trail.

Me on the bicycle trail

In future visits I almost always stayed at Angel's Landing on Commercial Street.  Angela Calomoris was the owner and operator.  I stayed at her place so often one year she offered me a job to manage her apartment complex.  I was flattered but turned had to turn her down.  

Do I look like a vacation bank manager or a potential gay resort apartment manager?

After all, I had my banking career. Ironically, my last vacation in Provincetown was in 1986 for four weeks.  When I returned to my job at Mellon Bank in Philadelphia I was informed I was job eliminated. Thus ended my summer sojourns to the Gay Disneyland.

Angels' Landing - where I stayed in Provincetown - 1979

However, there were a few times I took a boyfriend (or two). Like me and Brad below on a chilly, wine imbibed boat ride. Jolly good fun!

Brad and I after a couple wines - happy fellas!

The water was always cold but I always took at least one dip even though I couldn't breath while I was in the 50 degree water.

Yes, I can swim - my "Michael Phelps Backstroke"

Much of my time in Provincetown was spent at Herring Cove working on my tan for which I am paying the price for now (regular visits to my dermatologist).  

Me at Herring Cove, Provincetown, Mass

When I arrived in Provincetown, I always rented a bicycle for a week. 

The below picture is of me at the pool at the Boatslip.  Back in the 70's when I was a regular, digital cameras and iPhones weren't available. I had just a regular SLR camera folks.  And since I was usually alone, I had to ask a stranger to take my picture.  This isn't one of my best photos but it is the only one I can find of me at the Boatslip.

Me at the Boatslip pool - 1986

I've often thought of returning to Provincetown.  Of course I wouldn't dare show my body like this at my now age of 71 years.  Are you kidding?  But I would like to go to the dance and listen to that "thump! thump!"  Folks, some of the best times of my life.  I am so glad that I was there during the Fabulous Seventies. 

Herring Cove, Mass
Looking at this You Tube video of the Tea Dance at the Boatslip brought back many fond memories.   

Outdoor Cafe Commercial Street Provincetown, Mass 1979
And folks, this is THE SONG that I will always associate with my many summers in Provincetown and the carefree, good times I had, Kelly Marie and "Feels Like I'm In Love."  When this song used to come on at the Tea Dance everyone would scream and rush to the dance floor.  It was Heaven folks, Heaven.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Loyalty

"My undying fealty to you sir!"


I have a condition called extreme loyalty.  

Maybe it was the way I was brought up to always respect authority that led to this lifelong condition I have of extreme loyalty.  Wether my loyalty is to friends who have let me down, or a job that is no longer good for me or even a barber that doesn't cut my hair the way I like my hair cut.

I have a big problem changing my loyalty to whoever I happen to be attached to at the moment.

My last test of loyalty was changing barbers.  I had to change barbers because my old barber was only on duty a few days a week.  Plus, she is located down the ever more dangerous Route One (the deadly main thoroughfare to Rehoboth Beach which has already claimed three lives this season).  

I finally made the break last month and started to see a new barber in Lewes.  She cuts my hair just as well plus I have lessened my exposure to the Mad Max drivers on Route One.  Mission accomplished although I continue to feel guilty by abandoning my barber Gail without so much as a "Goodbye."  I just know she tears up whenever she thinks of my absence. 

Now my latest test is changing dentists.  I have a perfectly good dentist located even further down Route One.  He is an excellent dentist, perhaps the best I've ever had. He always keeps my appointments on time.  His office is spotless.  His equipment (dental) is state of the art and up to date.  He is friendly and takes time to talk to me.  I only have two problems with him.  HE.IS.EXPENSIVE.  Buy hey, I think most dentists are expensive.  The other problem is that his office doesn't submit my insurance claims.  I have to deal directly with the insurance company myself which over the past two years has been extremely frustrating.  Either they make my payment directly to his office (which they have done numerous times) or they claim they haven't received my claim.  I just had to call them again this morning about a May 23rd, claim.  

A few weeks ago my co-worker told me of a new dental office he had some of his dental work. He mentioned that not only were the dentists cute (we're both gay, we like good-looking men working on our mouths - what can I say?) but more important was their office is located in Milton, only a few miles up the road.

I love Milton.  I like to do business in Milton.  So close, easy parking and stress free driving UP Route One, away from the madness of the Horde going south on Route One to Rehoboth and destinations beyond.  Plus, and this is a big PLUS, they submit the dental insurance paper work.  

So folks, I'm considering changing dentists but that old guilty feeling is sweeping over me again.  What will my old dentist think when I tell him I'm seeing a new dentist? 

Help me get rid of this guilty feeling!



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wienermobile

You know folks, I'm surprised no one has brought up the fabulous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in light of the all the current attention on New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.

OMG!  Anthony!  What were YOU thinking?  

So here is my advice to Anthony: EMBRACE IT!


Anthony Weiner aka "Carlos Danger"

Is there anybody out there who hasn't seen the Wienermobile roll through their town? Well folks, I was one of those lucky few who actually got to see the Wiener....um....mobile in person.  The date was sometime in the Innocent Fifties in the small town of Downingtown, Pennsylvania were I spent my formative pre-adolescent years.  We didn't get much advance notice. In fact we didn't get any advance notice.  

It was summertime and I was out playing in the heat, dirt and grime when all of a sudden I heard "It's the Wienermobile!  It's the Wienermobile!"

I knew immediately what it was.  We all ran towards the commotion and sure enough, there it was IN PERSON....the Wienermobile.  OMG!  SO EXCITING!  Now you might ask "Just what is so exciting about seeing a giant hot dog on wheels?"  Well folks, I guess you just HAD TO BE THERE.

So the question is "Is Anthony going to drop out of the New York City mayoralty race?"  Of course he's not.  In fact, I think Anthony should rent the Wienermobile and campaign in it during his race and just show that darn media that they don't know everything. Anyway, what's a little sexting between friends.....or strangers?  




Where Are They Now?

My friends - 1980

Going through some photos yesterday and I came across this photo.  It was taken in the fall of 1980 near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  

From left to right:

Richard Moore
Joe Murtha
Bob M.
Bob McIntyre
Paul Bickerstaff

They were friends of mine.  They are no more.

Richard Moore - I do not know where he is. I haven't heard of his whereabouts for years.

Joe Murtha - died of AIDs related illness two years after this photo was taken - 1982

Bob M. - now resides in a senior care facility in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  He does not recognize me.

Bob McIntyre- died of AIDS related illness several months after this photo was taken - 1980

Paul Bickerstaff - I do not know where he is.  I lost touch with Paul after this photo was taken

Seeing this iconic photo triggered memories in me.  I remember exactly when I took this photo.  We were all walking out towards North Shores, near Gordon's Pond in Rehoboth Beach.  Back in the 80's, the Rehoboth Beach area wasn't the tourist mecca that it is today but it was a place for closeted gay men to gather without fear of losing their jobs or causing their families great embarrassment.  

Seeing this photo makes me sad of course because I no longer have these guys as my friends.  I had no idea at that time I would survive them all.  Perhaps Richard (who I was never close with) and Paul (who I was THISCLOSE with) are still alive. 

Joe Murtha and Bob McIntyre were partners. Both were cremated after their deaths and their ashes scattered over their five acres of "hideaway" land nearby where this photo was taken, as per their wishes. 

It would be nice to hear from Paul again but one thing is for sure, we could never capture "The Moment" like we did that chilly, autumn afternoon near the dunes of North Shores.  When I see this photo I am reminded of the last scene of "Longtime Companion."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Laurel Flea Market

That's me in the red pullover and tan shorts - do I look like I belong?

Yesterday I received a sad and long vitriolic comment on a long ago posting I had on the Laurel Flea Market.  Sad because my original posting was a tongue in cheek posting but apparently my attempt at dry humor was lost on the commenter.  Sometimes, nuance doesn't come through on blog postings.  




Sad because I was actually extolling the virtues of the Laurel Flea Market.  I did make the point that there are two main cultures here in southern Delaware.  The "natives", that is basically the "good old Southern boys" culture.  The skinny guys almost always missing a couple of teeth, either from meth or lack of money for regular dental visits.  You takes your choice.  


Mr. Reds caught our eye - standard "uniform" - pullover, with pants down his ass   - I think they're shorts but they could also be "high water pants"

After a long diatribe, the commenter told me I was a "snob" and to "go back from where you came from."  Yeah, take my money too?  


Me on the prowl looking for that bargain - notice the rainbow umbrella - we're everywhere!

Nope, the folks you see at the Laurel Flea market are a cross section of the diverse cultures here in Sessex County.  Hispanics, old biker guys with gray, ratty pony tails and bulging beer bellies, some orientals and just maybe a smattering of "snobs" like me who are looking for a bargain or just a chance to experience life in Southern Delaware.  


I DO look out of place don't I?

Bill asked me this morning if I wanted to go to the Laurel Flea Market.  An interesting coincidence because I hadn't even mentioned the sad and hateful comment I received on my blog posting about the Laurel Flea Market.  At first I didn't want to go, not in the mood.  Then I thought "Why not?"  Today is a nice day.  Low humidity (thank God) and temperatures in the 80's.  Actually really summertime weather instead of the "someone left the oven door open" weather we've been having the past two weeks.


Wouldn't you know it.  I'm standing underneath the dresses!

So we took a ride down to Laurel.  It was packed.  Couldn't find a parking place.  I wanted to go home.  Bill wanted to stay.  I hate driving around a dusty, dirt parking lot looking for a slot.  I just know I'll get another dent in my car.  Lots of pickup trucks and dented vans at the Laurel Flea Market.


Do my pants make me look fat?

We got lucky and found a parking spot on macadam.  Only thing we were next to one of THOSE VANS with the suspicious looking characters in it.  Looked like dope dealers to me. And hold off sending me any nasty comments.  I know when someone is dealing dope.  No reason for that many young guys to be hanging around the van, going in and out the back rustling through their "paper bags."  Give me a break.

Bill and I walk around.  Interesting characters to say the least.  Of course we're interesting characters to others too.  

I bought a pink Crepe Myrtle.  I saw a Royal Doulton figurine of a lady in a gown that caught my eye.  It said "Please rescue me!"  I walked by but before I got to the end of the row I told Bill "I have to go back and see how much that cost."  I go back, pick up the delicate figurine (I could almost see a smile appear on the figurine's face) and asked the grizzled, pony-tailed biker type "How much?"  "Fifty!" he spits at me.  I gently place her back on the worn table with her trashy friends and leave without a word.  $25 ......maybe but not $50.  

Bill buys a watermelon.  Has trouble getting change.  The lady who took his $10.00 bill for the $3.00 watermelon probably "forgot" she was to give Bill change.  Bill had to chase her down then she professed not to understand what he was saying.  Bill got his change after much arm waving and shouting.  You don't short change Bill.

That's Bill on the left in the plaid shirt - fondling the watermelons

Bill said "Let's go.  I'm tired.  I had enough."

We went back to our car.  I see the dusty, white, dented van with the suspicious looking characters in the back has gone too.  Gots to keep moving fellas.  

We head home down Rt. 9 through Georgetown on this summer Saturday morning, admiring the many different colors of Crepe Myrtle trees lining our route.

We get home.  Unload our car.  Just before I go into the house I check the side panel door to see if I have a "souvenir" from the Laurel Flea Market.  Sure enough, I do.  My door now has a "Laurel Flea Market" ding with paint scraped off.  Only about an inch but enough to draw my eye to it every time in the future when I go to my car.  

I got my touch up paint out and touched it up.  I can still see where the ding was but at least my eyes won't be drawn to it every time I get into my car.  

Thus ended our Saturday Morning Adventure to the Laurel Flea Market.  Bill said "Want to go again tomorrow?"  Um.....no, one ding is enough.


My "buy" of the day, a pink crepe myrtle bush! $9.50!