Tag Archives: gays

Barriers

I seek to break them. Sometimes I am only allowed to bend them. It took many years to find my voice. I was always told by my mother that I was never good enough, and why would a girlfriend in grade school invite me for a sleepover. Why would any high school friend invite me to a party, or a boy ask me out on a date?

People. I instantly connect. My brain just does it and if someone looks sad I say I love your shirt! Like the tie, where did you get it, my husband would look great in that tie. Sometimes it just snaps them out of a funky mood.

I know my first gay friend, but cannot tell you who he is. Accepting people for who they are is my nature, compounded by my great Aunt Rose who’s husband said if there’s a gay guy within 100 miles they’ll be here. Same with me. My husband’s family would be shocked, my husband knows me and probably likes that the guys I hang out with are gay and no threat to our marriage.

We take in “orphans” at Christmas, neighbors, adults who are single and who are new or have no family or have family far away and have to perform surgery tomorrow morning. It is a lot of work but I get to cook for so many interesting people over the years.

It is always refreshing to hear someone’s story and know where they came from and the life they’ve led.

I grew up in a small village. Dad was the first person in his family to ever go to college. He worked at the college that brought 1,000 students in every year to our village and was sent to get his Masters, then Doctorate. His accomplishments allowed us to leave that village and grow up in a different realm.

If we had not left the village, I’d have a bunch of kids and probably be divorced from a local boy. The world is a scary place, but thanks to Dad I’ve seen a lot of it. He’s getting older, but still protects his kids and grandkids.

Along the way I also met a husband who is my bling, all I have is one band of 18K gold to say we’re solid. No engagement ring. Yes, I’ve a Claddagh. I insisted against an engagement ring our first week of dating because it’s just not fair. He was Republican, I was a Democrat. We’re now Independent. Our neighbor won’t let him register (I agree). Barriers lifted.

Yes, there are still fiesty debates between me and his Fox News Channel father. Husband, brother and MIL all bow out and no-one comes to my defense. Hearty banter. I still have to to take our dog out and he has to take grain and hay to the cattle. Our Zoe stands up on his part of the living room sofa and awaits his return. I think he appreciates all of us. Barriers, I’m no longer called a Yankee and the Civil War is no longer The War of Northern Aggression. I’ve been assimilated, to a point. I love him. No harm, no foul. We never get angry.

I draw the line at reptiles and birds. We had a pact in our old neighborhood. I’d be called in for dogs and cats, and a friend would be called for birds and reptiles. Erecting barriers, but as it was all volunteer and took a lot of time it made sense to know our strengths and show them.

There are so many people over our lives from other cultures that we need to embrace. I think about Dad’s journey, those of my brother and sisters, my husband’s family. It really is one giant melting pot. As a cook I may liken it to a fondue with a lot of cheeses and dipping ingredients. Don’t get me started.

Think about a person in another country, another faith. Think about them having dinner as a family, with kids who need to do homework after the meal. As people, aren’t we all the same?

The wars our countries fight do not make any sense. They are barriers to us being people with families who just want to live another day. With faith and hope, Dee

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Typing

There are more ways than one. First is sorting people by type at first glance and making a decision before a word is spoken. Second is the infernal machine called a typewriter, now called some form of computer.

When the typewriter was invented it was surmised that only men could achieve mastery of this device. The pay was high, then the guys got bored and gave the job to women, thus making it a pink collar job with a cut in wages.

When I graduated from high school my dear Aunt L gave me the 1957 portable Smith-Corona typewriter that helped her through college and to become a venerable teacher. It was the first year anyone made a portable electric typewriter and I still have it and move it everywhere we go. It’s very heavy and now goes for $6 on E-Bay but I’m keeping it.

I was the envy of the dorm and after I wrote my paper I lent it out. I should have rented it just to pay for ribbons! Now I can’t even find those. After college graduation I was advised by several prominent women to never let anyone know I could type, lest I be assigned a secretarial role. Sexism. That was before computers.

With a potential book in my head I wonder if I should exchange my keyboard for the old Smith-Corona. I think I’m too prone to computer editing to do so, sorry. I don’t think there’s enough white-out in the world for that debacle.

Typing of another kind comes to mind. If I was asked about family I’d say we are intelligent, some book-smart and some street-smart. While our parents weren’t necessarily progressive, they were tolerant of differences and encouraged us to be so as well. That said, I didn’t meet a black friend until freshman year of high school, or my first gay friend back in grade school but I’d no idea and just protected him from his sister and mine and other students because he was being verbally abused. I didn’t know about such things so had no clue, only that he needed my protection.

I thank my parents for my education in many ways, and tolerance is high on the list. When one is labeled as a gangster, druggie, gay, mentally challenged or called any religious name in a bad way, you get the picture.

In grade school I took the mini-bus. We lived way out in the country (five miles out of town) and our bus picked up all the farm kids. It took a long time so we had to get to our bus stop early. When we pulled into the school all the other kids said we were on the “retard bus.”

One day two boys in a large family of boys took my hat. I was eight years old and stood up in the aisle while they threw my winter hat over my head several times then ripped it in half. As we pulled in I was crying and the lady who made sure all the buses and all the kids arrived safely at school took me aside and took me to see the principal.

The principal made me identify the boys and I did, all the while wondering if I could ever take that bus again, in fear of my life. The next day everything was fine and the F boys never bothered me. My neighbors, two large families with a dairy farm down the hill, were more in number, strength, might and right to make our school bus a model for all to see and I don’t think they even had to throw a punch. They saved me and my little sister. I love farm boys, especially from a dairy. I married a physicist who grew up on a dairy farm.

Now there’s another type or label, farm boy or geek, or both. Perhaps my book should be about this. Gals want the hunk in English class who is getting passing grades because the prof knows he needs to get them to play football next season. I waited a few years and polished the rough edges from a diamond who brings everything to the table and has been my best friend for over 12 years. He once had only Dr. Pepper and individually packaged string cheese in his refrigerator and he now opines on the difference between four-year and five-year cheddar. Yes, I created a food snob.

That person, my dear husband, was not content with my laptop. Over my objections he got me a large monitor, arthritis-friendly mouse, and wireless keyboard. I fought each one and now cannot live without them, or him. Please type on your phone, whatever you do but create something. And please do not judge a person summarily.  In hope of a better world, Dee