Monday, March 31, 2014

Have I Been Here Before?



Reincarnation, I've talked about it before.  Reincarnation has always intrigued me.  I find it more plausible than the fairy tale (no offense intended to my religiosity practicing friends) of organized religion.

My earliest memory was "I am starting all over again."  I distinctly remember beginning again.  This memory occurred when I was about four years old.  I remember the time because it was before I began first grade of elementary school at five years old.


The "Black and White" days with my brothers (('m in the enter) at the ole swimming hole in the Fifties

At different milestone periods during my life I felt like I was being given the opportunity to make a decision of what road to take.  Sometimes I've chosen correctly and sometimes not.  My life has felt like one big test…..again.




During all my challenges in life, times when I had to make life changing decisions, I've always felt that I had an unseen guardian angel by my side.  Perhaps others would call this feeling "Faith."  I prefer to think of my guardian angel as a male figure, much like me, guiding me and protecting me.  





I never thought I would live as long (this time) as I have.  During the past ten years many of my friends, former co-workers, and classmates have died.  Much to my surprise I find myself one of the few left standing.  


Jay, one of my friends now gone.  It seems just like a few months ago we were standing in front of this sign in Lewes waiting for our table to open at the restaurant

Last year I had several life threatening medical situations.  I've been fortunate in that I seem to be recovering from those conditions.  But I'm realistic enough to know that sooner or later something is going to get this 72 year old traveler of the universe.  I just hope it's not like my friend Bob McC. who is in a total care facility now, having something to bath him, dress him and clean up after him after he goes to the bathroom.

When I go I want to go like my cousin Randy below. He wasn't sick, he just didn't wake up one morning.  Randy, that's the way I want to go.


My late cousin Randy with his mother (my late aunt) at Simpson Meadows, 2004

I noted with some irony that in August of last year I met a person who seemingly came out of nowhere and has provided a much comfort and happiness at this time in my life.  Yes, I was married last year to my longtime partner after 49 years of living together.  And yes, we are very happy.

Me and Bill
 

But I never had that special friend, some I was very compatible with.  We understand each other.  Bill and I are almost the exact opposites, even though we love each other dearly.  Of course that person, for those of you who follow this blog, is Pat.  I now kid him and ask him "Are you my guardian angel come to life to whisk me away?"  I don't know folks but what I do know is that everything seems to be falling into place.  And as Martha Stewart said "That's a good thing."  Just a thought folks, rambling on here on this last day of March in 2014.  Just a thought. 


"Going Down?"

DRINKING OF ELDER MEN: Mutterings Mighty, Minor and Mini Mincing Much of ...

DRINKING OF ELDER MEN: Mutterings Mighty, Minor and Mini Mincing Much of ...: On a recent visit to Lewes, Delaware, I met in person a friend of my friend Ron, whose name is Pat. In the photo on the left the two look-...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gay Marriage Arrives in Britain

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypose

I love this headline "Gay Marriage Arrives in Britain - No Flooding Or Winged Horsemen Of Death, So Far (PICTURES).  See here:

Yes folks, Great Britain is yet another country that has recognized the inevitable, marriage between same sex couples is NORMAL.  What always amazes me is how happy everyone is when the dam finally breaks and the same sex couples rush to marry.  FINALLY!  






At the present time I am estranged (temporarily I hope) from my family (two brothers and one sister-in-law) because I dared not to subscribe to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" version of gay "lifestyle" in my civilian life.  They all know and have known I was gay since I came out in 1964 but I think this year was a bit too much for them when the Christmas card I sent out had a picture of me and Bill at our wedding.

Bill and I married on our 49th anniversary of our meeting last summer, when the Marriage Equality Bill passed in Delaware - proud and not ashamed or embarrassed
 

That probably went over the line for them.  I'm pretty sure it probably went over the line for some of my relatives too because a paltry few of them showed up at my bi-annual family reunion. Well you know folks, it is THEIR problem, not mine.  I am tired of this.  So tired. 


Image of the paltry attendance at my family reunion this year - embarrassing and shameful - I'll never do another one again
Bill meeting my cousin Barbara K. Barbara is one of the few in my family who is a Progressive (Liberal) - this is the first reunion of any kind (family or class) that Bill has attended with me.  Probably because he was legal now. The ladies in the background were also very accepting.  Not everyone is narrow-minded and prejudicial but unfortunately many in my family are.  I am ashamed and embarrassed. They would probably go to a Duck Dynasty reunion before they would go to their out gay relative's function.  Never again.  I couldn't even get either of my brothers or their families to attend.  Again, embarrassing and shameful.

But I am happy that there will now be thousands of same sex couples in England who will no longer be treated as pariahs and "less than."  


Me waiting to testify before the Delaware State Legislature last year for marriage equality - unashamed and proud

But then we go back to this country where it is up to the state to decide.  You know, the old "put it up to the voters."  Well, this brilliant Irish ad puts into focus how ridiculous and unfair too many part so this country continue to be behind history.  But you know folks, it is inevitable that one day this country will look back at this time and wonder "how could we have been so unfair?"


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Joe

"Joe" (right) and friend - abt. 1976 Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



Hello there,
For about 20 years I have been trying to find some information about the where about of Joe Murtha.  I met a Joe Murtha in Philadelphia in 1976, kept a friendship with him for many years, mainly through correspondence, I saw him last in 1990. Soon after that I lost contact.  I have written to old addresses, to old organizations in which he was active in the 70s and 80s and  Googled his name many times through out the years.
Today I tried again, I Googled his name and the information in the form of Memorial page came up, the one that you have created. I would like to know more about his last years of life.  Some how his abruptly stop of communication with me has been an enigma that bothered me.  I would like to chat with you about Joe if you allow me. I almost sure your Joe is the same Joseph Hope Murtha that I met and lived at 1926 Spruce St, Philadelphia in the summer of 1976. He made in mark in my life.
Paz y Bien,
Juan 
……………….

I received this e-mail last night.  I knew Joe Murtha.  He was a friend of mine…..sort of.  


Joe - 1980 at "The Ranch"

Back in the day, Joe and I were very competitive when we used to frequent the 247 Bar in Philadelphia.  Yes Virginia, back in my "every weekend out to the bars looking for Mr. Right."  

I received this e-mail from someone who knew Joe and wondered what happened to him. This is one of the many things I like about the Internet and the Digital Age.  Unfinished business can be resolved.  


Me and "Mr. Right" at The Ranch - 1980

In the years since I began my blog in 2005, I have received several such inquiries from my past.  I am always glad to help provide information to those who are attempting to close a chapter in their life.


Maybe not "Mr. Right" after all

I called Juan V. today and gave him the information on Joe that he asked for.  I told him that Joe died in 1994 of AIDS related causes.  I also told him that Joe was cremated and his ashes spread over his five acre parcel of property he and is partner Bob M. (who died a year previously also of AIDS related causes) owned and spent their weekends away from their home in New Jersey.


Joe (center) with my friend Bob H. (on left - lots of "Bobs" in my life) and my other friend Bob (on the right with finger pointing)
Juan told me that he was involved in Catholic Charities (for which Joe worked) and Joe was very kind to him.  We traded some stories about Joe but one we both agreed on that Joe was very cheap.  I remember one time I arrived at "The Ranch" (which is what we called the single wide trailer that Bob M. had where we all used to congregate for a Weekend Away From Philadelphia), and Joe and his partner Bob M. (yes, yet another "Bob") were sitting at the table). So what did Joe say to me as soon as I walked in the door?  Did he say "Hi Ron!"  Oh no, he says "We only brought enough food for ourselves (as he cradled his can of Campbell's Pork and Beans), you'll have to buy your own food!"  That was Joe, cheap to the end.  I told Joe "I don't expect you to buy my food, I'll buy my own food and by the way, how are you this evening?" This exchange reminded me of the "Howard Entrance" scene in "The Boys In The Band."  

Joe eating "his food" at Bob's table


Yes, that was the kind of contentious relationship Joe and I had.  I could tell many more stories of Joe but I prefer to keep my blog postings short and to the point, lest I put anyone to sleep.  But it was interesting to dredge up yet another memory from the my sordid Past on this rainy and cold Saturday in March 2014, 34 years later.  



Joe could put Don Rickles to shame.  Our mutual friend Bob said (and yes, there was yet another Bob for a total of FIVE BOBS!) that "after five minutes with Joe you could do pull-ups from the curb."  And you know folks, as contentious as our relationship was, I sort of miss Joe.  I miss the sparing.  I miss the camaraderie (such as it was).  But time moves on, the cast of actors fall by the wayside, only memories remain.  And then there are those few who are left standing, left to contemplate the past and face the uncertain future, sure in the knowledge that one day someone in the future will ask the question "Do you know whatever happened to Ron?"  Well folks, they say the Internet is forever and here I am, recording this history for posterity.  I have found my calling, my purpose in life.  

Rest in peace Joe.


Richard, Joe, Bob 1, Bob 2, Fuzzy - 1980 - Another time, another place, a better place - all gone now.

Remembrance of Past

At 72 years old, I've lived a long time.  My brain is still good, I can remember a lot from my past.  One of my all time favorite memories is watching the "Jackie Gleason Show" on a warm summertime Saturday night in the Fifties.



Me (middle) with my friends and brother (far right) at 120 Washington Avenue, Downingtown, PA summer 1952

Our family lived on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  We lived in a second floor of a cheap (poor white trash section of town) apartment building.  My father worked at Gindy Trailers outside the edge of town.  The owner of Gindy Trailers, Dave Ginsberg, let my father grow corn on a few acres of land adjoining the trailer manufacturing plant.  



My brothers John and Isaac at the Gindy Trailer Manufacturing plant in Downingtown - 1952
our "Playground"


My father grew a lot of corn, more than we could eat.  One of my fondest memories of my childhood was those warm and humid, lazy hazy days of the Eisenhower Dull Fifties was my brothers and I pulling weeds from our assigned rows of corn.  I used to hate that chore at that time because I wanted to play with my friends Chubby Shores and Pee Wee Mack.  But after we pulled the weeds, we were often treated to a Tastee Freeze ice cream of a Dixie Cup.  Then if we got home in time we would gather around out 14 inch black and white Philco TV and watch "The Honeymooners" on "The Jackie Gleason Show."  



Mom and "her boys" enjoying a Dixie Cup treat after pulling weeks for each of our assigned eight rows of corn - 1952







Now, every time I hear the haunting strains of "The Melancholy Serenade" which was the opening theme song to "The Honeymooners", I am transported back to that more innocent time.  


Mom with my brother Isaac, Jr. in front of our cornfield - 1952

We didn't have much (nothing really) but we did have family, security and love.  Sure, my father could have been more demonstrative with his love and we could have had air conditioning but I am so appreciative of the childhood I did have and the memories that will never leave me as long as I live.  


"Pop" with youngest son John (his favorite) in front of his cornfield 1952

Jackie Gleason is on my mind now because I'm reading a biography of him now.  Not only was he one of my favorite comedians he is also one of my favorite musicians, and indeed he was a musician even though he couldn't read one note of music. 





I have many more memories like this which I will share in future blog posts.  I get a great deal of comfort from these memories.  I hope I never lose them.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Where Cool Came From

Pat's minimalist house in Toronto, Canada


My friend Pat sent me this link yesterday.  It is a profile of his house (or "house" as he says in his Canadian accent) in Toronto.  It is on the website "Where Cool Came From."


Pat's home office and front door

View of home office and kitchen from second level

Pat's "living room" and backyard

Stairs to the second level (bedroom and bathroom)


Pat is a minimalist (and a vegan).  I think he's pretty cool and this profile confirms my impression of Pat.  


Pat in my backyard (I'm definitely not a minimalist - I'm a gardner)



See here: Click on the video at the website.  Get past the straw house.  Pat's is the next house.





Enjoy!


"This smoothie is for you!"

Chris Christie - Innocent!

"Saint Chris Christie is innocent of all charges! Bridget Anne Kelly is a scorned woman and it's all her fault!"

Folks, I really try to keep my politically inspired rants to a minimum on this blog.  You know that I do.  I really do.  But after yesterday's "press conference" by New Jersey governor Chris Christie's lawyer, paid to the tune of ONE MILLION DOLLARS by New Jersey taxpayers, that exonerated the saintly Chris Christie from ANY involvement in the Bridgegate scandal, I have to vent.  




Don't you just love lawyers like this Randy Maslow?  Hey, I watch "The Good Wife" so I know all the shenanigans that lawyers go through, twisting the truth, looking for legal loopholes, to absolve their client of any wrongdoing.  But yesterdays absolution by Chris Christie's attorney Randy Mastro was "everything from a whitewash to a work of fiction" as the Daily News of New York reported.  See here.


"I know nothing!"


Watching the smarmy, white bearded, smiling Mastro yesterday day I thought for a moment I was watching Putin's spokesman.  Mastrow makes Bagdhad Bob look like Mother Teresa. I had to take a shower after watching that display of fawning obsequiousness to Saint Chris Christie.





I love all the lawyer talk like "lane realignment" instead of "lane closures."  That's lawyer talk folks. Don't you love it?

Hey folks, I knew when news of the "time for traffic problems in Ft. Lee" came up, Christie was done. He was exposed as a bully and vindictive and only caring about his own personal political ambitions and be damned the citizens of New Jersey.  HE.WAS.EXPOSED for the bully that he is, simple as that.  The arrogance of power.  



And now he's making the round, lying and lying and lying.  Yesterday's so called press conference did more harm than good by trashing Bridget Kelly as a scorned woman who now was going to f-ck up Ft. Lee because Christie's former political aid Bill Stepien supposedly dumped her.


I mean, talk about throwing somebody under the bus. 


I said it a few months ago when this story first broke and I'll say it again, stick a fork in him because Chris Christie is done.  He'll be lucky if he can stay out of jail.  Good riddance.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Snow…..Again?

"It's cold out here baby!"

Are you kidding?  Snow again?  Yes Virginia, we had yet another snow storm here in the semi-tropical coastal plains of southern Delaware.  Holy smokes!


The road I take to work today

Here we go again folks.  Just when I thought the warm temperatures of Spring were about to lay on the land, yet another Blast of Winter.




Yesterday I spent the best part of the day putting together the iMovie of the Bloggerpalooza photos that Mark H. sent me.  See yesterday's blog for that movie.  Lots of work there folks!  Appreciate it.





Today I go back to work.  I'm so glad I didn't have to travel in that blizzard yesterday to go to work.  Been there, done that this year already.  


Ready to back out of the garage again and go to work today, on the ice
We've have some year with snow here in Lower Slower Delaware this.  Prior to the last TWO snowstorm (yep, it seems like every week we have a snow storm of four to eight inches), the local newspaper reported that we already had SEVEN times the normal snowfall for this area.  And here we are, almost in April and we're still having snow storms.  I think this is the last one.  I hope this is the last one.  


Casa Tipton-Kelly early this morning - a regular Winter Wonderland

The rest of this week is going to be pretty busy for me.  Work again tomorrow night then Friday I made an emergency appointment with my dermatologist.  A biopsy that he took off of my right leg near my knee isn't healing properly.  My pant leg keeps rubbing agains the scab, pulling it askew causing me more than a fair amount of pain and inflammation around where he took the biopsy.  Oh the joys of getting old and falling apart piece by piece.  



I'm getting there folks!


Last night I watched two more episodes of "The Good Wife", a program to which I am addicted.  It was so comforting to watch it in the comfort of my bedroom while the cold winds swirled around outside.  


The Good Wife cast - ohhhh sooooo good!

What I really feel sorry for are my daffodils.  They've tried so often to put on their fresh faced show this spring only to be knocked down for yet another snowstorm.


My poor beaten down daffodils