My dinner party was a great success. Because I didn’t have a small onion, I had more than enough for hot dog garnishing, so I made some beet salad (diced beets, diced kosher dill pickles, diced onion and mayonnaise). I knew my BFF wouldn’t want any because of the mayo (she’s allergic to eggs), but my friend JT is a man after my own heart and loves onion. We had beer for starters, then we ate, with raspberry iced tea for beverage, hot dogs with chili, chopped onion, and cheese for garnish, and baked beans. Then for dessert, I wanted something light so we had — and it’s a whole lot tastier than it sounds — tangerine-carrot frozen bars. Then, because JT is an avid fan of John Barrowman and had not seen it, we watched the two-part Dr. Who episode which first introduces the character of Captain Jack Harkness.
JT and I have been friends since our salad days. When we first met some 30-odd years ago, I had my suspicions that JO, his “room mate” was a bit more than that, but at that time in this Bible Belted, Texas town, two men living together had better be in a strictly economic, “bro” relationship. At that time, he had recently changed jobs from working in the accounting department of what was then Southwestern Bell Telephone, to working as a clerk/bookkeeper for this little “alternative/new age” shop about 3 blocks down from the University, a job he held up until a couple of years ago, and one he credits with “saving my life.” I was working for a heavy equipment (graders, bulldozers, etc.) sales and service place (the job was as short-lived as the company), and had been listening to the radio to break the tedium of the job. I won a $50 gift certificate to the shop in a contest held by the radio station by identifying that shop’s commercial as the last commercial played. It had stuck in my mind because the lady (an employee) who had made the commercial spoke so slowly that she sounded like she was on Quaaludes. When I went to redeem my gift certificate, I discovered that it was a really cool shop, actually. The lady who owned it was a highly educated, world traveler whose late husband had been involved in city government. In her shop she sold, among many other things, books about Buddhism and Hinduism, and had Buddhist and Hindu “paraphernalia.” They also sold incense, “new age” music, and other “alternative” items. I’m an “alternative” kind of gal, myself, and a great deal more open minded than this town is. (I still vividly remember the appalling tragedy of what happened to my high school choir teacher in the early 1970’s. He was a really talented and gifted man, who took our formerly lackluster varsity choir to first place medals at state competition the first two years he taught at our high school, whose life, never mind his career, was totally trashed when our local police “busted” him for “immoral solicitation,” i.e., being gay. Did I mention I live in the Bible Belt?)
In 2012, JT and JO went to Iowa, where JO’s family lives, to attend a memorial service for one of JO’s family members and, since Iowa allowed same-sex marriage, JO suggested that while they were there, they should get married. Since JO’s family were all gathered for the memorial service, they were able to be present at the wedding ceremony. From Iowa, JT and JO flew down to Dallas to visit friends. The friends were taking them out to eat, JT and JO were riding in the back seat of the car and, en route, JO had the worst kind of heart attack, the kind they call “the widowmaker.” JT said, “He made this odd sighing sound, his head fell back, and then he was gone. Just like that.” Though they rushed him to the hospital, the doctors were unable to resuscitate him. JT and JO had been together for 33 years, and had been married for four days. Even two years later, JT still tears up when he talks about losing the love of his life.
One of the things that has helped JT with the grieving process was “rescuing” a cat whose owner had passed away. She had been a long-time family friend who unfortunately developed Alzheimer’s disease. However, her situation was such that her family was able to provide in-home care for her for the remaining 7-8 years of her life, and the cat stayed with her, following her around and “watching over her” through her final illness. JT has always loved cats, but JO was severely allergic to both cats and dogs, and they could never have a pet in their home. (JT kitty-sat for me on several occasions.) Now JT and this 16-year-old elder statesman of a tuxedo cat are working through their grief together.
In other news, putting the Styrofoam insulation board over the bedroom window was a total success. Putting the weatherstripping on the board before putting it up was the key thing. No light comes in through that window anymore. Yes!
The white one seems to have recovered from his forepaw injury, although he still favors that paw now and again.
As of now, post party, with a clean house left over from the party, and done with daddysitting until Wednesday, we are a peaceable kingdom.