I had left my wife and home and was unsure how friends would react to my being alone. We had cultivated many friends during our twenty-plus year marriage, some of whom indicated they would remain friends and others who had decided to side with my wife. It was with some trepidation that I invited my buddy Dan Lawrence to meet me for breakfast at the Golden Bear restaurant. Dan and his wife Glenda had been among our good church friends. The meeting turned out to be very enjoyable–not just the eggs and grits but also the conversation. When we were getting ready to leave, I said, “I’ve really enjoyed this time together. We must do it again.” Dan responded, “Would you mind if Glenda joined us next time?” And that began the renewal of a friendship that has lasted many, many years. We still meet at least once or twice a month at the Golden Bear restaurant except that now we are four again.
What ever happened to thank you notes? They still sell them in the stationery shops, but I haven’t gotten one from anyone in quite a while. Am I wrong to expect a thank you note from my grandchildren when I mail them something I’ve picked out especially for them? Am I wrong to expect a thank you note from someone to whom I have given a wedding gift? I think so, but the art of writing thank you notes appears to be a thing of the past. After all, it would require a postage stamp, something we don’t keep around as handily as we used to. Then too, it requires time and thought, unless you just sign your name to a pre-printed card. A thank you note also confirms that the gift you sent has been received. I, for one, would hope that families continue to teach their children to show gratitude for gifts received by saying thank you with a note of thanks.
I am not a commercial watcher. Thank heavens for DVR’s which allow taping of TV programs and speed-ups during commercials. I’ve gotten to be quite adept at jumping off the speedy go-ahead so as to re-connect at the point following the commercials. The cable company has built in a second or two of retro-activity, which is nice. Occasionally, I do watch commercials, especially during ballgames. During those times, I am particularly surprised to see how many commercials I view for medications such as Cialis and Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction; Humira, used to treat joint pain; Lyrica, for patients who have seizures; Jublia, to eradicate fungal infections; and on and on. I fear that people who watch these ads and have no idea what these drugs do or don’t do could easily become victims of ordering such medications without realizing that they may be putting themselves in jeopardy. In Australia, the law prohibits direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines. Perhaps we should follow the leadership of the Australians.
I go to the Y every other day to ride the bike and give my knee replacement legs exercise. I can’t say that I look forward to the exercise, but I make myself go, knowing that continuing to exercise will provide me with improvement in my ability to walk in the future. I always take a paperback book with me as I can read and pump the pedals at the same time, passing the 37 minutes (35 minutes followed by a 2 minute slow-down). This morning, when I sat down and set my parameters for pedaling, I had just opened my book when the guy next to me said, “Pardon me, but may I interrupt your reading for just a few minutes?” I immediately closed the book and responded with a “sure, you may.” From that beginning, we talked for twenty minutes about life. I learned that he too is a retired educator, has the same health insurance I have, deals with the same pesky robo calls from the JSA medical group that I have, all in twenty minutes. I was grateful that Jackson asked me to delay my reading and involved me in friendly chatter. Too often, we put on our earphones or bury ourselves in a book rather than carry on a conversation with another human being. I would have missed out on a very enjoyable conversation.
I have a friend named John who has a pet peeve. He cannot stand for someone to use the phrase, “going to the john,” meaning the bathroom. His being upset by that usage is reason for him to be confrontational even to the point of embarrassing someone. I have humored him, trying my best not to use the phrase accidentally although it has certainly been part of my phraseology for a long time. I have tried to argue with John that the Brits say they are going to the loo (although they don’t spell it Lou) and that he has no horror of someone using the term “dick.” Nevertheless, he has remained adamant regarding that usage.
He once wrote that he never wants to hear anyone talk about going to the gym. He doesn’t like exercise, gets plenty of it working around the house, and is tired of hearing reports of gymnastic exercises. I tried to reason with him again, reminding him of my disinterest in antiques and my having been trapped once at his house when everyone was oohing and aahing over antiques. That did not assuage his opinion that all of the people with whom he carries on conversations should refrain from mentioning the gym or exercise. As I thought about John’s phobias, I decided to test his ability to laugh at himself and wrote him the following: “I know you don’t like to hear someone say they’re going to the ‘john,’ but are you now going to be so narrow-minded that we can’t say we’re going to the ‘jim?’”
Many of the better local-theater plays I have seen since I came to live in Pinellas County have starred Matthew McGee. My theater-going for a long time took place at the Hudson Dinner Theater. The theater catered almost entirely to the senior population, served an excellent buffet meal, and put on top-notch plays. I remember seeing “Cabaret” there and being very much impressed with the professionalism of the cast. Matthew McGee was a frequent cast member and always wowed his audience. Two years ago, I ushered several times at the FreeFall Theater here in St. Petersburg. One of the evenings I worked at the Will Call window instead of ushering. My co-worker that evening was Matthew McGee. It was a thrill working beside someone I had admired so often on stage. Now, Matthew is once again on stage playing the part of Auntie Mame. I am giving Dimitris an evening at the theater on August 6th to see the amazing Mr. McGee in “Mame.”
Those who have been reading my blogs may already have figured out that I love my partner, Dimitris, very much. Since January, when marriage equality arrived in Florida, we have been talking about making our relationship legal and permanent. When we were in Dubai in March, we bought wedding rings. They have so far only been worn once: we both wore our rings on our way home from Greece. On July 1st, I notified my family of our intent to get married on August 8th. We had already contacted an immigration attorney and the pastor of our church who agreed to marry us. We have already collected a number of items for the attorney and this week applied for our marriage license. We were told by the county clerk that the office has not caught up with the changes so one of us had to sign in as Groom #1, Thom; and Groom #2, Dimitris. We would love to have the blessing of our families, but we are content in ourselves and happy to begin life together as a married couple. Please put some gray hair in the groom on the left (smile).