Early Evening Thoughts ~ The One Last Ride ~

I’ve written about my suicide several times over the last few years, but one aspect that I didn’t cover was one that I really preferred to keep somewhat unknown.  It wasn’t an attempt to keep it secret (if you’ve followed this blog, you know me better than that…) as much as a problem in knowing how to handle this.  When all was said and done, the Dr. felt that I had possibly had 2-3 concussions one right after another … as a result, for several months afterward, I had a lot of difficulty with sentences, names and remembering certain things.  It was, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying times of my life.  I was afraid that I had possibly done severe brain damage (cutting off one’s oxygen supply and hacking one’s neck with an eXacto knife will have a tendency to do that sort of thing…)

At the least, I was afraid that I might have triggered Alzheimer’s and all that would entail.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  Gradually, words, memories and such returned and I seem to hold no further problems from it.

I was and am blessed with wonderful children, and friends who simply said to me – if it happens it happens and we’ll deal with it then.  In other words sir … quit borrowing trouble from the future, you’ve got enough to deal with right now …. and how right they were.

This story, which I understand like yesterday’s has been making the rounds for sometime now, made me cry.  Not only for her, but for the blessings that I have of people around me who know me and mercifully still love me! What would it be like without anyone? I really don’t care if and haven’t looked up to see if the story is true.  The story still makes me cry every time I read it …. [update: the story is true … I just looked it up]

A NYC Taxi driver writes:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next few hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Early Evening Thoughts ~ Have Lunch With God ~ Bring Potato Chips

Potato Chips

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God
lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack
of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting
in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and
opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when
he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.
He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered
him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to
leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran
back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother
was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he
added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”

He replied “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before his
son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Have lunch with God…….bring chips.

Evidently, this story has been making the rounds for awhile, but it was the first time I’d seen it and I’ve fallen in love with it ….

Intermezzo ~ Late Evening Thoughts

For tonight, I’m going to leave myself at the hospital with a broken arm, and various problems with Julius Caesar and Midsummer Night’s Dream unresolved. I wanted to head in a different direction for tonight …

Today I found out that D&D,who have been close (if dramatic) friends for over 10 years, are ending their unending relationship of over 9 years. I would like to say that this came as a complete shock to me, but it did not. For a number of years, they have sounded more like a couple that’s been married for a long time – but didn’t want to be. And their idea of communication seemed more to talk AT each other, rather than TO each other.

I haven’t done this for sometime, but I went back and looked at various quotes that I thought were relevant and realized again – any relationship/friendship takes work. Sometimes a lot of work. The advantage of friendship, as I see it, is that there is a separation inherent in the dynamics.

However, as I learned in my marriage that ended after 15+ years, marriage is not a minimizer but an enlarger. Those charming idiosyncrasies that are so charming when dating – can become major mountains that need to be overcome!!

(but it’s all worth it!!)

“Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever.”

“It is strange how often a heart must be broken before the years can make it wise”
–Sara Teasdale

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
–C.S. Lewis

“When love is lost, do not bow your head in sadness; instead keep your head up high and gaze at the stars for that is where your broken heart has been sent to heal!”

“A broken heart is what makes life so wonderful five years later, when you see that special guy in an elevator and he is fat and smoking and saying ‘Long time no see’”
–Phyllis Batelle

“The day you finally decide to love me will be the day after the day I have given up on chasing you.”

“I don’t miss him, I miss who I thought he was.”

” Maybe nature is fundamentally ugly, chaotic and complicated. But if it’s like that, then I want out.”
–Steven Weinberg

“Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.”
–Turkish Proverb

—and as Paul Harvey might have said: Tomorrow, more of the Shakespeare story

Parental Moments ~ Early Evening Thoughts

About the time my daughter was in High School. a ladies only strip club had made the news here in town. It was owned by a former dancer of note (according to his press releases) and had become quite the party spot. It had (at that time) a firm “ladies only” policy ~ so, from what we understood the evenings were fairly raucous. This became quite the topic of conversation from my daughter and she was making all sorts of devious plans to go. I didn’t worry too much about it as 1) she was way to young to get in and 2) I doubted she would really have gone even if she could have gotten into the place and 3) she was talking out loud about the plans ~ probably to see what kind of reaction it would get.

My daughter also loved to go to the various trade shows (travel), home and garden shows and the other exhibitions during the year. She was the exact opposite of my ex-wife. who could tolerate those kind of gatherings for – oh – maybe ten minutes and then was done. My daughter, on the other hand, loved to go, look and see everything that was there. She also was beginning to “scope” out men which was quite funny to be around. She would decided someone was cute, and I’d tease her to go talk to him, to which she would refuse, etc. It was a fun time to be around her …

One week, there was a home and travel show at the convention center and I extended the invitation for her to come with me and for once, she decided that she didn’t want to go but “Bring me home something from it, Dad.” was the response.

So, I went and wandered around the exhibits on the main floor and then went to the second floor exhibits. In the center of all those exhibits was not only an exhibit for the club she had been talking about, but about 8 of the dancers were there as well. And yes, everything was quite G-rated. I wandered by and realized they were selling pictures, slides (!?!) and calenders. Ah ha!! A calender would be the ideal thing for her – if I could find one that she would be allowed to hang in her room! I found a large wall one with all 12 months and a different dancer for each month. This was a little more PG rated, but they were basically clothed and I was pretty sure that my ex (not ex at the time but later) would allow it in the house and in her room.

Not only did I get the calender, I got the dancers who were there to autograph the calender for her – and they each personalized it. I was sure it would be a great hit. (two of the dancers circled their birthdays with hearts – as if!!)

I waited to give it to her for several days. We were heading to do some shopping and I reminded her about the home/travel show and that it was too bad she wasn’t there, because … and then I told her who was there. It was a wonderful dramatic moment on her part as she was quite vocal about having missed them, etc. THEN, I gave her the calender.

A long silence followed, and all I could think was: “Oh, great, she doesn’t like it!!” Finally I asked her if she was unhappy with it …

Another long pause, then she replied that she did like it but ~ she said; “I just realized that there is no way I could date someone who has bigger boobs and more hair than I do!”

Please Pass (Over) The Nuts ~ Late Morning Thoughts

Christian Hate And Christian Witchcraft

Christian Hate:
This week the Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Everyone Except Us) founded by Fred Phelps (Godhatesfags.com) tried to go into Canada to hold a hate-filled protest at the funeral of the innocent man who was decapitated on a bus trip. Quoting from Paul Gackle,Winnipeg Free Press as published in the National Post:

Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean’s death as God’s wrath.

Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church – an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers – announced they would picket Mr. McLean’s funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.

But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church’s founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.

“They won’t let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot,” she said. “They’ll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won’t know who we are. They’ll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts.”

The resistance to the planned funeral protest started on Facebook yesterday morning when Jim Cotton, a resident of Winnipeg Beach, launched a page asking city residents to help protect Mr. McLean’s funeral. . .

. . . Mr. Cotton was outraged and asked Winnipeg Facebookers to circle around the seven picketers tomorrow and pray for Mr. McLean’s family.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, Mr. Cotton’s page had over 100 friends. Rodney Taylor, an Ottawa resident, found the page and pitched in.

Mr. Taylor phoned the Prime Minister’s Office, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office and border services, asking them to keep the Westboro group out of the country. He also created his own Facebook page urging other offended Canadians to follow his lead.

“These people are callous, vicious and shouldn’t be let into our country,” he said. “We have freedom of speech, but they are inciting hate.”

Mr. Taylor’s plan worked. Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls yesterday from angry Winnipeggers.

“These people [from Westboro] are almost as crazy as the murderer,” he said. “If they are here to disrupt the social order, that constitutes grounds to deny them entry. There is no redeeming virtue in the message they are bringing.”

According to Mr. Martin, Mr. Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets that fit the hateful messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.

“In the opinion of his office, coming up here with the message they’re articulating constitutes hate speech,” said Mr. Martin.

Members of the Kansas-based fundamentalist sect were already planning to picket in Canada prior to last week’s bus slaying. The group was scheduled to protest in Toronto Thursday night at the opening of playwright Alistair Newton’s “The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret”, which satirizes their leader’s fervent anti-gay stance. . .

. . .In 1999, the Canadian government said it was powerless to prevent Mr. Phelps from entering the country when he was planning a protest in Ottawa over a Supreme Court ruling extending rights to gays and lesbians.

At that time, the government said the minister could only make exceptions at the border to grant people entry who might otherwise be denied, not deny people entry who would normally be admitted. . .

. . .The Winnipeg Police Service said they were not planning to block the funeral protest if the group successfully crossed the border, but they were prepared to be on hand if necessary.

This hate group was a no-show at the funeral ~ citing concerns for their safety – but in actuality they must have realized that they lost the opportunity for publicity as 250 Winnipeg residents were on hand to protect the funeral and the family.

What troubles me so much is that this group – while spewing hatred for everything and everyone that doesn’t believe in them are now trying to export this brand of hatred. Adding insult to injury, they are also spewing in the name of God, that God has already decided who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell, so it makes no difference what you do – (unless you’re a Westboro church member – which automatically grants you access through the Golden Gates). I’m not going to get into the murky waters of predestination and/or pre-ordination. But rather the manner they are going about it.

The church itself (as a non-profit organization) is supported by the donations of its members and those who share their perverted view of God’s law and God’s attributes. And without publicity, their donations would, in fact, start to dry up. Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had “little regard for the ethics of his profession.” Which says a lot to me.

Once a group moves from sharing what they believe and trying to beat people into submission of ONLY what they believe ~ they have moved into being a cult, not a belief. But to this group of hate-mongers it makes no difference. They have become publicity whores and donation driven. How else could he and his family afford all these trips to perform at “20,000 protests” (their claim) and put fairly well done videos on the web? Being non-profit gives them incredible tax advantages which helps fund their activities.

But here’s what troubles me the most. What is it within people that makes them believe in this kind of activity and speech? Is it within each of us to fall into this kind of trap? Is there something within me that festers and decays that would allow me to live in that kind of hate and fear? That’s the troublesome question. I have some very strong held beliefs, could those turn into a driving force pushing me “over the edge?”

–thus endeth part one of today’s meditation

Erin Go . . . ~ Late Evening Thoughts

To say that last week was interesting would be an understatement. It was a wild, intense and one where a lot was accomplished. Not easily ~ not always with charm ~ not always without some stress. But then the weekend had arrived and I was “good to go.” Little did I know it should have gotten up and gone!

I was especially looking forward to Sunday when someone that I have gotten to know quite well and I were going to have a quick sandwich and coffee at a small streetside cafe and then spend the afternoon exploring Half Price Books. We had arranged to meet at the cafe around 1:30 in the afternoon. This would still give plenty of time for enjoying the book store. Around 10:00 in the morning I began to get text messages and then phone calls changing the time and location of where we were to meet. Finally I told that the place we would meet would be La Strada. (cue mournful music here.) This establishment was an attempt at an upscale Italian restaurant. Fortunately, they managed the upscale and the upscale price part. Unfortunately, (as far as I was concerned) they didn’t manage the food part.

I decided that I would have some dessert and let that be that.
I headed out on the adventure of the day. (cue Psycho violins here.)

When I arrived at the place, I realized even before I got to the door, there had been a change. The place was very noisy…very noisy. I though maybe it was because the windows on the street were open but then as I approached the door I had the reality hit me ~ this was not the case at all.

The upscale restaurant had become (on Sundays) a 21 (barely) and up (barely) party central location. It’s a little hard to remain upscale when all the drinks are being served in plastic glasses – coffee in foam cups!! And the place was packed. I realized that probably 80% of the boys “guy’s” voices hadn’t changed (21??) and NONE of the women’s voiced had progressed beyond grade school. It was as if I were at a Hanna Montana concert that was never going to start.

My friend? He was at the bar trying very hard to get under it – I think. To say that he had been drinking his lunch would have been been an understatement. He had used all the breakfast, dinners AND lunches for three weeks or more. I am now surrounded by people in high-pitched shriek(s) and a very intoxicated friend who is pawing me and giving me bone crushing bear hugs inbetween telling me what I was going to do and asking me for money. Great conversation points there!!

And, of course, Monday was St. Patrick’s Day . . . I found something very interesting and decided to end tonight’s post with these VERY clever cell phone charms from Japan. They are called the 6 stages of drunkenness ~

the first stage is the lecture stage: “Let me tell you something … over and over and over…

The rest and the conclusion tomorrow …

It’s A Matter Of The Heart ~ Late (to me) Evening Thoughts

It’s been a very crazy week ~ and it’s only Wednesday!!!! I’ve been helping D&D in the flower shop they work at … a small busy shop with L A R G E personalities… My job has been to answer the phone and take orders. I would estimate that there were 150 arrangements that were delivered today and I believe there are over 250 for tomorrow! So, posting, cleaning the house and getting much of anything done has been put on hold for Friday….

Here’s my thoughts on Valentine’s Day — obviously colored by my week with flowers!!

Happy Birthday To Me ~ Early Evening Thoughts

This is my 2nd birthday I’ve celebrated on my blog! And I can certainly say, “It’s been a wild, wild year!” Who knew that I would lose almost everything (including my life) and come back with what amounts to a clean slate and a new beginning.

So, how did I celebrate my birthday this year? By giving myself permission to do absolutely NOTHING!!!

It was wonderful … I got calls from my kids and grandkids (I know, I’m just NOT old enough to have grandchildren. I had them when I was very, very young!). I also got some calls and cards from very special friends. Also, a forum that I am a part of posted birthday wishes to me!!

This weekend my daughter and son-in-law (and the two grandkids) and I are heading down to Galveston for two days of away and family time. It’s going to be wonderful, and … if all goes well, I will have my digital camera and will have pictures to show for it!!

So, Happy Birthday To Me!!! And thank heavens I’m around to celebrate it!!!

More Of The Story ~ Late Afternoon Post

Friday, the 23rd my Mother slipped away at around 7:30 in the evening. She went as she wanted, at home looking out the window at Flathead Lake. She had been out of it most of Thursday ~ while I was making travel arrangements for myself and my “tribe” to get there. Alas, that was not to be. She passed away while most of us were in Salt Lake City awaiting the next leg of the trip. While I was saddened, it was NOT a time of mourning. She was 94 years young, and had been desiring to go home for some time.

She was walking the dog on (I believe) the 9th of November and because she had been told not to ~ she took some concrete steps to the house. As near as we can tell she lost her balance and fell down at least 8 of them, landing on her head on the concrete pad. Fortunately, she had an alert bracelet that she managed to press – in spite of a broken arm and a broken shoulder below the rotor cuff.

R & L were on their way down when the alert people called them and also told them they had dispatched an ambulance. Everyone arrived within about 10 minutes of the fall. R had called me and I actually got to talk to Mom on the stretcher. Of course, her reactions were very typical of my Mom. She was telling R to stop crying, and all she would say to me on the cell phone was “I can’t talk right now!” All I told her was that I wanted to say I loved her.

While in the ER, she was ready to go home, they were not sure what they were going to do but she was one determined lady. They wrote a prescription for pain pills and she started to get up to leave. She decided that because she was dizzy and everything now had started to hurt, she would stay overnight. That was sadly, her last independent moment. While she was in the hospital that night, she had what they classified as a moderate stroke. So now, she was dealing with the pain and having a terrible time talking. Not a very good combination for those who were taking care of her, trust me on that one!

With a lot of negotiation (OK, some fits were thrown as well) they moved her on the 13th to an intensive rehabilitation center. Mom knew that this was the ONLY way she was going to be allowed to go home. However…again however, she was NOT prepared for 1) the work she was going to have to do or 2) the people that would be there. I had called Mom twice a day for over two years, and I even had to get into the act of getting her to 1) “play” nice and 2) cooperate with everyone. I can and always will understand her frustration, but I eventually began to realize where this was going ~ even if I didn’t want to admit it!! (Who wants to admit anything like that?)

Things seemed to be going well at the rehab center, when Mom had another mini-stroke. At that point rehab felt they had done all they could there and that Mom needed to be home with therapy coming to see her. Hospice took over on the 19th. At this point there was no longer any fantasy about her recovery. The hospital bed was in the living room so that she would be able to see her beloved Flathead Lake and perchance see the lights across the lake going up the mountain. On Wednesday the 21st, they awoke her to do one of the every two hour moves every early. They sat her up and cleaned her face with a washcloth and then R said: “look Barb, the lights across the lake!!” She had an enormous grin on her face and laid back down. I did get to talk “at” her that day. . . the last living conversation I was to have with her. She was awake occasionally that day, the mind was there ~ but all ability to talk was gone. On the 23rd she was awake only once. Her breathing was somewhat labored, and twice stopped. The at 7:30pm the 23rd of November, my Mother slipped out of her earthly shell and found herself at her new “home” where she had wanted to be for a long long time.

~ more later in the week

Happy Birthday Warren!!! ~ Early Evening Thoughts

If you’ve been around me for any length of time, you know that I believe in love. Love that trancends orientation, age, looks and what other people think. It must come from the depth of love my parents had for each other ~ and somehow, that was just wired into me.

One of the blogs I read each day is —>Our View On Superior<–. I’ve enjoyed it from the first read. Here are two people that are deeply in love, work at their relationship and totally enjoy each other.

As I said it’s something that transcends orientation…it is that kind of love that is deep, powerful and something to be honored and cherished. Today was Warren’s …ahem…uh…birthday and a milestone birthday it is as well. I wondered what he would have to say about it. I was sure it would be moving and profound, and he didn’t let me down. Let me rip quote from today’s posting. Drop by his blog and wish him well, if you want, I know he would appreciate it.

To quote:

-It’s my birthday and the love of my man is the best present I could
ever have!

-Yes it was on this date…a number of years ago that my mom and dad gave birth to me – right here in Minnesota. My dad had just returned from World War II after having served over seas.

My mom and dad actually met just prior to the war starting and had gotten married before he left for the military service.

I suppose being gone for five and one-half years – he was ready to come home and see my mom. Many children were born that same year – we eventually became known as “baby boomers”.

Probably should have been called “baby exploders” because kids were coming out at a rapid pace that year. It was 1946.

Life these years has been very good to me … I’ve gotten a
good education, had only two jobs in my entire life, and lived very happily. I’m not a rich man, I’m not a poor man – but I’ve always been fairly comfortable – having what I needed in life and never to the excess.

I think that is perhaps the best life you can have. I find poor people however are happy in many ways, while those who are rich never truly seem happy and always want more – sad to say.

My parents died at a relatively early age and I was an only child. My mom passed away when I was 18 and my dad died when I was 31 years of age. So – I’ve basically lived alone my entire life. I realized I was “unique” and finally knew I liked guys when I was 13 or 14 years of age…but I didn’t know why.

However; living in Minnesota I never came out – never told my family or anyone I associated with. I would have been shoved back into the closet so fast, it would have made you head spin. Back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, before I met Steve -people hated gay men.

Why would I want to bring hatred upon myself by announcing to the world “I’m gay”? There was no sense in doing that – so I just kept my mouth closed and enjoyed life as much as I could. I spent a lot of time looking at those guys in the Wards and Sears catalogs – who wore underwear! LOL! I thought they were cute.

To me they were the next best thing to having a guy. Well, after all – who knew who was gay back then?

I really never met many guys in my life – for fear of being found out and then be put up on a chopping block for society to cut away at me – because I lived in a small town area people would talk and I feared that. I sure as heck didn’t want that – so I was very careful not to be actively seeking anyone.

I finished high school, went onto college and got my degree and
then found the two and only two jobs that I ever had. Both jobs have been good to me, both employers wonderful – providing me with a good salary, vacation, sick leave and health care benefits – what more could a guy need in life?

When I was about 23 or so, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as my
Lord – and I’ve served Him ever since – knowing full well that God allowed me to be who I was – a gay man. I didn’t really realize I was 100% gay until – I just figured it out one day. Seems dumb I know, but hey back in those days – if you liked guys it was not a good thing. Today, things are getting better and society is more accepting.

What did I need in life? Answer: A man!

Why was I gay? Why was I unique? In 1999, being a Christian – I set out for several months on an educational trip to explore the subject of being gay and what I was and why I was who I was. I read books and internet article and my Bible and anything I could get my hands on.

Conclusions from my 6 month study:

I was gay because the feelings I had came with me, right from my
mother’s womb.

I was gay, because God created me as He wanted me to be.

I was gay and I was a born again Christian worshiping in an
Assemblies of God denomination. I was ok.

It was not wrong to be who God created me to be.

I could live just like anyone else, and still be gay.

Homosexuality is not a learned behavior. I learned that my sexual
orientation was inherited; and I was just plain wired that way.

Certainly some people will experiment with a gay lifestyle, and a gay person might experiment with a heterosexual one. If I was really gay, I’d find a place in life and in my community to be who I was.

The important thing is that people just love me through my life. What difference does it make if I am gay? I realized that people (everyone) needed to accept me, support me and not be judgmental toward me.

In the last week May of 1999, I put an ad on Yahoo Personals for the Duluth, Minnesota region – looking for a younger man and looking for love.

Well almost two weeks went by, and a couple people answered the ad – but they were only looking for sex – and I wanted a love relationship that lasted. My Yahoo User Name was “niceguyduluth”. Why? Simply because I was a nice guy.

On June 12th, 1999 about 6:30 p.m. I was checking my Yahoo email – and low and behold – there was an email from a young guy in central Minnesota. He described himself as being blond, he was about 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, goatee, blue eyes and he was 26 years old. I thought to myself (1) can this be true and (2) could this work out, after all he was 150 + miles away from me – and long distance relationships don’t work at all or not very well.

He was a gift from God to me!

Wow … I was excited! We conversed back and forth via email and later that evening I told him to install Yahoo Messenger so we could chat – and believe me, we did chat for a whole week – solid. Morning, noon and night!

We set up a date for the following Friday, June 18th – I would drive to his home town and meet him and together we would go for the weekend to St. Cloud, Minnesota.

I arrived at his home that following Friday at 10:00 a.m. right on the dot. He was inside, wearing a pair of crutches – because he had dislocated a bone in his foot the previous Sunday while playing softball.

There he was…blue jean shorts, navy blue pull over shirt, blond hair
and big blue eyes – oh my gosh he was cute!!!

Well … the rest is history … we dated that weekend, and we fell in love immediately – then we dated for five more weekends – and on or about the six weekend – his vehicle arrived in front of my place with a big trailer loaded with all his furniture and belongings – and it’s been the best 8 1/2 years of my life!

Steve was God’s gift to me on that 1999 birthday, and he is still God’s gift to me on this 2007 birthday.

So today, I’m 61 – but I feel like I’m 49 and I’ll never change that. Jack Benny was 39 his whole life so 49 – hey that works for me.

Age is just a number, so I am told. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t
matter – and I don’t mind my age at all. Birthdays come and go far to quickly – life is beautiful but it passes far faster than we can all imagine.

My final thought for the day is simply this:
Live life and enjoy every single moment you have. The possibilities for joy and fulfillment are all around you. Jump in right now and explore them fully – because that’s what life is all about. I’m so glad today that I jumped into life in June of 1999 and became the man God wanted me to be with my partner Steve.

Steve was then and is now my birthday gift from God.

He’s cute, he’s hot and he’s mine.

Happy birthday to me!

Happy Happy Birthday Warren!!!

–more complex tales tomorrow