Ah, Thanksgiving. Turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Especially the stuffing. Mark makes a turkey stuffing with sausage that is a meal in itself. Then there's the football. I don't really care about the Dallas Cowboys, or the Detroit Lions, but I do like football, and at least I have an excuse to leave the television tuned in to it all day long. It's tradition! The only thing that could make me like Thanksgiving more is if I actually had a job, and didn't have to work on that day.
It's the smells, tastes, and sounds that I love about Thanksgiving. It brings back memories of childhood when my mom would get up in the early morning hours and start cooking, the smell of turkey wafting through the house. Later on, the sight of the big long table filled with food and surrounded by my huge family, including grandma, grandpa, and various other relatives. Because of my being third born, I never experienced the Siberia known as the 'kid's table'. I never had to be banished to that secondary celebration filled with the rabble known as my little sisters, and brothers.
The only drawback about the day is the fact that I am the one who cleans up the kitchen. Mark cooks, I clean. It would be nice if I could just flop down on the sofa after dinner, and take a nap in front of the television like my dad used to do. By the time I get done cleaning up, Mark has some sappy show on the television, and the dog has taken my spot on the sofa.
Every Monday, after bowling, my team-mates and I go out for a couple of drinks, either to lick our wounds or celebrate the fact that we bowled way over our heads and won. Our favorite Monday night bar recently eliminated it's drink specials, so we have been bouncing around from bar to bar, trying to find one as cheap as we are. You have to be very careful with bars that have special nights. If you are not careful, you will walk into somebody else's idea of fun.
When I lived in Chicago, my friend Dennis and I decided to try out a new bar. We hadn't checked the bar guide before we went and soon we found ourselves having a drink in the midst of 'Cross-Dressers night'. These were not well done drag queens. these were basically hairy armed plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, and other blue collar "straight" guys who just happened to like wearing dresses. It was not pretty. Picture Archie Bunker in one of Edith's dresses and a wig.
One evening when Mark and I were visiting Chicago, we decided to return to a bar we'd had a good time at the night before. To our surprise and enjoyment, on this night they had a large buffet laid out. While we sat there sipping our cocktails and nibbling on chicken wings, I mentioned to Mark that there seemed to be a number of obese people around the bar. As the evening wore on more and more heavyweights filled the bar. We had stumbled upon 'Girth and Mirth' night, or 'fat gay men and the slim guys who like them' night. Unfortunately the only slim guys there were Mark and me. Yes even I looked slim to them. It was when they started eyeing Mark with a hungry look in their eyes that I suggested we might want to leave. Besides, if one of them sat down without looking, it could be a disaster for Mark.
Mark is a bad driver, and he really hates it when I constantly point that fact out to him. A bad driver coupled with a broken horn, equals some very close calls. On more than one occasion I have screamed in terror as another car was careening towards us, while Mark beat on the horn button in a futile attempt to warn the other driver that we were not stopping.
Over the years I have owned a number of automobiles, and I always thought that I possessed a decent, basic knowledge of how to maintain one. I once even changed my own oil. The fact that I drained it out onto the ground shows my early disregard for the ecology. Hey, forty three years ago I didn't understand that the oil I drained into my dad's lawn came out of our kitchen faucet later on down the line. One time I even adjusted the tappets on a 1954 Studebaker, and I would have been proud of that achievement if it weren't for the fact that the car ran worse when I was done. So when I decided to replace the non-functioning horn on our PT Cruiser, I assumed that I was up for the job.
I went to the auto parts store and asked if they had a replacement horn that would give another person a heart attack. I was shown the 'Freeway Blaster'. So armed with my lethal new horn, I opened the hood on the PT Cruiser and searched for the broken horn. No horn under the hood. I then stuck my head under the front of the car assuming it must be hidden somewhere underneath. No horn there. I went on the internet and found out that I would have to jack up the car, remove the right front tire and the plastic inner fender, to access the horn. It sounded very complicated.
This all happened two years ago, and to this date we still don't have a working horn on the PT Cruiser. But it's not all that bad. Over the last few years Mark has developed a knack for letting other cars know that we are coming. If you are driving down the road and a blue PT Cruiser is behind you and there is a loud, squealing sound peppered with curses coming from it, just get out of the way. It's Mark.
I'm glad I got Chandler when I did, because I have the feeling he might have ended up a lifer at the shelter. He is extremely rambunctious and always comes at you jumping, with his mouth open. It's not to be aggressive, I think he is just an oral type of dog. He wants to taste, feel, and slime, everything he encounters, and that is quite often my arm or hand. Behavior like that might have made it hard to place him.
I am still walking dogs at the pet shelter, once a week, and sometimes twice. It is really sad to see some of these beautiful dogs spending their lives in a cage instead of a home. The problem is that at first sight, some of them appear to be too aggressive, or have other socially unacceptable habits. Once you get them out of their cages and out for a walk, almost all of them show the potential of being fine pets.
Today, while walking one of two large Labrador Retrievers named either Starsky or Hutch, I stepped on a large rock, and twisted my ankle. Those who know me, have seen this sight before and are not astonished when they witness the spectacle of me suddenly lurching forward, and slamming into the ground with a loud thud. This, however was the first time the other dog walkers had witnessed my affliction. As Starsky (or Hutch), pulled me one direction, my ankle popped and sent me in a graceless dive, the opposite direction. As the all too familiar pain fired through my leg, and I plunged knee first into a patch of burrs and dog crap, I let out a garbled scream. The rest of the dog walkers stood there with the look of horror on their faces. Not so much at seeing me splayed on the ground, but more likely because I had dropped the leash of the dog I was walking. They needn't have worried. Starsky (or Hutch), reacted much the same way my Molly used to when I would fall walking her. He just moved out of the way and looked at me. I'm sure he was thinking, "Stupid biped".
In my mind, Halloween was just last week and Thanksgiving Day is off in the distant future. So it was quite jarring to walk into the Winn-Dixie grocery store today, and see Christmas crap everywhere. Couldn't they at least put up some Thanksgiving decorations for a few days, and confine Christmas to December? Mark has assured me that Christmas decorations have been up in many of the stores for the last two months, but since I don't shop much this is the first I have seen of it. It's a good thing that Mark is totally involved with his Thanksgiving feast preparations. He won't start bugging me to help him decorate for Christmas until the last of the turkey is gone.
The fact that I live in Florida, and it always feels like summer doesn't help my mindset. My memories of Christmas in Chicago are linked to visions of snow, and, ice. In Florida you string up Christmas lights on the house, with sweat rolling down your back and into your eyes. It just isn't the same.
I often think about spending another Christmas in Chicago before the end of my time. I'd like to go shopping on Michigan Avenue again, with all the pretty little lights on the trees, and smiling people scurrying up the boulevard with gay packages under their arms, while an icy cold wind blows up my coat. I'd like to feel the thrill of a car spinning out during a slush storm on Lake Shore Drive again. Before I die, I would love to relive the experience of a taxi cab splashing me with dirty, icy, water, as I try frantically, to wave him down in a blizzard. Then I would like to stand on an El stop platform with bags of gifts, while the north wind whips down the tracks and sleet pelts my face. Maybe, if I got to experience all of that again, I would finally appreciate what I have here in Florida.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I do not want to, nor have I ever wanted, to get married. I have always considered not having to get married one of the benefits of being born gay. I don't want the responsibility of a home full of screaming children, plus the responsibility of a spouse. I have cats that scream just fine, and I don't have to put them through college. Obviously, if you have been paying attention to the news, not all gay people think the way I do. Some of these poor saps think it would be a fine state of affairs for them to be tied down, for life, with one single person. Of course the truth is that over fifty percent of married couples don't stay together for life, and in the end one of them pays through the nose for the mistake of marriage.
It has been thirty years since I last went to a protest march. It was in 1977 that I joined hundreds of people marching in Chicago, to protest the queen of homophobia, Anita Bryant. Anita was a pop singer from the 1950's, whose career was on the downswing. In 1977 she decided that she didn't want any gays in the Miami school system and she supported a law that would overturn an anti-discrimination ordinance. Her campaign was a success.
Thirty years later, we have come a long way. We have strived to obtain the rights equal to those that a white, heterosexual, male, takes for granted, and in many ways we have succeeded. Now many gay couples want to have another right that heterosexuals have. The right, with the stroke of a city officials pen, to combine all their assets, and to be responsible for each others welfare. The right to keep their joint property, upon the death of the spouse. In other words, gays want to get married. As much as I am against the prospect of marriage for me, who am I to deny others the experience if that's what they want. If some dumb-ass wants to jump off a bridge with only a bungee cord between them and death, who am I to say no.
So that's what Mark and I were doing this past Saturday. We were marching around the Fort Lauderdale city hall, protesting the passage of proposition 2 here in Florida. A proposition that basically said, "I am a miserable bastard, and I want to deny you the right to be happy. You can't be married.". The truth is, if they really wanted to be hateful and make gays miserable, they would let them get married. Then pass a law that made divorce illegal.
I'm not sure what it is about South Florida, but it seems that all the whacko's, sicko's, and idiots end up here. Whenever I hear about some strange crime being committed by some oddball creep, I would bet money that it happened in Florida.Another problem South Florida has is that businesses can't seem to find literate, polite, intelligent employees. This past Saturday, Mark and I tried to replace a cell phone that we had purchased just two weeks ago because the screen had gone dead. The girl at the Sprint store, tappity tapped, on her computer, then looked up at us and said "I'm sorry but I can't replace that phone". She then told us that she couldn't replace the phone because it was broken, that she could only honor their thirty day warranty if the phone was in brand new working order. If she had known Mark was coming, she would never have gone to work that day, because for the next hour and a half Mark screeched, screamed, and berated her and everyone at Sprint who would talk to him. Despite Marks rant, we never did get the phone replaced at that store, instead I called Sprint later, from home, and they overnighted a new phone to us. I am pretty sure the guy I talked to on the phone wasn’t from Florida, he had a brain. He was probably in India.
When I was about nine or ten years old I walked into a tree and I believe I broke my nose. Back in those days parents didn't drag you to the doctor for such insignificant injuries as that, so to this day I have what is referred to as a deviated septum. One problem that this has caused, is that when the weather is cool and the humidity is low, I get bloody noses.
Once again, here I sit with a trash basket full of bloody toilet paper, and no end in sight for the latest gusher. I have squirted about three ounces of Afrin® nasal spray up my nostril, but it hasn't slowed the flow yet and I am starting to feel quite light headed. Usually the Afrin® works quickly enough that I don't have to go through more than one roll of toilet paper. Yes, I have seen a doctor about this problem. Unfortunately, most nose doctors here in South Florida are only interested in cosmetic surgery. If you aren't a fifteen year old Jewish girl from Boca, with daddy's credit card in your purse, they just aren't interested in helping you. The doctor I went to just handed me a tube of ointment, told me to dab it in my nose, and sent me on my way.
Bloody noses aren't that bad when you're at home and can attend to them. It's a horrible thing though when you are out having a good time, suddenly you sneeze, and blood starts spewing from your face. The worst time that this happened to me was while Mark and I were having a pleasant breakfast at a nice little place, and I had a fit of sneezing. Blood immediately gushed forth. I hurried to the men's restroom, and tried to stem the flow with little squares of toilet paper and industrial strength paper towels. I ended up having to run through the restaurant, blood running down my shirt, yelling at Mark to pay the bill and meet me at the car. I really wish I could go back and apologize to all the other diners for ruining their breakfasts. Maybe next time I'll run to the ladies room, and hopefully there will be a tampon dispenser there.
My mom and dad were married for over fifty years, until my dads death. In all those years I never heard them have a fight. They disagreed sometimes, but I never heard mean words or name calling between them. Mom and dad were married in a Catholic ceremony in a Catholic church and went on to raise a large family. Dad went to work every day, sometimes at two jobs, while mom stayed home to raise the children and manage their busy household. This to me is a 'traditional marriage'.
Here in Florida, we recently voted on a ballot proposition to protect traditional marriages from communist lefties who would like to open up the rights and benefits of marriage to same sex couples. I couldn't agree more, and I voted that way. It is a well known fact that many heterosexual marriages are just hanging by a thread, and if we allowed gays to marry, all those marriages would just crumble. We need to protect them.
But why stop there? I would like the government to get more involved, and put even more such propositions on the ballot. In fact I would like them to spell out 'traditional marriage' even further. As the churches have said, "we must protect the spirit and sanctity of marriage". In that vein I would like to propose that the government only recognize marriages that are sanctified in a church ceremony. Further more, only those of the Christian faith should be allowed to marry, and reap the benefits of that institution. All those other faiths are just going to hell anyway, so why acknowledge their depravity? On another note, we also need to outlaw divorce, because if anything threatens the sanctity of marriage, allowing people to split up kind of ruins it right there. Marriage, being for the benefit of children, should also be outlawed for those who are infertile or past their childbearing years. Childless couples who get married are just mocking the institution.
I understand how hurt straight couples, who have been married for years, must feel having their choice of heterosexuality made moot by the marriage of fags and dykes. If the gays want to get married so badly, they should have chosen heterosexuality. Maybe while we are at it, we should put another proposition on the ballot. One that outlaws marriage between Caucasians and Negros. I say, keep America blonde.
From out of the bedroom I heard the chilling screams. The sound of cats having yet another disagreement, followed by the even more blood curdling cries of Mark screaming like a twelve year old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert. By the time I got there, the damage was done and Mark was in full meltdown. Carlotta had bitten Fat Kitty on the ass again. While Fat Kitty licked her wounds on the bed, Carlotta lay in wait under the bed, looking for another chance at attacking her hated rival. Mark just continued screaming.
The next day I once again had to spend money at the veterinarians to patch Fat Kitty up, and start her on antibiotics. I noted to the doctor that it was getting expensive to keep bringing Fat Kitty in every few months, and besides Fat Kitty was starting to get neurotic. That was when she told me about trimming Carlotta's fangs. I had never heard of such a thing, but the doctor assured me it was done all the time and had no harmful effects on the cat.
I felt bad about bringing Carlotta in the next day to have her fangs clipped off. I had her de-clawed when she was a kitten, and have always felt bad about it. So now, in her fifteenth year, to remove her fangs just didn't seem right, but I had to think about Fat Kitty. I also had to consider Carlotta's happiness, without her fangs I could let her have a more free range of the house instead of locking her up in one room.
I have to tell you, watching the vet remove Carlotta's fangs was like a dentist's drill hitting a nerve. 'Crunch' went the first one. The clipped fang shot across the room (we had glasses on) almost hitting Mark in the back of the head as he ran screaming from the room. She clipped off the second one with another crunch and a ping, as it flew past and hit the stainless steel cabinet behind me. Two more times for the bottom fangs and she was done. Carlotta didn't wince once or even fight the doctor. It was as if she was getting her toenails clipped. I, on the other hand was a wreck. I expected the doctor to hand over a bloody, angry, cat back to me, but she was calm and happy.
Carlotta is fine, she cannot hurt Fat Kitty any more. She is eating normally, and is happy. I am now seriously thinking of asking the doctor to do one more de-fanging for me, but I don't know if she would do a human or even if I could get Mark to sit still while she did it.