I first posted this back in Ott-Eight, a few days after I started this here blog thing, and have edited it, as need be, and reposted it every year, to remind me of where I was then, what I thought then, and what I wanted out of life.
And every year as I repost it, I realize that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Now, not to brag, but I've been told that I am an extremely polite person. I was raised on Please and Thank You, Yes Ma'am, No Sir, and I still act that way today.
True story: I was selected for jury duty when we lived in Miami and when it was my turned to be questioned I stood up in the very narrow aisle and I put my hands behind my back. As the judge and lawyers questioned me, I replied Yes sir and No Sir.
The judge stopped for a second and smiled. "Are you in the military?" he asked.
"No, sir" I said. "I was raised by a military man and a Southern woman."
True story: A few years before that, while living in California, I was in a grocery store buying a birthday cake for a co-worker. I asked if I may please order a cake. May I please have a name iced onto it? I pleased and thank you'd my way through the ordering process and finally the girl left to go in back and finish my order. Just before disappearing, she turned and said to me, "I think you are the most polite person I've ever waited on."
I smiled and said, "Could you just shut up, please, and ice my damn cake!"
When all else fails slip into sarcasm. That's my motto. But I digress.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, probably because there are no gifts involved, except for the gift of time; time spent with loved ones and friends; the gift of thanks. This is a day of thanks for Americans; a truly American holiday, like 4th of July, but one we celebrate not with picnics and beer, firecrackers and sparklers, but with a meal we share with loved ones, friends and family.
I have so much to be thankful for this year.
Yes, the usual family and friends and health and happiness, blah blah blah, everyone says that. But I am also thankful that we are an America that has changed a lot this year, and not in the best way possible.
Sure, I’m still free and a little more equal than I was a few years back, but times have changed, and anger and resentment seem to be stepping up more loudly than acceptance and understanding.
Sixteen years ago, when we met and began this ride, Carlos and I couldn’t be legally married anywhere in this country, and here we are now, married for two year, legally, in South Carolina and every single other state in this country. There were times I never saw it coming and so now, two years later, I am still thankful for that.
And let me be clear; even with some of the Hate Speech coming from all over this country, and sadly, in our own White House, they will never be able to take that away from Carlos and me; we are husband and husband and that’s how it will stay.
I am thankful for the years I had with my sister — and I miss her every single day — because of the things she taught me, and continues to teach me. I am thankful that I could see her, and feel her, alongside my Mom as Carlos and I stood in a courtroom and said, “I do.” I could feel all that love, and for that I am always thankful.
I am grateful to her four daughters, all of whom she raised so well that when Carlos and I told them we were getting married, they all responded, “Now he really is our Uncle.”
I am thankful for my Dad. He didn’t ask for a gay son, but he got one; he didn’t know what to do with a gay son, but he did the best he could. And, when the time came to marry Carlos, and we decided to go west to Washington to do it, it made my Dad’s day. I think he was more excited than we were, more proud that we were doing it. I wish every gay person could have a Dad like mine, who sees that change is good, and sees that not everyone is alike — even in your own family — but who loves you all just the same.
I am thankful to my Mom, especially today. Thanksgiving was her holiday; cooking for her family was my mother’s greatest joy and a great gift to all of us. I am thankful that I can keep that tradition alive, and can see my Mom in myself as Carlos and I cook dinner for friends.
I am thankful for cold mornings and blue skies … colored leaves falling. I am thankful for small dogs and cats because, well, I'm bigger than them and I will always beat them ... just channeling a little Joan Crawford and Christina at the pool.
I am thankful for......Carlos. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have him; even the days when he makes me insane … more insane? I realize I’d rather be driven nuts by him than not to have him in my life at all. I am thankful for the smirk he gives me; I am thankful for the look of horror on his face when I bust out in a showtune; I am just plain thankful. I don’t know where I’d be, or who I’d be, if I hadn’t met him all those years ago.
I am thankful for music and pets and soft blankets and breathing and speaking, and having a voice to use and use often. I realize we are at a tough time in this country, where fear is being used to urge hate towards refugees fleeing their homeland for their lives … fear of our transgender brothers and sisters … fear of immigrants … in a land filled with immigrants.
But I am hopeful, and thankful, that this is not the case with everyone, and that not everyone falls into fear; some stand against it, and speak against it, and fight against it. I am thankful that more people are standing up against the hate and the fear; standing up for those who may not feel like anyone ever would stand for them.
I am thankful for that … and thinking being feeling loving breathing laughing crying living and speaking.
For Life … and all it encompasses.