May 14, 2006

Back to South Florida
I got back last evening, but didn’t have the energy to write you, dear Journal. Instead, I went straight to my cave-like empty bedroom – it has but two pieces of furniture, the bed and a lamp – and collapsed into immediate slumber. I spared no expense on the mattress, box springs, and bed frame, so I had only sweet South Florida aqua Atlantic Ocean and beach dreams.

The last time I looked at a clock it was 8:12 PM. I woke up this morning at 7:30 AM, so I slept over eleven hours. I was exhausted, though more from dealing with the situation in Lancaster than from the trip itself. Of course, I expected that Ruth would be difficult, and she immediately proved me correct by not speaking to me. I had to convey all messages through Samuel, her husband. It felt like she and I had regressed to second childhoods. Samuel would call me at THE BIG NEEDLE, and I could hear Ruth telling him what to say in the background.

“Hi Sam. What’s up?”

“Tell my father that we want to know how long he plans to keep his apartment at Pine Needle Manor.”

“We just wanted to know ….”

“I heard Sam. I’ve given notice. I must be out by the end of June.”

“Ask him if he gets any of the original sum back that we paid when we bought the place.”

“Did you hear that Isaac?”

“Samuel!” Ruth exclaimed in total aggravation.

“Yes. I heard. However, I have two points of clarification before I answer the question. First, we did not pay for my apartment here in the Big Prickly Manor. I did. Second, as Ruth and I were told by the Prickly Needle Corporation Management when I bought the place, I will get only 20 percent of the purchase price back when the next resident gets suckered into buying his/her death trap.”

“Isaac, you know we had only your best interests at heart when we convinced you to move to Pine Needle Manor. After all, the Pine Needle Care Corporation takes responsibility for your health care no matter whether you are able to live on your own, need assisted living or complete nursing care. Nursing care alone costs almost $45,000 per year these days. Heaven only knows what it will cost in another ten years.”

“I don’t plan on living another ten years, Samuel.”

“Tell him he’d better hope he doesn’t need to go to a nursing home.” Ruth said.

“You’d better hope…”

“I heard her, Sam. Don’t forget that I also have long term care insurance that I bought when Rebecca and I were in our early 60’s, back in the days when it was a relatively new thing. It’s costing me a lot less than THE PRICKLY NEEDLE does. I will be fine.”

And so it went. I finally got Ruth to talk to me the day I left, but I had to go to Orchard Hill Farm and beg her to unlock her bedroom door. After a lengthy soliloquy in which I assigned all blame to myself for the argument that she had caused, she cried, and I cried, and we made up.

So, here I am back in my new condominium in South Florida, and I’m on speaking terms with all my family. I’ve given notice at Pine Needle Manor that I will be moving out the last two weeks in June, and I’ve made arrangements with my grandson Adam to help me get all my things from THE BIG NEEDLE to Florida. I should be given some kind of award for planning and negotiating. Perhaps I should have been a member of the Foreign Service. I’d have made a good ambassador, though there has only been one OUT gay ambassador that I know of, James Hormel, nominated to be ambassador to Luxembourg by President Clinton in 1997. Of course, I could write a political diatribe about the Republican reaction to that. Part of their objection at the time was that Ambassador Hormel would use his position to advance the gay agenda. Of course everyone knows that we LGBT people have a life-style sales campaign in which we offer prizes like food processors and microwaves to the gay man or lesbian woman who is able to convert the most heterosexual children to our way of life. I jest, but the really frightening thing about this bickering over perfectly normal variations in human sexuality is that these crazed and divisive evangelical Republicans actually believe their own line of crap. Okay, so I know that their sick rhetoric will someday come back to haunt them. I also know that the God who they profess to own actually loves us all, each and every one.

Ah, well, now I’ve been totally sidetracked. I will stop. I won’t go on to a complete political diatribe. Not when everything is going so well in my immediate life. I refuse to get upset over American politics today, even though Mr. Bush and his evangelical mafia are bringing to a vote the 28th Amendment next month. You know, the one that would legalize and make permanent the nation’s need to discriminate against LGBT people.

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