September 28, 2006

The Holiday Weekend

Sunday, September 3, 2006 started with a gray sky and rain! I got up late because Adam and Stephen had taken me out to a Philadelphia gay owned restaurant and bar the night before. The pianist played Broadway musical and other tunes and after dinner we ended up singing along until one in the morning – well, I mostly listened, but a group of about two dozen men sounded as good as a Broadway chorus to my alcohol laced brain.

Adam rushed me through a cup of coffee and cereal. I shaved and dressed in shirt, tie, and slacks that he provided. Amazingly they fit though a bit baggy in the shoulders and chest. We went to church at the Mickleton Friends Meeting House. The Quakers, at least in the Philadelphia area are a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) friendly organization. Adam has not joined the Mickleton group, but he is looking for a GLBT friendly church to join, and this visit was part of that search. After the worship service, we returned to his apartment. Adam unlocked the door with a smug smile spreading slowly across his face.

“What?” I said.

“Nothing.” He said, as he opened the door to a living room full of family. Ruth and Samuel stood behind the couch. Samuel Jr. and Nichole were seated in front of them. The children, Amy and Terrance, now in their teens were sitting near Adam’s 42-inch plasma television. Stephen, my grandson-in-law (so to speak) by association with Adam was coming out of the kitchen with a tray of snacks. All of our family members who are close enough to drive to Woodbury were there. That meant Abraham and Joseph’s families were at their respective homes, but they called that afternoon. I must admit, a tear escaped and slowly found its way down my right cheek as everyone stood and greeted me all at once, a chorus of overlapping “Hi grandpa,” and “Hi Dad,” followed by hugs and kisses all around.

We talked non-stop all afternoon, catching up on each other’s accomplishments and the important recent events of our lives. The sound of laughter echoed the feelings of communion and love that filled Adam’s apartment with joy. Even Ruth seemed to be enjoying herself. Later, Adam and Stephen grilled chicken on the roofed balcony for a mid-afternoon dinner. Ruth had brought her famous Pennsylvania Dutch potato salad, loaded with almost as much egg, chopped onion and celery, as potato. Yum! Nichole had brought a big plastic bag of tri-bean salad, and a bowl of bowtie-and-seafood salad, as well as a three layer chocolate fudge cake. We all stuffed ourselves to bursting before our visitors forced themselves back into their cars and headed home.

Evidently Adam and Stephen had been working on the event since the beginning of August. I don’t know what they would have done had I refused to stay for the holiday – probably kidnapped me, tied me up and thrown me in the closet until the holiday. "I'm back in the closet again." No, NEVER!

What a wonderful dreary, and rainy day!

You can send E-mail comments to
, or post them below.

September 24, 2006

My Rehoboth Beach Visit Was Too Short!

We drove back to Woodbury, New Jersey Sunday evening because both Adam and Stephen had to work on Monday. The shore traffic was a mess, but I knew it would be. Back in the fifties and sixties of the last century I often drove Rebecca and the children to Rehoboth Beach for a long weekend during the summer. We rented a cottage there (one that no longer exists) for several years. In fact, with the new turnpike in place, it was much better this time than back in the old days. Back then Rt. One went through every small town and we often had to stop at every traffic light between Christiana and Rehoboth Beach, thirty-seven according to my count. This past Sunday it took us three hours in heavy traffic, compared with four and one half hours back when I made the drive regularly every summer.

Monday, August 28, 2006 - What the Bible Doesn’t Say about Homosexuality

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Once I was ensconced in Adam’s apartment in Woodbury, and Adam had left for work, I returned to my book, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D.. Dr. Helminiak seems to be making the claim that the Bible doesn’t talk about homosexuals as a type of human being, since there wasn’t a word for that type of man or woman at the time. However, he doesn’t say that in so many words. Instead he proceeds to examine the standard texts used by prejudiced Christians to make their case against homosexuals in minute detail, describing the Hebrew state practices, and cultural institutions of the time, and the ways these did or did not address same sex behaviors. He describes this as an historical religious approach as opposed to a literal religious approach to the Bible. I found myself thinking that both of these approaches are interpretations of the Bible, and that neither allows much room for the reader to approach the Bible with the goal to understand it from a unique perspective.

Looking at the old testament, Dr. Helminiak states that same sex behaviors were understood as unclean by the ancient Hebrew texts, but makes several distinctions between the Bible’s statements about same sex behaviors and the claim that the Bible says homosexuals are evil, bad, unacceptable, and so forth. For instance, in the story of Sodom he states that the term “abomination” does not refer to sex acts at all, but to “idolatry, to Israel’s infidelity to God, and to Child Sacrifice and murder.”*1 He then goes on to say, and I’m loosely paraphrasing that religious parents who disown or punish their gay child are guilty of the very sin the story of Sodom is addressing.

Dr. Helminiak continues to write in that vein, analyzing every part of the Bible in which many Christians claim to find statements that support their prejudice against lesbian and gay people. Unfortunately some of the labyrinthine explorations of ancient languages, etymology, and conflicting social customs, of ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Roman cultures become so abstruse as to prevent most people (though perfectly capable) from bothering to follow through to Dr. Helminiak's conclusion as stated above. I am not disparaging the text, rather the obvious lack of will to read for subtlety of understanding in our culture. Most of us subscribe to the Western Cartesian proclivity for opposites. Something is or it is not, it is black versus white, male versus female, Christian versus Jew, heterosexual versus homosexual, Republican versus Democrat, East versus West. If it is not an opposition, it can’t be dealt with in any logical fashion. Thus, the explorations of subtle meaning in Doctor Helminiak's book will be too difficult for those in most need of correction to bother with.

Upon finishing What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, I couldn't help thinking that those who use the Bible to support their own prejudice superimpose their negative view of the world upon the holy book, and perform the worst disservice to God's word.

*1 Helminiak, Daniel A. Ph.D., What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, Tajique Alamo Square Press (Millennium edition, 2000), p.48.

You can send E-mail comments to
, or post them below.

September 21, 2006

Cape Henlopen

Sunday we drove out to the end of the Cape. You can just barely see the southern most tip of New Jersey, Cape May on the horizon, across the Delaware Bay. While standing atop the north dune view point in the park we watched one of the Cape May Ferries come out of the Bay and head for South New Jersey. There are two lighthouses, one on the bay, and a second at the border between bay and open-ocean. I loved the one-hundred-eighty-degree panorama view of sand dunes, bay, and ocean. After visiting the tip of the cape, Adam drove us South through the state park to the highest point on the beach between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras. The dunes rise to a height of almost one hundred-eighty-feet, and we had a spectacular view of the beaches below us, the ocean, and an oil tanker coming into the Delaware Bay.

Henlopen State Park was created out of old Fort Miles. There are observation towers throughout the park that were built in order to protect shipping against German U-boats during World War Two. Though they were never actually used for that purpose, they were, however, used to help rescue crews from ships damaged during east coast winter storms. You can even climb one of the towers for a spectacular 360-degree view of the cape, bay, and ocean. Yes, I did climb it, all be it very slowly, and with rests every 10 to 12 steps. All that exercise I have put myself through over the years has paid off. I don’t think too many guys my age could do that climb. I drew a picture of one of the towers at Gordon’s Pond in the Park. I used pastels, and I’ve included it here.

Pastel drawing of World War II Observation Tower

You can send E-mail comments to

, or post them below.

September 17, 2006

Poodle Beach

Saturday, August 26, 2006
The boys – I shouldn’t call them that because they’re young men - got a parking pass for the weekend, so they could drive me close to the beach. I protested that the walk would do me good, but they wouldn’t have it, so I was chauffeured to the boardwalk. Poodle beach was named according to one storey after the glitzy 19 40’s and 50’s queens who took their poufed and dressed-in-Sunday-best poodles to the area located at the end of the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. It was still quite a hike from the car to the boardwalk, and across the wide expanse of beach. Adam put our umbrella up in an area populated by young lesbian and gay families. It was wonderful to see two dads or two moms building sand castles with their young children, dipping toddlers in and out of the waves, and/or watching older children protectively from the shade of their umbrellas.

The end of the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. Poodle Beach is to the left.

When I was a young man, the only way a gay man could have a family was to marry a heterosexual woman. It worked for me, but I know that I gave dear Rebecca many difficult moments, and I guess that is putting it mildly. We did love one another, but I know that I wasn’t what Rebecca needed physically in a husband. And, I think I was unbelievably neurotic and tricky to live with. I’m sure that the tensions between us helped to make my Ruthie, Adam’s mother, such a complicated, high-maintenance personality.

Be that as it may, I found in Rehoboth Beach, “the nation’s summer capitol,” solid evidence of the families lesbian women and gay men are creating in the first decade of the Twenty-first century. Too bad our evangelical Christian brothers and sisters are unwilling to accept these beautiful young parents and their children - so much for “family values.”

You can send E-mail comments to
, or post them below.

September 14, 2006

And Now We Return to My Rehoboth Beach Visit

While in Rehoboth Beach, Adam and Stephen began a campaign to have me stay with them through the holiday weekend. They were unrelenting. They started on me Saturday morning and kept it up all weekend, even on the drive back to Woodbury Sunday night.

“Really, grandpa – why go back to Florida for the holiday week-end and be by yourself? We’d like to have you stay in New Jersey with us.”

“But you’ll be at work until Friday.”

“You were going to be with me Monday to Thursday anyway, and I would have been working then. I’m off Friday through Monday.”

“How will I get to the airport on Tuesday? You’ll be at work.”

“There’s limousine service.”

“Isn’t that expensive?”

“We’ll pay for it,” said Stephen.

“You’re worth it,” chimed in Adam. “Besides, We’ll go in to Philadelphia and visit the Art Museum.”

“Go out to dinner,” said Stephen.

“Maybe take in a play,” said Adam.

“We could go to the IMAX Theater at the Franklin Museum,” said Stephen.

“Yeah, I’ll bet you haven’t been to an IMAX theater, Grandpa. The screen is huge, so big it makes you move your body when the scene shifts in the film, and the sound goes all around you, makes the theater shake, and you feel as though you’re in the middle of the movie itself.”

“Don’t know about that one, Adam.”

“Then you’ll stay.”

“Come on, Isaac,” said Stephen. “You know you want to.”

Tears came to my eyes. I have family - I won’t ever sit alone and be forgotten - they’re gay family, and blood family that care about me. I’m such a lucky old man. “Okay, okay.” I said. “I give in. I’ll stay.”

“All right,” said Stephen.

“Hallelujah,” said Adam.

“Amen,” said Stephen.

“Now, boys,” I said. “That borders on blasphemy.”

“Never,” said Adam. “I’ll bet God’s pleased you’re staying too.”

You can send E-mail comments to

, or post them below.

September 11, 2006

Nine-Eleven Remembered

It’s my birthday and I'm 87!

This will be my first birthday alone, I think ever. Ruth called today to decry the fact that she can’t have my traditional birthday dinner. I commiserated with her, and metaphorically held her hand. I also promised that if I’m alive and well next year, I’ll fly home and stay at Orchard Hill Farm for my birthday with her and Samuel.

Recapitulating “My Stand” One More Time

Because it’s my birthday, and because that horrible world shaking event since tagged “9/11” took place on my 82nd birthday, I’m including the poem, “My Stand.” This is the fourth repeat, but I will not apologize because “My Stand” was sparked by a poem “The Stand” e-mailed to me by a friend. Fortunately, I have since lost “The Stand” in the move from Pine Needle Retirement Home to South Florida. I was incredibly angry when I read “The Stand” four years ago, because, and I am paraphrasing, it said that anyone who was against the war in Iraq was not patriotic.

Well, I’ve felt from the get-go That the Iraq war is, a foolish adventure waged by a foolish president, who was not elected to be president at least the first time around, who was elected by an equally foolish American people for a second term. Thus we risk repeating history. I say that “We, the people” and our foolish president risk repeating history because Vietnam, and the Spanish Armada should have given all of us great pause. The American people were fooled into going along with this misadventure, and for that, we must each take responsibility. We are all responsible, even those of us who did not agree, because we did not shout our opposition from the rooftops!

The war on Iraq is morally wrong. It stands in contrast to everything we say we believe in; God, peace, freedom, and democracy. Instead, we have destroyed a nation and killed thousands of women and children in the process. Additionally, Two-thousand-six-hundred-sixty-six of our own children have died in Iraq and over 19,945 have been wounded.

My opposition to this foolish war does not make me any less of a patriot than those who are for it. My memorial to 9/11 follows.

My Stand

Isaac Stolzfuts

I was born on September 11, 1919.
I was with my great grandchildren
On September 11th, 2001,
My eighty-second birthday.
We celebrated by playing together.
Drawing pictures, they told me what they saw,
The farm, our orchard, friends at school,
Their Mom and Dad.

Black space...

The TV’s white-noise-background
Suddenly stentorian to my mind
Though the anchor man’s voice
Even and measured announces
And, no longer laughing at play,
We watch "live" as thousands die.

It felt as though we were there,
Engulfed in that ebon cloud of dust,
The taste of death in our mouths.
Rebecca (named after her Grandma)
Cried, “That’s just a movie, Grandpa,
Right?” And Abe Junior said,
"Where are all the super heroes?
When we need-um!"
Well, the super heroes are in Iraq today,
Fighting for what they believe.
I pray for their safety even as
Mr. Bush claims to pray for peace.

I was born on September 11, 1919,
At the end of the flue epidemic, and World War One.
A Surreal world of horror both then and in 2001
Flowers and fireworks opposed to cinders and soot.
A world in which the lost lives of Iraq's
Women and children are not counted.
A world in which stolen artifacts
Testament to the beginning of civilization
Are casualties to Imperialist ambition.
A world in which a 21st century crusade has begun.

I do not believe in this war.
I do not believe in the "New American Century."

I do believe in a United States that stands for peace and trust.
I do believe in a United States that leads the world by GOOD example.
I do believe in a United States that bequeaths to the world
A vision of democracy and freedom.

Each American in Iraq is a hero and a patriot.
Each American who states his or her opinion
Opposing this war is also a hero and a patriot.

Dissent is one of the freedoms we believe in!
Would you have 225 years of national endeavor destroyed?
Do not call me anti-American.
Do not tell me that I did not suffer on September 11.
Do not tell me that I am not a patriot.

I was born on September 11, 1919.
My life always circled around “Nine Eleven.”
I am a child of “Nine Eleven.”
By birthright I am “Nine Eleven.”
I am freedom.
And, like Whitman I am part of you
And all of you are a part of me.
I am an American.
I don't believe in this war of American conquest, and
I am a 21st century American patriot!

Remember Them the Way They Used To Be


*Rodric M. Rabbah,"Lost But Never Forgotten". "" viewed Sunday, September 11, 2005, 10:40 AM EDT.

You can send E-mail comments to
, or post them below.

September 08, 2006

The Trip to Rehoboth Beach

The Flight to Philadephia and Drive to New Jersey

My flight to Philadelphia was uneventful. There was an hour and one half layover for the connecting flight in Atlanta with no delays, and I had plenty of time to make it across the terminal. I did have to walk forever at Philadelphia International, but Adam had prepared me for that. Besides, I don’t mind walking. It is good for me. Adam met me at the luggage pick-up area, and he carried my bag to the car. The drive to Woodbury, New Jersey, where Adam lives took about 25 minutes.

Woodbury is across the Delaware River from Philadelphia in Gloucester County. The community was founded in 1683 and became a Quaker religious center that figured prominently in the American Revolution. It was used by General Cornwallis as his headquarters for the British assault on Philadelphia in 1777.

Adam rents a two-bedroom apartment there in a nice garden apartment community that has its own pool and tennis courts. I told him that it is time he invested in his own place.

“Everything is so expensive, Granpa, and it just never seemed important to have my own place as long as I was single.”

“So, what’s your rent here?”

“About twelve hundred a month.”

“And you don’t think you can do a mortgage for that?”

“Yes, I probably could, on a small fixer-upper.”

“Buy a house Adam. You won’t be pouring money into someone else’s property, and you’ll be building equity in your own.”

I spent but one day in Woodbury, Friday, while Adam was at work. I had packed What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D..
I sat on Adam’s balcony and read it cover to cover - more about that later. As soon as Adam got home, we loaded the car, picked Stephen up, and headed for Rehoboth Beach. Woodbury is closer to southern New Jersey shore communities than it is to Rehoboth. However, we crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge, went to 95, and headed south, connected with Route One in Delaware, which took us straight (I mean forward) south to Rehoboth Beach, about a 2 and 1/2 hour journey. The house loaned to Adam and Stephen for the weekend was an old 3-bedroom cottage/bungalow in an area known as Silver Lake. It had a porch and deck with mature shade trees, and was located several blocks back from the ocean. The area is named for the body of water that lies between it and the beach, a pretty, but brackish lake that separates huge vacation houses built by the rich along the beach in the nineties from the rest of the community, and from Dewey Beach immediately to the South.

More later.

You can send E-mail comments to
, or post them below.

September 05, 2006

I’m Back in South Florida

Ye gods, I must be getting old! What a flight! I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed. I’ll report on my journey later, dear Journal.

You can send E-mail comments to
, or post them below.