I usually spend New Year's Eve alone. Just for old time's sake.
Yes, hard to admit – popular raconteur and egad-about Spell Checker that I am – I sit in my art studio with a party hat on my neatly shaved head, a stopwatch in my well-manicured hand, and a bag of confetti at the ready. And count.
My TV's channeled into Times Square. I await the Big Apple Ball to drop – how many previous balls have I been privy to? – and all by myself, slightly off key, nonetheless sincere, I sing Auld Lang Syne…
Another year older. Not much wiser. (Listen up, Mary: You're in lotsa company – from the White House on down.) I had hoped that Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin would pay me a Halloween cameo appearance with a winning lottery ticket. No such luck.
I'm hoping against hope that 2009 will be filled with welcomed surprises. Yes, instead of the Great Pumpkin Patcher beaming for all he's worth, Old Blue-eyed Jesus will come again and Rapture his tiresome tambouriners heavenward. No AFA. No Lou Dobson. No Pat Robertson. No Sarah Palin. No Rick Warren. (Again, no such luck.)
As might be expected of a gay man now in the third or fourth prime of life – one generation away from second childhood – I'm given to reminiscing about the many persons who have come (for some reason mostly male) and gone in my life.
Thanks, guys. Wherever you are. Here or in St. Judy's Eternal City of Oz. I'll say this: Our times were really different, our challenges downright, depressingly, seemingly insurmountable, our allies few, but we had fun. (At least I think we did!) We kept on course. We had each other (non-sexually speaking in this grammatically correct context) for support, sharing, solidarity. We somehow managed…
I started this PG saying I usually do New Year's Eve solo. This go-around's different. Sr. Serena Scatterpin, Renegade Sisters of Mary, took me and jingle-jolly Father Manly Everhope out for dinner and ecumenical line dancing at several clubs, including – the ever-popular Recovering Catholic hangout – Das Eagle.
Sister was in an up-tempo mood – virginally vivacious as ever – unabashedly available for the right person or a sizable donation to her favorite charity. Suspiciously, her trademark DKNY wash-and-wear wimple was not part of her evening's rather arresting attire.
She was instead a spiritual vision in head-to-toe D&G (Dolce & Gospel) lambskin leather wear – slacks, cumber bun, jacket, pumps, beret, Vatican ll blessed scapular broach, Lourdes of London earrings.
Father Everhope went drag. (He wore his church vestments, but why quibble?) He looked beatific, although he had to produce three pieces of ID at Das Eagle. I wore an oil paint-smeared smock and carried an artist's pallet, brushes and ruler. (I had no idea we were going Douay Version leather. But the ruler proved a godsend.)
"I've never seen you in such a kick-sass, outgoing mood, Sister Serena," said I, as we shivered in line to hustle in before midnight. "Are you and Father Manly, er, practicing a near occasion of sin? Or, is he still hanging ten with the boys?"
"Listen, Louella! Father likes to stay young at heart. That's hardly a venial sin in my book. But thankfully he did my charity, Recovering Catholics With Class, a saving grace. Father's related to a fourth cousin removed to Bernard Madoff. A Ms. Blanche DuBois-Ponzi. I was about to invest $5K, sight unseen with Mr. Cash-bag Chutzpah. Blanche said, 'Tell Sis to keep the 5K in her peek-a-boo bra.' Thankfully, I did.
"By the way, I'm crashing at your crib. Pax vobiscum, no peek-a-boo tonight, Sweetie!"