Forever ???

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At the wedding reception on Saturday, family and friends shared stories about Melissa and Stephan, and their many years of being together, prior to their wedding day. And in fact, The date … May 5th, 11 years prior, was the day that Stephan had asked Melissa to be his girlfriend.

Most couples meet at some point in their lives, and date and later marry. Melissa and Stephan met in high school. There is an old Facebook photo from that time period, long ago, of the two, standing in front of a “Just Married” sign. Portents of the future, they say now.

Who knew that back then, that eleven years later, they would meet in a chapel to make it official. There is a history there for sure.

Both sets of parents had introduction stories about the “other.” When they either first met Melissa, in Stephan’s parents case, or when Melissa’s parents first met Stephan. We got to hear what the parents were thinking at that time, and their concern over “longevity of such a young relationship.” Who could tell, if they would make it, or survive the test of time, and still be together.

A few years into Stephan and Melissa’s relationship, Stephan went into free fall. He was not sure that he wanted to be with Melissa forever, since he had NOT had another girlfriend before, and wasn’t really sure if “this was it …” so to speak.

The next day, he broke up with Melissa. He went home that night and told his mother what he had done. And she asked him bluntly … what the hell did you do that for ??

Thankfully, he had been talking all along with Jessica, Melissa’s younger sister, and his closest friends about the breakup. After receiving wise counsel from all, he had decided that Melissa was the girl he wanted to be with for life. He had to devise a plan to “get her back.”

With Jessica’s advice he went out and bought a “Promise Ring.” The very next day, he met with Melissa to give her that ring.

With that promise of love and devotion, Stephan and Melissa began walking the long path of 9 more years to the altar.

Stephan had figured it out. The girl he asked to be his girlfriend ended up being the woman he would marry on Saturday, last.

A moment happened at the reception that I had Stephan to myself. Oddly, during that night, people had the opportunity to speak one on one with bride and groom, individually.

When the moment came for me, I hit my mark. I told Stephan the story about the “wedding vows on the fridge story.”

Yes, you both had eleven years together before the wedding. You hit some hard times, well, things that were hard on lives so young. You built businesses, and then found a home together. Now you are married. And this is where the “Rubber meets the Road.”

They did not recite the traditional wedding vows …

Wedding vows may also take the following form: I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

They instead, opted for the HANDS reading that I wrote about the other night.

So I told Stephan about the vows as they are stated. And that now they were married, what happens when shit really hits the fan? What happens when good goes bad, easy goes hard, wellness turns into sickness. When better gets worse, when richer goes poorer, such and so forth.

I told him about people I knew, who got married, because it was the “thing to do at the time.” They really did not think about Forever very well. And for some of them, when things did go south, as they sometimes did, they did not make it, and for many of those couples, break up and divorce was in the cards for them.

I warned him. Told him to be vigilant. To Be a good Boy Scout and “Always be mindful and prepared” because you never know when shit is going to get real.

Right now, in Hubby’s family, shit is getting real. And the writing is on the wall, and death is a forgone conclusion, for Hubby’s Mom. She is frail, and weakening badly. She is not eating. (Once a sick person or an elderly person decides to stop eating) you know, the end is not far away.

My father in law, over dinner, with all of us sitting around him, related my Mother in Law’s frail condition. At one point he was free, and I implored hubby to go talk to his father, and tell him what he needed to hear from hubby. Which he turned around and spat words in my face to the effect that … “I should butt out of his family life…”

He did go talk to his father in the end. And when he left the reception we both spoke to him, offering them whatever help they could ever need, that we would be ready and willing to do whatever needed to be done, when it was necessary.

We are going to lose a family member, the question is When ???

So we are steeled right now for the inevitable. Many of my nieces and nephews are young, many of them have never experienced death in real-time. Stephan needs to know what to do when this event comes around. And how he is going to support Melissa when the time comes.

Warnings that Wedding vows talk about.

Marriage is not always a bed of roses. Life has a funny way of throwing wrenches into life at the worst possible moments.

One never knows when shit is going to get real.

Hubby strode up behind us while I was talking and rolled his eyes at us, and turned to Stephan and said … “Ignore everything Jeremy has just said, because he likes to talk.”

He was afraid I was putting the Fear Of God into our young married man.

Forever is a long time. And Marriage is Forever.

We only hope that Stephan and Melissa last the test of time, till death they do part.

Wedding Wrap Up Melissa and Stephan

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This morning, the sun rose, and it was glorious. The nightmare of the night before was over. The power came back on, in the middle of the night, after we burned both batteries in our phones, using one for light and mine for i Heart Radio, on CJAD.

By 1 a.m. both batteries were dead, and we went to sleep.

We visited McDonald’s for breakfast before coming back to prepare for the wedding this afternoon. We both cleaned up nicely. The Ancaster Mill is a beautiful vintage wedding location, with chapels, indoors and out. A beautiful waterfall feature that we all took pictures in front of. Everybody live shot the day on all social media platforms. I mainly use Instagram at ( jeremy 1350 ) …

All of our nieces and nephews were very glad we came for the day, including Melissa and her new hubby, Stephan. We even got a special shout out at the reception by Melissa, because there were a number of us there, from far away, like France, England and from all across the country. We did not expect that, it was very cool.

The wedding chapel was beautiful s were the dresses. Melissa’s gown was gorgeous, and the groomsmen were very dapper. We were very pleased to know that our presence was special to those that it mattered to.

All of our nieces and nephew Adrian are so grown up. They’ve all got so adult …

During the ceremony, the bride and groom had a “hands” ceremony. Standing in front of family and friends, the officiant spoke about the two hands being held together, Melissa and Stephan. I grabbed hubby’s ring hand and held it in mine as they recited the hand vows. We both cried … It was a beautiful moment.

We had great conversations and caught up with family we have not seen, since the last family reunion we had in Ottawa many, many years ago. We all pledged to each other that we would take time in the future to visit people and places.

The venue was fantastic. The food was outstanding. The menu was varied for every taste, our young crowd is very “food conscious” we all ate very well. We ate more tonight than we usually do on any given day.

It was good to be seen, and very important to be seen as well. We may have been the only gay couple in the room, some of hubby’s family came to our wedding 14 years ago, and longevity is the key, in marriage.

But more important is … To Be Happily Married !!!

Some people, are not happy at all.

But all that matters is that the younger adults were happy to see us.

A good day was had by all.

Tomorrow is a long day of train travel back home for everybody.

My father in law cam solo, as my mother in law is recovering from spinal surgery, and is not doing well at all. They are both growing too old to remain in the homestead much longer and he mentioned selling the homestead. Hopefully sooner than later, before something catastrophic happens to one or the other.

We pledged, each in our own ways, hubby and I to do whatever we could to help out, whenever or where ever.

More to come, stay tuned…

Tuesday: Books, Books and More

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During my trip to Ottawa last weekend, I finished reading James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, Truth, Lies and Leadership. The book is a fascinating look at Comey’s life, where he came from, how he got here, and his professional career in Justice.

I was reminded by my best friend that when someone writes a book about themselves, they usually write it, so that they look GOOD. James Comey, admits his faults, and his character defects from the get go. He is aware of his own shortcomings, and within the book, as he writes, keeps those issues front of mind, in his telling of stories.

James Comey is a man of truth, character, and dignity. He believes in the rule of law, and the need for specific distance from certain entities in the Government Cabal.

The President is NOT an honest man. He IS a Character … Right out of mafia speak. And President Trump has no dignity, and does not care about anyone else but his own bottom line.

I highly suggest that you READ JAMES COMEY …

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A few days ago, Ronan Farrow was on Rachel Maddow’s show and they were talking about his latest book out. War on Peace; The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence.

Ronan Farrow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Harvey Weinstein debacle. A Pulitzer Prize is a BIG AWARD. I plan my reading library around the esteemed Pulitzer Prize winners, every season.

I’ve just begun this read, this week. The writing, so far, is stellar.

This week will be very busy. Meetings are moving around the city, and others are closed for church Bazaars on the weekend, So this is a rare week off …

We have been shopping like mad women for suits, shoes, ties and pocket squares for our niece Melissa’s wedding this coming weekend. We are leaving on Via Rail on Friday Morning, from Montreal to Toronto, and the Go Train to Hamilton.

We will return on Sunday night.

New clothes have been arriving sporadically. My Odyn gear from New Zealand is on its way, and another piece I ordered from Sydney Australia will go out tomorrow. The good thing about buying in Australia is that the exchange between Canada and Australia is almost dollar for dollar. An even trade. So I am not paying exorbitant exchange rates.

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The third book I am working through is American Kingpin. The Epic Hunt for the Criminal mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton. Needless to say, I will have enough reading material for this epic train ride this weekend.

More to come.

Stay tuned…

Essay: Knowledge

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A long time ago, in a galaxy, far far away, I went back to school at age 34. Growing up, my parents told me that they would never pay for my college education. However, when I graduated high school, Junior Achievement gave me a scholarship to the local community college in Miami where I grew up.

There was a trade-off for the gesture though. One that I did not pay back accordingly. Telemarketing is an evil business, and one I highly recommend you avoid at all costs.

But I digress …

That first year was not all of a washout. I did pretty well. Took a psychology course that rocked my socks off, taught by a female professor who rocked my world.

I could never get the hang of writing term papers. All those steps, and papers, and note cards, and bibliographies … ugh !!!

Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go …

After that, in my second year of studies, I landed in a Catholic Seminary. The church paid for that, even though I was asked to leave after only a year, because I was not part of the men abusing boys club. That was a dirty little secret.

After that, alcoholism took its toll on me. That ride into hell began swiftly, and ended in a grand crash and burn at age 26.

Today, I walk on hallowed ground, that has not been trodden by men, such as myself, at the age we are in, living with a fatal disease, “now manageable” that was supposed to kill us ages ago.

But like a fine wine, we will not be uncorked until the right time.

From my parents, I learned a great many things. Early on, I learned how to be responsible for a house, by gaining the key to the front door, at an age, in today’s world, kids that young need constant supervision. Back then, we were free range kids.

It was such a simple time, the 1970’s and 1980’s.

We did not fear the world, and the people in it, like we do today. Freedom was something we did not take for granted, but appreciated. Neighbors, were neighbors. Kids in our neighborhood would travel in packs from one house to another, day in and day out.

We were not saddled with smart phones, or a PHONE for that matter. We were not attached by umbilical to a computer day in and day out, like we are today.

Taking care of a house, and being responsible for my brother, was a big deal, however my brother never paid me any attention. And memories of him are negligible. He does not seem to want to know me today, because he lives in his resentments like both my parents do. My father went to his grave resenting me, and my mother would rather eat dirt than acknowledge me in any way, shape or form.

I learned how to work, well, early on. I had some of the best jobs in my life, throughout my life, in certain stages. My first job was in a grocery store, bagging groceries, and cleaning and stocking. I scooped ice cream for a season. Another great job, was a short order cook in a chicken shack, (2 actually).

Skip ahead a few years, and many alcoholic drinks later, and I land the most important job I will ever have in my life. Working for Todd, (read: God). Hands down, the best of times and the worst of times, were spent cleaning garbage, plunging shitty toilets, filling ice buckets and stocking beer, bar tending, and the best job, Working in a DJ Booth.

I learned practical life lessons, that I still draw on to this very day, from Todd (read:God). What I failed to learn from the Big Book, that first round, was that I needed practical life knowledge that would help me survive. Sobriety was important. If I had died prematurely, what would have been the need to learn anything. I could have just decided to kill myself slowly with drugs and alcohol, like all my other friends did.

Todd (read:God) had other ideas for me.

When I started this blog 14 years ago, its main goal was to catalogue all of my memories, while I could still access them, before they were forgotten. What I have learned about life is PAGED –> over there.

When Todd, departed my life, and his solid voice of counsel was gone, his steady hand, and voice, and physical presence in my life, was gone, I thought I was going to die. I had no idea how to make it alone in the world, at age 29, circa 1996.

I did fail miserably.

Years later, in 2001, I got back on the horse and began riding for my life. It took me a while to begin to work my way out of my hole of insanity. Opportunities opened to me and I took each one of them as they came.

Providence was in my favor. I set myself right with God, and He moved heaven and earth for me, that I am solidly sure of today.

God is the fine thread that is woven throughout my life. The year I spent in seminary, I devoted my life to God, and I promised to serve Him and Him alone, for the rest of my life. Interestingly enough, it took me a long time to figure out HOW I was going to do that, after being dismissed from the church proper.

Troy took me to my Second, First meeting. I stayed for a second Second meeting an hour later, and met the folks who would carry me back into life, as it happened. Some of those initial friends, are still friends to me today. Albeit, from farther away.

A year into Sobriety, my rehab counselor Margo, asked me what I wanted to do with my life, now that I had achieved a year sober. I had to think about it, at first. The answer I came up with was I want to go back to school.

What did I know then ? I had my lessons. I had some solid, terrifying life experience to bank on. I had survived, 9 years, I was still alive… 2003 was a good year.

On February 13th 2003, I became a Canadian Citizen. In September of that same year, I began my university career. At age 34. A long time ago, I promised God that I would serve Him and Him alone. Religion and Theology was given.

However, I began my university career in Psychology. That was short-lived.

From the very start, when I began to write about myself, there were many detractors, who used to batter me with vile shit. Saying things like, “A gay cannot be a Christian, and why would a gay study religion and theology, when gay is incongruous with scripture?”

Some say they know God.
Some say they know their Bibles.
Some say that they speak for one, and believe in the other.
Then there are those who know neither.

What I did not know then, I know now. I may not have known, all that I needed to know, and I used to get in the mosh pit with the vipers at first, (Not very sober, mind you) until I stopped being taken for cheap.

I boded my time, and I studied hard and well. And over a ten-year period, I finally collected two very important pieces of parchment.

University bachelors Degrees in Religious Studies, and a Certificate in Pastoral Ministry.

All the while, getting sober at the same time, and caring for my husband, because he is mentally challenged, and was very ill for a very long time.

For years, I was chief cook and bottle washer.

I know a great many things about a number of topics. I may not know everything there is to know about certain subjects, I have my truths.

I know how hard mental illness is on the human who is ill. And I know what mental illness does to significant others, and families by extension. I learned this all the hard way, one day at a time. 15 years later, we both survived it.

In sobriety, I thought to continue into the Masters of Theology.

What I did not know, was a harsh lesson.

All the men and women I studied with over the last ten years, followed that track into the Masters Program. However, I was an outside, one, because of my age, two, I was getting sober, three, I was married, and four, it wasn’t all about ME.

On the very first day of Master’s Classes, I walked into that first classroom, with my fellows, and it was obvious to me, something was WAY OFF.

My friends had outgrown their pants. Their heads we double their original size. They had coupled and tripled up together, congratulating themselves on conquering the world and holding it by the balls.

It was obvious that I did not get the memo that went around telling me that over that last summer I should have stoked my EGO and carried it into class.

I did my best. But I knew very soon, that I could not produce Masters Quality work, in the academic sense, to the degree I needed to produce. I got to a point, in my studies that I could not compete, nor was academically astute to continue any further.

And as fast as the Theology department had swung the door open for me, they swung it shut so fast, it took my breath away. They did not even blink an eye.

I went from hero to zero in minutes flat.

I still write, as often as the mood hits me. I, like some of my friends, I have made over the years, have a career. It may not pay the big bucks, but it suffices.

How do you parlay degrees in Religion and Theology, into a career in Sobriety ?

One day at a Time.

The Preachers Circle I belong to, still exists. My mentors Elder Christensen and Pastor Randall, and Father Donald are true and solid men in my life.

I read like a mad man. When I got sober this time around, part of my daily routine, at the end of the day, is a little prayer and meditation. Then I crawl into bed with a good book.

To my credit, I have at least a couple hundred books on shelves in my bedroom, in my library. They come from Indigo, and begin life on my bedside table. When I finish each book, they go on the “READ PILE.”

Knowledge … I may not know everything there is to know about MANY things. Gladly, I can say, that I know a few things, about my area of expertise. I read, to learn about subjects that interest me.

I know better than to state categorically, that I have certain knowledge. because that would invite pitchforks and fire.

I was talking to a friend the other night. He had just returned to Canada from a world-wide trip over seven months. Going from Canada, to India, to Nepal and then ending in Israel.

Israel and Palestine is a topic fraught with complications. To pick a side, is dicey. To say you agree with one and not the other, you take your life into your own hands. I don’t know everything about that area of the world, but I do have an opinion, based on solid reading, written by solid trusted sources, ON THE GROUND.

My degrees in Religion and Theology come in handy when broaching the subject of lands steeped in Religion and Faith.

A long time ago, when people would say vile things to me about what I was studying or denigrating my abilities of what I know, I caved under that kind of scrutiny.

I cave No Longer.

When I turned 40 … That little door in my brain opened. And little by slowly, I realized that “I knew things for Sure.” I had forty years of hard-earned and fought experience behind me, that I have a story nobody can take from me. And experience that would curl your toes if I discussed the nitty-gritty of the scourge of AIDS, and what I experienced on the ground, as I lived it.

My forty decade was a watershed for me. It changed the way I see the world around me.

I survived 25 years. And I have that story in my arsenal of knowledge.

Now in my fifty decade, I am still waiting to see what is going to come next, because I am in uncharted territory, medically, spiritually and physically. This is the task a hand, to make the most of every day, every moment.

Life is all about what you know, how you learned it, and how you apply all the knowledge you have inside you, to better the world around you and the people you call your friends, and the family you have.

My biological family wants nothing to do with me, even though I have worked terribly hard at reconciliation over the years, to no avail. My father went to his grave hating me, never giving me that chance to amend that relationship, and my mother is on that same hateful and spiteful road herself. My brother is also on that hateful road too.

Fuck me for trying.

I heard last night that mining the past for the missing key to life, is pointless, because the answers are NOT in the PAST, but reside in the present.

However, I have spent the past fifty odd year data mining the past, divining all the secrets and lessons I could remember and write down, hoping to find the key to who I am and why I am here, and what it all means.

Some of my friends find this kind of task too daunting. This was the choice I made in my sobriety, to learn the stories that needed to be learned, to mine the past for nuggets of truth, and synthesizing all that information and incorporating all that knowledge into the bank for my own personal use.

I’ve spent a lifetime, bettering my life. Life is hard work and not for the faint of heart.

Once you get told that Jeremy you are very sick and you are going to die a miserable death, so go home and kiss your ass goodbye … I did that for a short while, and tried to kill myself in the drink.

THANK GOD that TODD (read: GOD) stepped in.

Because I live to tell that story as often as I have to, to make sure you know that there is life to be lived, as long as you believe you are worthy of all good things.

There IS a GOD and I am not HE.

Knowledge is Power. Use it wisely.

Monday: The Infinite Ocean

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It was a very wild weekend here. Knowing that Daylight Savings was going to begin on Sunday, did not dissuade me from living my life as I always had, before.

Going to bed early, just for the sake of going to bed early, seems to be, beyond my capabilities. I just have to crank out a couple more hours out of my twenty-four, THEN go to bed, WHERE I grab a book and I read for ANOTHER hour, before shutting off the light for the night.

Sometimes, we just need to GO TO BED ALREADY !!!

Saturday night, I was burning the AFTER-Midnight oil. Knowing that I HAD to be up at SEVEN in the AM, to be at the Hospital, at Vendome by EIGHT in the AM.

I stayed up to fart around as usual, so it wasn’t until around 2 that I finally went to bed. I set my phone for SEVEN, and sure as shit, SEVEN did come around, sooner than I would have liked. But who am I to listen to conventional wisdom ?

I got dressed, and headed through the tunnel to the Orange line, which is a straight shot to Vendome, three stations up the line. I took the tunnel, the new access for everyone, including the Handicapped patients who visit the new MUHC Hospital.

Let me tell you how much grief was wrought because they built that entire hospital project, but did not have the foresight to build an accessible tunnel FROM the Metro station to the Hospital, in one fell swing …

That would have been too esasy!!!

They did not plan accordingly. And after much wringing of hands and complaints lodged to the city, the city caved and spent extra millions of dollars to tunnel from the station to the hospital, AFTER the FACT.

I get to the hospital around 7:30 and get lost trying to find my way into the hospital, because getting in, is half the fun.

On a Sunday Morning no less.

The only people AT the hospital at 7:30 in the morning are those working INSIDE, and Security. The halls are all devoid of life. I want to get outside for smoke before hand, because you CANNOT smoke on Hospital property.

I quietly Exit the building, wherein I get locked out of said hospital, and after trying three separate entrances with locked doors, and only a security button and a speaker to talk to, I find my way back into said hospital, trudging through MUD and SNOW on the far side of the building, having to find my way BACK to where I really needed to be for my appointment.

I get to the department, and the lights are off. The desk is devoid of life, thankfully, I see a young man exiting the same location and ask him where I can find a sign of life, and he says to me… “OH, they will come and get you … just have a seat and wait…”

Ten Minutes later a nurse comes to fetch me and the CT Scan takes all of five minutes.

I just spent the better part of an hour navigating the damned building for the climax of a FIVE minute CT Scan of my back…

Thank you for making your appointment this morning, have a nice day.

I took the Metro back to Atwater to drop off some scripts that needed to be refilled, that I would pick up later. I walk back home and gather my granny cart, and walk BACK to the mall to do my grocery shopping for the next few days …

BECAUSE ??? You might ask ??? There is SNOW in the forecast for the next three days.

I don’t want to be stuck without ample supplies and have to go out in a snow storm to grocery shop trying to pull a wretched granny cart through the snow.

Been there, Done that already.

I get home from my shopping trip and crawl back into bed. I sleep for the entire day and into the night. I had turned my phone off and was comatose for hours. I got up for dinner and some tv. By 11 p.m. I had such a head ache that my head was spinning and I was nauseous.

I took some Naproxen and crawled back into bed. I felt so sick. Not sure where that came from but, that was a thing.

I slept through until my haircut appointment this afternoon.

I have a HIGH and TIGHT haircut, that we tweaked just a bit. My friends, this evening seemed to like it. Because several people commented, which was unusual.

We read from the Big Book, and the topic of Resentments.

You’d never know how many of us drunks, YOUNG and OLD, have serious DADDY ISSUES. Everybody shared on the topic. And as usual, our trusty time-keeper kept us all to a three-minute time limit on sharing.

Which at the end of tonight’s meeting, spoke to him about.

Another of our kids went back out. She was hanging on the periphery of the room when I spoke to her before the meeting. I gave her some sage advice, and asked her to sit among everyone, and not on the back wall, as some do, to stay out of the fray, for all intents and purposes.

She did not make it through the entire meeting. I think the topic was a bit rough for her, so she bolted before the meeting even ended.

A friend of mine, lost his mother recently. We are kin to the same problem. Parents with memories and resentment lists like ELEPHANTS.

They NEVER Forget …

As sober people, what is done is done. Carrying around resentments is like carrying rocks around our necks, in sacks only we can fill, OR empty, whenever we choose.

My friend realized, long ago, what game she had been playing. And he chose to take the high road, and access the infinite ocean of power we have within our reach, when we get sober. Taking that high road, was not always the easy road. But he walked it.

He made peace with his parents and escorted his mother to her death, valiantly. Because he embraced love and compassion, and the infinite ocean of love around him, and he carried that love back to his family, doing good, small things, OFTEN.

I don’t have that luxury of doing Good, Small Things, Often.

One, because my brother hates me as hard as my parents hate me. And Two, I cannot even get him to acknowledge my humanity as a human being, let alone, answer any of my texts to him, beyond his …

I GOT YOUR TEXTS AND I DID NOT READ THEM. STOP TEXTING ME ALREADY BECAUSE I AM NOT INTERESTED IN KNOWING YOU.

So fuck me for trying.

My friend talked to me for a bit after the meeting and when I got home, I caved to pressure of compassion and emotion, and I texted my brother AGAIN.

I give him three days before he tells me to fuck off again…

I have not spoken to my mother, not that she wants to even talk to me, but I wished to express my condolences to her, but if I cannot raise my brother, as he is her gatekeeper now, and he isn’t speaking to me, I will never get to my mother.

So she will go to her grave even more angry and bitter than my father was.

Sometimes sobriety and the truth sucks, because there is not a snowball’s chance in hell, that I will get anyone to recognize that I am ALSO a human being, with feelings of my own.

I might have made the bed I am sleeping in right now, by choices that I made twenty odd years ago, but they were direct results of my family telling me to fuck off and DIE ALREADY when I was very sick and closer to death than I am today.

It isn’t ALL my fault for the state of family affairs today.

I would love to believe I have access to my friends INFINITE OCEAN of possibilities, but that just AIN’T the case with my family. For my family, you can NEVER go HOME.

Tomorrow I have a Two O’clock appointment with the smile specialists. I HATE, with all my soul, the dentist. But I need serious help, and it’s gonna cost serious money, that we know we don’t have, to complete the job successfully.

I am praying for small mercies and maybe a little miracle of financial ability of the part of an institution to be able to finance what I need IN HOUSE, and not using an outside firm where I am going to pay interest for years, before I can even think of paying off a job that is probably going to cost THOUSANDS of DOLLARS, start to finish.

UGH !!!

It’s time to go to bed already.

More to come. Stay tuned …

Call Me By Your Name …

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I bought the book. It is sitting on my bedside table. I’m part way into the story. And I broke my own rule about first reading the book, before seeing the film.

There are films, that I have seen, from this particular genre, over the years. Each one of them evoke particular emotions and feelings. As I began reading the book, the other night, one particular emotions was drawn to the surface.

It has happened in my life, that feeling of crossing the divide into love, for the very first time. Happenstance, if you will. Once, when I was nineteen. And on another occasion, when I was just a bit older.

It was the Summer of my 19th year. My mother was in a resentful battle with her sister, miles away. My mother, ever the bitter bitch, forbade me contact. I ignored her.

Her battles were not my battles. And her resentments were not my resentments. Just to be clear, I never carried forwards the hatred that my parents carry to their graves.

But I digress …

I flew home to Connecticut for a few days. One night there was a party. Drinking ensued.

Yukkafutz …

Yukkafutz, is a 2 gallon mason jar, with a cup of sugar at the bottom, all kinds of fresh fruit, and on top of that, ice. Followed by 2 gallons of Vodka.

The top is sealed, and the jar is covered with a towel. Everybody in the drinking circle takes turns shaking the bottle, as the ice melts, the sugar melts and the vodka infuses the fruit, in the jar, the jar eventually ices over …

Everybody has a straw.

The jar goes around and around until the vodka is gone. Another cup of sugar is added, more fruit, and more ice, and another 2 gallons of vodka follows.

By the end of the second round, everyone is pretty plastered.

There was a particular man, at this dinner party. Blond hair, tanned physique, I did not know if he was gay or not. All I knew was that, he was not going to drive home drunk, and that eventually he would end up in my bed that very night.

Hell, I wasn’t sure if I was gay either. I’d never acted on my sexual orientation up until then, not even with a woman. I mean I’ve kissed a girl, but that is as far as my womanly education went.

We drank, and hooted and hollered. As the night wore on, I moved closer and closer to where he was sitting, until I was practically, sitting on top of him. With teenage lust in my heart.

I took his keys from his pocket, and I hid them where neither of us would find them until we at least sobered up, by the next morning.

As darkness fell, people who were staying, went to bed. Others left, quietly, by car. Alas, my man friend, was not going anywhere.

As the house grew quiet, I pulled the sofa bed out, and my friend took the sofa, off to the other side of the room. Not knowing quite sure what to do, I followed the guidebooks, that my father had left for me to read.

I will never forget that night, as long as I live.

We saw each other over the next few days before I had to return to Florida.

Our parting was as bitter-sweet as Oliver and Elio.

I kept that secret for more than two years. Nobody knew that I had slept with him that night, under my aunt’s roof.

That was, hands down, the boldest thing I had ever done in my life up to that point.

Gay men, of my ilk, of my day and age, had a particular philosophy. One, that it only takes three drinks to turn a straight man gay, and Two, some believed, that a coupled man, was more of a hunt, than a single man.

Meaning … The hunt was much better, if you could bed someone, who was already dating, or involved with someone else in particular, if you did bed that man, you win the grand prize.

On top of my medicine cabinet, to this very day, sits a bottle of OBSESSION, by Calvin Klein. A memory of an act I perpetrated, long ago.

I had two room mates, older than me, in that year. We had three friends, who worked at the Tragic Queendom. Charlie, Dustin, and David. Charlie and I were riding the hobby-horse, until he left from his contract season. Dustin was gay. David, on the other hand was straight.

David was terribly attracted to the scent of Obsession.

Every time he came to our apartment, I would douse the bathroom and my pillows and sheets with Obsession. My devious plot, was to bring David, over to the dark side.

After a night of drinking, and a little concentration of Obsession, I put my plan into action. That was the one and only conquest I ever attempted, in my life.

David swung…

Let’s just say I was in heaven for about a week. Floating above the clouds, because David was particularly good-looking and sweet.

My bedroom was in the back of the apartment. One of my room mates had the Master Bedroom, just inside the front door, of the apartment. My third room-mate had the middle bedroom off to one side.

One afternoon, I came home from work early, and walked into the apartment. As I walked in, I noticed that my room-mate was entangled in his sheets with someone.

That someone happened to be David …

Unbeknownst to me, my room mate decided that he was going to bed David too, behind my back. Color me surprised !!!

That was a particularly bad scene, to say the least. I had to continue to live under that roof, until I found someplace better. I never spoke to David again.

Gay men, of my day and age, had no scruples. They would stab you in the back, in the blink of an eye, if they felt they could get one over on you.

That would not have been the first time, in that particular time period that I got burned badly, by another gay man. Because it happened more than once.

I was a stupid naive gay boy back then.

I wasn’t the backstabbing kind of boy, and I am not that kind of man today.

Call me by your name, and I will call you by my name …

Elio, Oliver, Elio, Oliver …

Thursday: Life is Good

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It has been a few days since my last update. It has been a busy time for everybody all around. We have a family wedding in May, it will be the first time, in many years that the entire family will be in the same location at the same time, to celebrate my niece Melissa and her husband to be, Stephan’s wedding.

We have watched our nieces and nephews grow up into fine young adults. And we spoil them whenever we get the chance. Holidays are always a big deal for our family. We will be traveling to Southern Ontario (on the train) a first for us.

In July, one of my guys, Juan is going to marry his fiancée Nadia, in a very intimate setting here in Montreal. We’ve been working very hard at keeping them “on the beam” so to speak. Juggling school, work, wedding preparations and life, is a tall order. But, like they say, “we have a program for that!”

The weather has been UNUSUALLY warm, as of late. We’ve had a long stretch of temps ranging from the lower plus side to the high negative side. Much of the snow that had fallen over the season is melting nicely, and thankfully, the sidewalks are clean of snow and ice. Which is very good news to the city population, because many older folks have suffered greatly, falling and breaking bones this season, because of the foul weather. Many of them have sued the city for damages, that is not a good thing. But necessary.

The great weatherman in the sky tells us, not to count our chickens just yet, and we are told that Winter will continue until Summer. With a clear SKIP of Spring. We are told that more drastic snow will fall, between now and May 1st.

God help us if the weather goes really South …

We will gladly take the weather we have had for the past week over more winter, and if it stays this good for the duration, all the better.

It is good that we have good plans on the horizon. This will be a first, seeing a good friend and his soon to be bride getting married. The whole focus on getting and staying sober, is to finally reap the rewards of hard work, done well.

Our young people are all doing well. Everybody is still sober, from our holiday extravaganza weekends. It is a hard slog for some, but they keep showing up, and they are talking. Which is a good sign. Many of us, have committed to being present, as often as we are able.

I am soon to start a new pass through the Big Book, with a young lady friend of my acquaintance, from the Monday meeting. I listen very carefully to what our young people say in meetings. And over the past year, have been blessed to witness one of our young woman, stand up and be counted among us.

Our Monday meeting has been talking hard topics and the discussion has been very fruitful to the extent that I am learning a great deal about sobriety, that I had never heard before, coming from the mouths of babes. Monday night, I asked my friend if she would be able to share her teaching of The Book with me. From what I am hearing from many of my friends and fellows, men and women, I’ve found that i still have a lot to learn. It may be unconventional, but any chance to walk through the book with new, fresh and younger eyes, is useful.

I’ve stuck close to my core meetings, Monday, Thursday and Friday. And I’ve placed my trust in all of my best of friends. One f them reached his Year Mark a couple of weeks ago, after a tragic crash and burn. Drugs and Alcohol will do that to you. With family, friends, and fellows present, we shared in a very special Year Celebration.

I have kept the same routine going for a long time. That being service. I heard a young man say tonight, that the first thing that he felt good about, when he got sober, and finally got connected, was doing service.

When folks in a meeting,ask you to Come Back, and to Stick and Stay, and put trust in you to do a job for any particular meeting, that is pretty special, but lost on many. But our young man tonight said that he took particular joy in knowing that people were drinking HIS COFFEE, and sitting in HIS CHAIRS.

It begins very simply.

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE ARRIVED, WHEN A CERTAIN MEMBER WALKS IN THE DOOR AND COMMENTS ON EITHER THE GOODNESS OR BADNESS OF ONES URN OF COFFEE …

It is high praise when someone says, “Hey, you make a mean pot of coffee!”

I know, the first job I ever had when I came in was setting up chairs and tables, for months and months, until the good ladies of my initial home group, trusted me enough to make my first urn of coffee.

Sixteen years later, I can make a mean Urn of Coffee with my eyes closed.

The next spiritual experience he spoke about was the first time someone asked him to share at a meeting. Someone, in asking him that, had wisdom that HE actually had something good to share, with a room full of drunks and addicts.

We all sit in rooms together, with assorted days, weeks, months, and years of sobriety. But is oddly the case, not too many people will ask for help, until they are down and out suffering. Even then, it is like pulling teeth, to get people to want to work with us.

It is hard work, going to meetings, and learning how to stay sober, because someone stepped up and took us on, when we came in and trusted us, with what they had to teach us about The Book and Sobriety. And the greatest gift we can offer, is our time, talent and treasure, when it comes to sobriety.

One of our men spoke a couple of weeks ago and told me that I should ask for numbers of new folks coming in, INSTEAD of giving them My number first. Flip the equation, he told me. Go out and get numbers.

Caveat here … We actually have to commit to calling those numbers if they come to us.

I guess I am in a place where, I am seeking something new to learn. And in hanging around with young people in sobriety, I am finding that I can still learn something new, that I am not the center of the universe, not that I think that …

The holidays were a great reckoning for many. Through hard work and perseverance we all came through the other end, mostly unscathed. And far better for the challenge the holidays presented many.

Sit in a room for a few seasons. And commit to being present for the long haul. Read: Commit to a room for a Long Period of Time, and you too will see how your friends a fellows grow up and get and stay sober.

I’ve been at this a long time, and teach-ability is not lost on me.

Everybody is well. It is March. The snow is melting.

It might not be Spring yet, but it sure feels like it.

Save for the first appearance of our Red Breasted Robin at the Friday Meeting church yard. I always see her. She has not appeared just yet, because there is still snow on the ground and in the trees at St. Viateur Church.

Stay tuned …