Parting Glances: And gone tomorrow

By |2006-11-30T09:00:00-05:00November 30th, 2006|Opinions|

“To catch a mouse – humanely or otherwise – takes four AA batteries and a generous dollop of Skippy peanut butter.” So begins my holiday week journal entry …
TUESDAY: Mary Ellen and I drive for an hour to get to Diane’s house for a much-touted fish dinner. (We talk about Detroit’s old dyke bars.) Meal caught by gaggle of intrepid summer fly casters. Nine “old timers” – four gay men, five lesbians – show up, including Diane’s partner of 34 years, retired PE teacher, Shirley, a tad under the weather.
LOGO is on telly. Comic ANT interviews gay cops in out-of-the-way podunkville. Carmen, Diane’s overly yappy chihuahua, tries brazenly to intimidate me. I yap her back into several five-minute submissions. (She’s been trained upon word command – “Show me your puddy” – to sniff her doggy G-SPOT.)
Dorothy, three-years sober, talks over dinner about being caught on camera years ago smoking pot in a parking lot of some conservative, down-South city. Arrested. Threatened to be locked up unless $1,500 fine’s forked over. Mom frantic. Brother-in-law, with stuffed wallet, saves the day.
Joanne I haven’t seen in four decades. She shares her incarceration story over unpaid traffic tickets of $150 (big bucks in the ’60s.) She’s heavier, still sociologically insightful, amusing. Survived two heart attacks. Moved to a one-level house (no stairs to climb), shelving tons of books, slowly. Baked fish dinner: four stars! No bones.
Electronic mouse trap check. Empty. Not a lick of peanut butter to be found. Replace batteries. Hide gadget under sofa, along the wall …
SATURDAY: Invited by P-FLAG poet “Pietro” and painter/wife Sharlet for dinner “in my honor.” “Bring your poetry,” says Pietro. I take art pieces instead. Guests include Irene and Roger. She’s a social worker, therapist, print maker, NOW feminist. He’s a lawyer, specialist in workmen’s compensation. He says little.
Nancy, figurative artist, freethinker, adamant Bush debunker sits to my left. (Having gone without eating all day, I’m famished. Swedish meat balls delicious.) Irene, who worked for a Catholic Social Work agency in the AIDS ’80s – but independent of church doctrine or dogma – talks about early AIDS clients. A time when no one – doctors, epidemiologists, social workers, gay men – knew anything about GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency). Fear. Panic. Terror. Sadness. Devastation.
Sharlet says she wants to do a portrait series of men with tattoos. (Her gay son got tattoos when tattoos were taboo.) Following apple cake/ice cream Pietro reads several poems. Italianate in mood. Sharlet listens intently. Hoping to compliment aesthetically I show my eclectic and whimsical creations. Over coffee I share stories of my own long-gone-forever gay past.
THANKSGIVING: I watch parade horses being coaxed and sugared into vans. One, all sweaty, emits steamy perspiration from all his body parts. Kid holding mom’s hand, in awe of this marvelous creature, asks horse’s name. Sparky he’s told. BTL’s Jan and Susan pick me up sharp at 1:30.
We drive up Woodward and marvel at downtown Detroit. Take Windsor tunnel with no backup delay. Holiday turkey dinner at the Hilton. We sit by the window overlooking Dieppe Park and sunny Detroit shoreline. We gossip. Speculate about gay community’s failure to financially support Judge Rudy Serra. Several trips to ample buffet table. We’re content to be radiantly satiated.
At nearby Windsor Casino I play 50-cent slots. Get lucky after losing $100, win $250 (not having a clue how to play poker hands). Later take in “Casino Royale.” 007 too hot! (Vow never to sit naked on chairs without bottoms.)
Mouse check. Zap! Zap! Here today …

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.