I have a dear reader who has read this blog almost from inception. He’s never commented publicly but has periodically sent me long and inspirational email messages. From far away he senses me in some dark moment which triggers him to write. It’s almost like hearing from god. I stop and read his messages and often go back and re-read them as he’s a very detailed writer. For he has a story as well.
Walter was born in 1938, a mere 9 years after my own father so he definitely has some miles on the odometer. He graduated at the boyish age of 22 from one of this nation’s Ivy League Schools. Got married a few years later to a wonderful woman with whom he had 2 great kids. Along the way he became a respected medical doctor, wrote books and a number of papers on his field of expertise.
Perhaps seeking a deeper way to help those around him, he later became an ordained minister to care for people’s souls. As a leisure hobby, he became a botanist with a love of rare flowers and is well known for his knowledge and skills in this area as well. He went so far as to start a business in this area, but something failed him there and it drove him into personal bankruptcy. In whatever remains of his spare time, he counsel support groups.
In 2000, at age 62, grown children and having been married for 35 years, he came out to his wife as being gay. They got divorced some years later. He told his children and what the hell, he told the world too, nothing to lose.
But this old man had a few more tricks up his sleeve, he jumped into the gay world with a mission and after a few misfires, he’s found himself a solid partner. He calls his partner his “safe place” and at last report they’ve been together for 7 years now. His partner by the way is 38 years YOUNGER than he is.
If there is ever a morning where I cannot get up, I think about my friend Walter. I am nowhere near as smart or intelligent as he, I certainly lack the pedigree but Walter holds out hope and inspiration for me. I try not to look at the dark clouds that are often above and focus instead on the sun shining ahead and paddle as fast as I can.
TC UPDATE: Speaking of dirty old men, TC is hopefully en-route to me and sometime later tonight, I’m planning on breaking a few laws myself. I’ve realized that for the moment, TC is my “safe place” to calm the swirling dust storm that has surrounded me in the past months. So I hold on. As we originally began, I will be back out at airport baggage claim today picking boys up again, hopefully I’ll find him there.