Saturday, June 30, 2018


Above all...
Whenever I faced adversity as a tot -
my mother offered up some simple
advice. "Be like Eleanor Roosevelt,
and rise above it." While seemingly
an obtuse concept for a six year old -
slowly it's wisdom sank in. Thus a
homely power broker of the upper
crust became my inspiration. You
see, Eleanor was willing to get down
and dirty. Yet while navigating life's
pits she remained oddly inspiriting
in her floral georgettes. And with a
wave or smile affirmed all was well.
Grand stand
Nowadays there is no doubt that these
times are unsettling. Random folks do
or say horrible things for seemingly no
reason. Things beyond our control can
change our destiny. Thus the only thing
controllable is how we react. Eleanor's
simple approach was passive passion.
Always a lady, she stealthily navigated
the muck in order to achieve her goal.
Never wavering she calmly listened,
interacted with courtesy, only to then
clearly reinforce her opinion. All as she
stood firm for ALL that she believed in.
Solid ground
Throughout life, the Eleanor idea
of "rising above it" has helped me
weather the most challenging of
times. If those who I loved turned
on me, I turned the other cheek.
When friends became foes, I just
smiled and moved on. And during
many moments of adversity on the
job, I stood my ground. I'm certain
some viewed my calm resolve as
passive. Yet in the end said stance
helped to insure a better outcome
than any (including me) expected.
Open to anything
It's important that we never confuse the
art of "being Eleanor" with piety. Pious
folks care about nothing but their place
on the roster. It's only when a leader is
resolved to be be open to the alternatives
that great things happen. Hence anyone
we meet along the way can help us grow.
Conflict and oppression inevitably travel
with illumination and redemption. And
drives those willing to face facts to truth
and justice for all. Hence like Eleanor, I
try to engage in a dialogue with anybody
at anytime. And am willing to listen...
All together now
My Mother was anything but perfect.
However while seemingly rigid, she
actually hid a fluidity of open thought
beneath her seemingly steely exterior.
When finally confronted with who her
son truly was, she embraced me with
open arms. Slowly she realized there
was little difference between a man
loving a woman or man... In the end
she celebrated my true self even as
she worried about how others might
mistreat me. Hmm... maybe it's time
that I start practicing "being ETHEL?"

Friday, June 29, 2018


Emergency route
Even the best of homebodies occasionally gets
hit with a dose of wanderlust. Here in central
Montana we're rather isolated. Meaning that if
one wants to clear their head or simply escape
reality, a substantial drive is required to leave
town behind. Given my preference is to stay at
home, I rarely even think about trying to see if
the grass is greener elsewhere. Yet when one
is blessed to live in one of the most amazing
states in America - it's really rather foolish not
to see the sights. Fortunately Frank is ready
and willing to prod me out of my sweet spot
and broaden my horizons every once in awhile.

Few and far between
For anybody who hasn't trod our terra firma
it's hard to explain exactly what it means to
take a road trip in central Montana. Multiple
factors impact one from getting here to there
or anywhere else in these here parts. Thus
it's important to note what you may or might
not encounter. First - there are virtually NO
people in this state which covers one hundred
and forty seven thousand miles plus. To put
that in context - our state's total population is
just over one million. Meaning that there are
approximately 6 to 7 people per square mile.
Placing us at 48th out of 50 states in density.

Far away from it all
Hence one may not encounter another human
for miles upon miles. Obviously you'll pass a
few other drivers along the way. And "wave"
by lifting a few fingers in recognition as you
clutch the steering wheel. Given you're in the
middle of no where - it's also best to get gas,
groceries, etc. whenever and wherever they
are available. That's because you might not
get another chance for hours depending on
where you're headed. Or if you happen to be
up north along the high line - maybe never!
Therefore my advice is that when in transit
it's best to stock up and be prepared for nada.

Out of order
The same theory applies to lodging and dining.
While one might assume that it will be easy to
get a room or grab a meal in nowheresville -
you're wrong. Especially in the summer many
locals and lots of tourists are out enjoying the
scenery. Meaning that you might have to spend
a night in your car if you don't plan ahead. Or
worse... sleep in accommodations that redefine
the term "roughing it." Satisfying one's appetite
can be equally challenging given many of our
towns and hamlets have few if any eateries.
And remember, the nearest McDonalds could
be at least one hundred miles away. Or further.

Road less traveled
Obviously in such isolated circumstances traffic
is rarely a problem. However it's important to
note that Montana enjoys two seasons annually.
Winter and construction. Thus there is a strong
chance that you may encounter some obstacles
along your way. With the exception of our one
major highway - most Montana routes consist
of two lanes. Hence when being repaired - it's
highly probable that you'll sit and wait a spell
prior to passing through any construction zone.
But if you like, you can pass the time chatting
with whomever is waving the flag. After all it
can be lonely out there. So why not be friendly?
Size matters
All of the above aside, once you're finally out
and about you won't be sorry. After living here
for years, Montana still takes my breath away.
Whether it's the brutal yet beautifully barren
terrain to our east, or the rolling prairies that
lie in it's central core, or majestic mountains
on our western front, all of Montana sits under
the most amazing "Big Skies". Which naturally
top it all off. Given there is a strong possibility
that you'll have no other diversions like people
or civilization - you'll have ample time to enjoy
all that God has given us. So why not giddyup
and get going?! Summer will be over soon!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


High and mighty
There was a time when I towered
above most. At six foot one, I was
taller than the norm. However the
world has changed and as nutrition,
genetics, and luck would have it -
many young people now soar above
their elders. The older one gets the
odds are against us. Not only do
most of us subtly shrink, our girth
and points of interest expand. Oh...
and did I mention the sagging? Thus
I must admit that I'm rather humbled
by the recent downturn in my stature.
Tall tales
I've personally never found tall men
all that attractive. With the exception
of Gary Cooper most are a bit gangly
and hence more than awkward. Yet
I've dated more than a few, and let me
assure you that any aspersions on men
of a certain height are fictional at best.
Having been there done that, there's
little difference in their accoutrements.
Braggarts aside the biggest variation
is in the setting - i.e. context. To be
clear - the shorter the man... well...
hopefully you get the picture...
Pure bliss
At this point in my life I've got
who I want and fortunately he
seems equally happy. Hence the
only tall drink of water that this
man craves is exactly that. Given
we live in Lewistown, Montana
we're lucky to enjoy some of the
purest drinking water in the world.
Flowing at a rate of ninety million
gallons a day - straight out the the
earth via Big Spring - our water
doesn't see daylight until it exits
the faucet. Pour it on baby!
Over saturated
The older I get, the more it seems
that my thirst has suddenly become
insatiable. Therefore I simply can't
get enough H2O. Can one ever have
too much of a good thing? For most
people of a certain advanced vintage
maximizing one's intake can be quite
a problem. Apparently our bladders
can't keep up with the demand. Thus
many "elderly" folks are dehydrated
as they prefer to do without rather
that be pissed off every hour on the
hour. Does your cup runneth over?
Deep dive
One thing is certain, I've no intention
of diving into a pool or ocean anytime
soon. Somehow the idea of displaying
the ravages of time for all to see saps
even my self confidence. I know that
in theory one really shouldn't care
what other people think... or see. Yet
I doubt that anybody wants to see my
physical evidence of over indulgence
and prior sun strokes out in the open.
Therefore should I opt to drown my
sorrows in a tall drink of water...
I'll go off the deep end in private.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Red alert
Yesterday President Trump tweeted a red alert.
His attack was on the Red Hen - a restaurant in
suburban Virginia. Said establishment recently
asked Sara Huckabee Sanders to exit given it's
owner (and staff) found her presence offensive.
However Sara wasn't the only Trump crony to
be confronted while dining. The week prior -
Kristjen Neilsen - head of Homeland Security
left a Mexican restaurant to a chorus of "shame"
from fellow diners. As did presidential advisor
Stephen Miller post being called a "fascist." A
phenomena that has been deemed unappetizing
by some. While incredibly delicious to others!
Equal opportunities
So exactly what's the wrong with this picture?
To recap - key government officials are using
their official status as political powers against
those who disagree with them. The same folks
who defend and endorse "good people" (who
also happen to be white supremacists). And
celebrate the recent Supreme Court decision
that allows a bakery to refuse service to a gay
couple. Yet they now take offense over some
one publicly rejecting those they prefer to not
be associated with. Is said omission against
the law or just karma served with a heaping
portion of crow?! We all get our just desserts.
Rights or wrongs?
For as long as eateries have dished it out -
they've reserved their legal right to serve
whomever they choose to feed. As posted
on the signs hung on many a dive wall or
window. The only difference being that
this time the targeted parties were rich and
powerful white folks. Hence possibly for
the first time they had to experience what
many Americans deal with on a daily basis.
Which is being rejected, insulted, or denied
service for simply being who they are. Yet
while one hopes that said individuals will
learn from their lessons - it's very doubtful.
Back at you
In today's fragmented world one thing piety
seems to inevitably be accompanied by is a
self-helping portion of righteous indignation.
Whether we like it or not, turnabout is fair
play. Therefore if one opts to maintain a
"zero exemption policy" against humanity -
the odds are one may get caught in said act.
Yet rather than use their power to change
things for the better, said public offenders
go on the offensive. And trust me, having
personally experienced exclusion, bigotry,
and prejudice, it's not a pleasant experience.
Why won't they learn from their mistakes?

Monday, June 25, 2018


Rainbow coalition
As June nears it's end I feel the need to muse
a bit about "pride." For those of you who may
be confused, I'm writing about rainbow bright
GLBTQ Pride Month. Or as I prefer to think -
equality. Last year Manhattan was awash with
rainbow stickers on every major institution.
And so even one's bank was proudly touting
their "support" of a certain ilk. Whereas this
June in rural Central Montana, there is not a
rainbow in sight. Well, except for that double
rainbow after a cloud burst last week. Hence
one thing is obvious - "PRIDE" is not on the
local agenda. And that's just fine with me.
The dark side
Don't get me wrong. I am more than proud of
the equality "queers" like me have gained in
the last few decades. However I can't help but
also be a tad resentful. After all, the last thing
to be proud of is the fact that many Americans
are legally deprived of their inalienable rights.
Prejudice, bigotry, and hatred continue to fuel
many of my fellow citizen's perspectives on all
sorts of issues. And while I often attribute said
mindsets to ignorance, one can't help but worry
about our collective future. Whether we care to
admit it or not, evil lurks deep within many of
our hearts. Therefore equality has yet to come.
Haters gonna hate
Throughout this month we attended several
family and community events. All of which
were inclusive. Thus my better half and I
were embraced, loved, and supported for
who we are. Well... at least on the surface.
You see, those who embrace our "lifestyle"
don't see what we see. Which is the subtle
rejection of those who view us as oddities
at best. Subtly judging us via an arms length
aura of judgement. Such prejudice is both
arrogant and subtle. Causing folks such as
they to feel superior to people like us. And
while we may not like it, it is what it is...
Pop goes the weasel
Everybody wants to be liked. However when
some gal with a bad perm, painted eyebrows,
in a polyester ensemble snubs you, it HURTS.
Mostly because at this point in time, one finds
such behavior surprising. A reaction which in
and of itself only reinforces my naivety. After
all, even in a county where seventy percent of
one's friends and neighbors voted for Donald
Trump, one can still live in a bubble. One that
is safe and secure in it's sphere of influence.
Yet as soon as one goes beyond said safety
zone, one's sense of acceptance can quickly
be popped by some prejudicial prick.
Path of righteousness
Confronted by such ignorance, one's natural
reaction is to fight fire with fire. However
behaving in such a judgmental manner only
drags us all down. Thus in the end, one can
only hope that those with dark souls will find
some way to see the light. All of which proves
(at least to me) that while we may have much
to celebrate, we've got a long way yet to go.
Ultimately all GLBTQ people want is to be
equal. Meaning that who we are shouldn't be
a legal or social issue. When that happens...
and being a minority is no longer fodder for
rebuke - then we finally can all be PROUD!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

7th Day Surprise: WHITE OUT

Friday we attended a lovely family wedding.
Love was in the air.
And so...
along with the bride and groom,
their friends and loved ones,
we laughed, cried, and danced.

Talk about tying one on.....