Somewhere in the southern Caribbean

Many a moon ago aboard Dolphin Cruise Line’s SS Sea Breeze we found ourselves anchored just off the coast of Aruba. Fearsome was in remission at the time as I had developed a bad habit called shaving, but he was there in spirit as he always is. It was an early morning under the searing southern Caribbean sun and not a good morning for the hangover from last evenings heavy drinking dance floor adventures.

We found ourselves amongst  many other bleary eyed hungover gay men searching for that perfect spot on deck of this RSVP cruise from which to observe that days total solar eclipse. We were anchored just off the coast of Aruba for a reason, we were in the path of totality in a spot calculated to have the longest time in actual totality, about 3 minutes 40 seconds to my recollection. That sun was hot and all I wanted was a place to sit down, drink my coffee and nurse this hangover. A friend handed me a Bloody Mary. Life was suddenly better.

A passenger affectionately known as The Chicken Lady passed by pouring creme in anyone’s coffee who needed it. She was carrying her trademark chicken purse and the creme flowed on demand into awaiting coffee cups out of an artificial breast that she wore under her bikini top. The Chicken Lady wasn’t known to be reserved nor inhibited in any way imaginable.

The ship’s crew worked feverishly to make sure all 800 passengers were well taken care of and comfortable. They made sure we all had our beverages of choice as well as our solar eclipse viewers. Morning cocktial music played, we laughed, the scent of sunscreen permeated the air and we waited.

The searing heat of the tropical sun started to diminish. A quick check with the solar eclipse glasses confirms that the moon has begun it’s journey between us and our sun. It seemed as if someone had found both the dimmer and the thermostat as not only was the light becoming more appropriate for a party, but the heat had been turned down a notch. We continued our wait laughing with our friends, checking the moon’s progress through the viewers and ordering more cocktails.

Suddenly it all changed.

I had experienced partial eclipses before. No. Big. Deal.

This was different.

In the distance it appears as if a very dark storm had formed. It was black out there. It was moving. It was moving fast and it was headed toward us. However there were no clouds but just darkness. Not just darker but black. This shadow was moving and there was no escaping it. That shadow of black was coming for us and fast. We adorned the viewers and looked up to find just a tiny pierce of the sun left and then it was gone. Nothing left but a faint corona and then a voice from the crowd, all on their feet at this moment, screamed “It’s safe now, take off your glasses!”

Our photos from Aruba’s total eclipse

Nighttime. Nighttime with all the stars out yet a faint light of dawn 360 degrees around us just at the lip of horizon. The birds, the songs of the birds as if it were daybreak. The lights, all the streetlights and lighted signs on the tiny island of Aruba had lit up. It was nighttime but it wasn’t. The horizon was beautiful. The colors of sunrise 360 degrees around us with all the stars out and this black circle above us. Tiny black, very black circle with a moving light shimmering around it.

Surreal.

Ouch! The light! Someone screams”Glasses on!”

The moon had moved on and the first pierce of intense light had broken through. The sun was back, although just a tiny corner. We looked down to realize that we were no longer in the dark shadow as a faint light of sun had encompassed us. The shadow was moving again. The darkness had left us and it was moving again, moving away from us. Moving away fast. We could see it’s circular edge moving across the sea as the light replaced the darkness in the water. The great storm of darkness moved on and so fast that we couldn’t follow it.

We watched as the wonderment of that total eclipse moved on for others to experience that day.

Then we danced.

Today I sit in awe and gratitude for all the gifts I have been blessed with thus far in my wonderful life. Thus far!

Happy Eclipse!

Happy Pride!

It’s officially Pride weekend in here in beautiful sunny San Diego California!

Given we live in a state with three major cities, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Pride celebrations are spread out in order to allow celebrants the options to be able to celebrate more than once and not have to choose between. There are also celebrations on other weekends in various smaller, yet just as important, locations such as Long Beach and Palm Springs. Having our many California celebrations over numerous weekends also allows tourists from to catch a Pride celebration while traveling through California if they so desire.

My first ever Pride experience was in Seattle back in 1990. The city where I grew up didn’t have such a thing and my travels through east coast cities back in the 1980s never seemed to coincide with one. I haven’t missed a Pride since that first one in Seattle and my official relocation to the West coast.

For me Pride has so many more meanings that just being gay. Pride is love. Pride is joy. Pride is acceptance. Pride is understanding, forgiving, righteous, brotherhood, sisterhood, humanhood, sexuality, sexual identity, identity, political, non-political, peace, justice, black, white, brown, yellow, red, giving, gratitude, sharing, respect, service, caring…Pride is a place to just simply be yourself. Just be.

A tune from my dance floor days before that first ever Pride celebration surprised me on Sirius XM Studio 54 today. A tune that I had probably not heard since seeing Pamela Stanley perform it live during RSVP Cruise Lines 10th anniversary party in Puerto Vallarta back in 1996, which was probably about the 10th anniversary of the tune itself. A tune that seems perfectly appropriate to kick off another absolutely fabulous Pride 2017 weekend in lovely San Diego.

Happy Pride Y’all!

Fireflies

Summer childhood memories.

Punching holes in a metal lid for the glass relish jar that in which I would later imprison several unlucky ones.

Lightning bugs, as I called them, were always a summer highlight. Little did I realize the depth of their striking beauty.

We don’t have fireflies here in Southern California. While I do prefer my SoCal summer weather over the sweltering humidity of my native southeast, I sure do miss my mesmerizing little friends.

Whats one of your favorite summertime childhood memories?

…oh and Happy Summer Solstice 2017!

Firsts

🎶 The best part of breakin’ up, is when we’re makin’ up 🎵

It’s funny how music sparks memories. This tune was pulsing the dance floor one night back in 1982 as I was shakin’ my little tushy dancing with my friend Mike.

I hadn’t heard nor thought of it in like ages. A couple a days ago there it was pulsing outta the speakers of my Ford Fusion Energi Titanium as I was a drivin’ along listening to Sirius XM Studio 54.

Rush!

Memories rush. Suddenly Mike was in front of me on that smokey disco dance floor as we pulsed to the beats. Vivid is the memory. Suddenly there was a body behind me pulsing behind me holding me at the waist. I asked Mike who it was and he said he’d never seen the guy. I then asked Mike if he was cute. Mike said “fuck yeah”. I then pushed my tush back into him and turned my head. I got the first glimpse of my first lover.

Wow. What a vivid memory. Our relationship would last for 6 years and has much to do with the man I am today. I was young. So was he. I wondered often. He was patient, loving and forgiving. I’ll never forget him. I’ll always be grateful for his inspiration. He has his life. I have mine. We don’t talk. I hope that I gave him even a 10th of what he gave me.

Funny how this tune became the theme of our years together. I didn’t realize it was so on target of a theme, until I heard it this week. No worries as there is no “makin’ up” a happening. That was a first lover and a first relationship that started the first time I ever heard this song the very first moment we met.