Almost every Sunday morning you will find my partner and me in a pew at King of Peace, Metropolitan Community Church, at approximately 9:45, fifteen minutes before the service begins. We usually sit in the same area every Sunday and walk in, hoping our friends will also be in attendance. At the very beginning of the service, the pastor will encourage everyone to greet with a hug or handshake those in close proximity. If they are wearing name tags and are someone you’ve never met, then you can address them by their name and welcome them to King of Peace. The greeting is following by prayer, music, scripture reading and eventually a sermon by the pastor. During the prayer time, Dimitris and I always hold hands. That’s when I recognize that my partner in life has the coldest hands in civilization. I don’t understand why as I am the one who is always chilly but, while my hands are nice and warm, his are always icy. I think there is a saying: cold hands; warm heart. If I accept that belief, then I am much-loved by my partner.

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Missing Person

I’m not a shopper. I can think of few things that are more distasteful to me. My best shopping is done when I know exactly what I want and know where it is in the store so that I can go straight to it and check out quickly. Dimitris, on the other hand, is a person who relishes the shopping experience. He smells everything, checks every label, and is never in a hurry. Therefore, when he mentioned shopping on Black Friday, I began to think of ways I could be excluded. The remedy we arrived at involved my driving him to Penney’s and Macy’s, dropping him off (with the cell phone), and my coming home, which is exactly what we did. When he called to tell me that he had found a wonderful bargain–a set of bed sheets–I jumped into the car and headed for the entrance to Penney’s which we had previously designated as the pick-up spot. When I arrived, there was no Dimitris in sight. I drove around several times before parking in a no-parking zone and walking into the store. Still no sign of my partner. I began to think that I would have to drive home in order to call him (we have only one cell phone) and find out where he was. The last option besides doing that was to drive to Macy’s and hope I had misunderstood and would find him there. As I turned the corner from Penney’s, I spotted him standing in front of the entrance to Penney’s, not the entrance I had been searching but another one. What a relief! What a bargain–new bed sheets!


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Thanksgiving in Titusville

I did not want to go out-of-town for Thanksgiving. It just didn’t suit me as we were, for one thing, driving a rental car. I had learned that several restaurants were going to be open and would be serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal here in St. Petersburg. However, we had been invited by our friend in Orlando, Jack Sullivan, to spend Thanksgiving with him. Dimitris urged me to go so off we went in the rain on the Thanksgiving morning. When we arrived at Jack’s home, we learned that we were combining dinners with friends of his who live in Titusville. That was a forty-minute drive. We were supposed to have fifteen people eating the Thanksgiving meal with us. I don’t handle crowds well, but I was determined to “wear” my best attitude, and I did. The hosts were charming, and the meal was excellent. Six people did not show up and missed a Thanksgiving to remember for simplicity and good taste. Our hostess, rather than complaining about the food preparation, declared that she loved to cook Thanksgiving meals. Those of us who had shown up were definitely recipients of her good cooking. I will remember warmly Thanksgiving 2017.

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The Cereal Killer

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve eaten and enjoyed cereal any time of the day but especially breakfast. For the first twenty or so years of my life, the only cereal that ever crossed my mouth was Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. I joined all of the clubs on the back of Corn Flakes boxes and reached into the cereal box for the latest gadget that I would have heard about on the radio or seen on TV. Even when I was serving in the Navy, I would pick up a one-serving box of Corn Flakes and a pint of milk. Somewhere about mid-life, I discovered that even more delicious (and sweet) were Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. It was the same company with the cereal now pre-sweetened. Then, sometime in the past ten years, someone suggested I try Honey Nut Cheerios. I tried it, and I liked it. However, eating this cereal meant I was breaking away from Kellogg’s and “cavorting” with General Mills. I guess, since I now alternate almost equally been these two cereals, it’s all right to split my company allegiance.


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Lunch at Taco Bell

Dealing with the aftermath following a car crash should be a tense and challenging situation. I must say that the three agencies with which I dealt after my accident were most helpful and did everything possible to insure my comfort and ease in dealing with the situation. First of all, my local Allstate office, which is managed by Hank Brautigam, my former student, was most helpful with information regarding starting a claim and getting in touch with a collision center where the damage estimate would be done. The claim agency went over my policy, clarifying what I needed to know, confirming that the collision center suggested by my local agency was their choice as well. When I contacted Service King Collision, they towed my car in and made a call for me to Enterprise who would provide me with a rental car. Enterprise sent a lovely young lady to pick me up at Service King and deliver me to the Enterprise agency where I was told that a new Chevrolet Impala would be my transportation provider until my Lexus is repaired. As it was only 12:30 pm, I drove the rental car home, picked up my partner, and had lunch at Taco Bell as we do almost every Friday.


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Unsportsmanlike Conduct

When I was growing up in Clinton, South Carolina, I was the recipient of quite a bit of ridicule. The teasing came because I was not into sports. Not only was I not an athlete, but I took piano lessons which certainly meant that I was “queer.” The insurance against one’s being labeled as a homosexual resided in whether or not you played sports. I was okay with soccer, kicking around a ball before school and during recess. But….football and baseball were the sports which indicated one’s sexual preference, or so it seemed. I went out for football once and lasted only a short time. I played baseball when I had to during recess but was totally inept. When I got to high school, I decided that perhaps basketball was the sport for me, and I went out for the team. Before we could leave practice each evening, we had to shoot so many balls through the hoop. More often than not, the coach would give up on me, and I can hear him after all of those years, saying, “Cooper, go home.”

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