Monday, July 16, 2007

One Year Later

We reached the first Anniversary of John's passing last Wednesday. I found myself deep in thoughts where I had not been in many years: The dreaded seven-ten split. It seems that no matter how I tried, I was not able to remember how to put enough of a spin on the ball to make the seven jump over toward the ten.

Ken thought that it would be a good idea to have a place where the tribe could gather, seeing as how we were all extremely aware of the impending milestone. As shocking and sudden as everything was last year, at least we had been spared the luxury of anticipation. He wanted people to be able to get together, but not to stand around and mope. Ken came up with bowling. First, he reasoned, it's loud. If people want to weep, no one will hear them. Second, people will be terrible at it, so it will be funny. And third, we've never done bowling as a group, so there won't be any old baggage. The lanes were booked and invitations went out.

Bowling. I hadn't actually held a bowling ball since I spent a year on a gay league in Milwaukee circa 1991. I was new in town and it seemed like a way to break the ice. I actually did own a ball and shoes, purchased at Kowalski's Bowling Supply on the South Side. The shoes were snow white and pristine when they emerged from the dusty bag. The ball was mottled orange. I had not recalled that detail. And it was monogrammed. That I recalled. It was three dollars extra.

Overall, the response was very positive and Ken set up food and drink for about 40 people. As we counted down, he mused about the party. "A Memorial Bowling Party" he quipped- "How White Trash is that?"

Well, just white trash enough to be fun, as circumstances would prove. As soon as people began to arrive, Ken kicked off the first game. I actually beat him by one pin in that round, but must admit that my game declined as a result of the blended Margaritas. I soon retired to drink and boast of my victory, same as any high school athlete would do. Dad would be proud.

We were a full house. Friends we knew from Classic Car Club events and from John and Ken's crazy parties came streaming in. Neighbors, some of John's childhood friends, art dealers who helped furnish the house. People who have known each other for years and never bowled together before. And it was great fun.

Lee, our matriarch, held court at the end of lane number three. She enjoyed a Vodka IV drip and presided over the surrounding. We joked about the evening Ken and I took her to the Abbey and passed her off as a famous film star. Good friends Peggy and Perry from the car club paraded in outrageous chartreuse and orange shoes. Marlena, dahlink, the transsexual who dated Rock Hudson. Maddy and David, prominent Art Deco dealers on Melrose. My "straight ex-boyfriend" Garth, who will never learn. I didn't get a chance to talk to Betty much, we couldn't drag her away from lane four. Everyone was bowling, and laughing, and alternately applauding each other or making fools of themselves. It was a splendid time.

There was a flood of thank-you calls the following day, everyone expressing what a great time it was. No tears, no weeping, much laughter, and a feeling that, with the passing of this milestone, a burden has been lifted. It's easier now. We'll always miss him, but we're doing okay.

Science Quiz

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz
It seemed less tedious than all those myspace quizzes, but how much science can you remember 30 years after taking the class? About 10% less than the first time around, it seems.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sore Paw

The Fourth of July cookout was going nicely when suddenly the yard was filled with the frantic sound of a dog screaming in pain. Will and I ran out to the back gate to find Jasper, a seven year old Basenji, frantic and desperate. His paw was stuck under the back gate. He had somehow broken through the bottom of one of the slats, and there was just no way that paw could get back out.

Little Jasper, spoiled, adored, and pampered, was terrified. He was growling and crying. There was no choice but to act. Will tried to calm him down and assess whether we could open the gate. I ran through the garage to the alley side. I could see Jasper's little paw protruding through the gate. A neighbor heard his pitiful cries (okay, I suspect New Jersey heard his cries) and appeared with a hammer. We started removing the slats. We got down to the bottom, and decided that we couldn't pull the nail without possibly breaking his foot. Will took the hammer, and holding the terrified pup, knocked the slat loose from behind. He scooped up the growling, crying dog and ran inside. I hammered the fence back together and followed.

We assessed the damage. Will ended up with a moderate bite on his arm, and Jasper with a badly cut foot. It did not appear to be bleeding, and fortunately does not seem to be broken, Will washed it out with peroxide and applied antibiotic salve. He wrapped the wound in a bandage, I curled up with Jasper to calm him down and keep him from tearing the bandage off. I think he was in shock. After a while, his breathing softened, and he napped. I fed him a hot dog for dinner which he ate hungrily. After another hour, he was up and around, albeit very tenderly on his paw. Will and I sat outside and decompressed. I think we were both on the verge of tears for what Jasper had been through. When I left, they were both curled up on the bed watching television, bandaged paw in bandaged arm. He loves that little fella.

Bicentennial Minute

I was a high school Sophomore in 1976, and my class was just all about the Bicentennial. From watching the Bicentennial Minutes (sponsored by major oil companies), to the official 76 apparel, to the special history class I took first period called Continental Congress. It was a very special time and I felt very proud and very fortunate to be an American as the country turned 200.

I drove a yellow Cadillac convertible in the Flint Bicentennial parade. Sponsored by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, I carried the Irish- American Queen in my car. Her name was Ann Marie Mulcahy. She had fair skin, red hair, and freckles. She smiled and waved from the back of the Cadillac and occasionally chugged from her lightly concealed bottle of Miller High Life. 1976 was a great year for America.

This year was a much more reflective Fourth. I still put out the flag. My friend Will and I had a great cookout in his backyard. We hung red, white and blue stars from his latticework. There was a ribbon down the dining table, and a bouquet of red carnations, and blue and white daisies. We even found American Flag cocktail napkins. I wanted it done up right, although I think 2007 is the darkest year in America's history.

I grieve for America. I grieve for her ruined international reputation, for the horrible abuses of power that the Administration has used against her own citizens under the guise of protecting them. I ask the world's forgiveness for the illegal and immoral war, I pray that the House of Representatives introduces articles of Impeachment. I think it is the only way to be able to ask the world's forgiveness. And I worry that it is all too late, that the balance of power has been so stretched that it will topple.

I know that we have to be vocal and demand our country back. It will not be enough to just vote, it may mean marching in the streets to demand that criminals be held accountable for their crimes. It may mean the sixties activism all over again, But I don't see any alternative- I have friends who are shopping for "vacation homes" in other countries, I'm not ready for that option. I was born here. I love America. And I miss her terribly.