Note: This was written over the last few weeks before we received the sad news that DB's dad passed away from cancer. I haven't changed it because I love how fondly it describes him and I think he would approve. With all my heart, I hope he rests in peace.
Sorry for dropping the blogging ball the last few weeks. We were in Montana so I could meet DB's dad for the first time. I’ve met his mother on several occasions, last summer at his house and this winter in Maui at his sister’s place, and I like her. I like her very much, actually. She’s a renowned artist who is well read, well educated, well traveled and well… cool.
Turns out, even though his parents are divorced, I like his dad a lot, too. He's a good man, and DB has a lot of his qualities. You see, even though my partner is calm, centered, and Buddhisty, he's also pretty rugged. And while that may just happen when you grow up hiking and fly fishing in Western Yellowstone, it's probably more likely to happen when your old man does it, too. At any rate, it was great to see DB in his element. Personally, I'm only in my element when I'm in Ann Taylor. And, while that may seem shallow... and it is... in my defense, nothing in their summer collection makes me itch. Mother Nature can't say the same thing.
But I digress... The point is that it was a great vacation. We ate too much, drank too little, slept too late, and laughed too long. In other words, a good time was had by all.
His dad has this amazing log cabin that overlooks the mountains. It's really remote with a lot of private property, so every morning I would sit on the deck with a cup of coffee, enjoying the view while trying to wake up. And one day, I heard a soft 'screeching' sound coming from the garage. When I asked DB what it was, his dad said, "Those are Phoebes." Now, when I'm in the middle of nowhere, and you tell me there are Phoebes... and they're scratching and screeching... from the garage... I think you're a serial killer and that I'm next.
Little did I know that Phoebes are birds, which would CLEARLY explain why DB woke up with Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" in his head every day. Actually, sometimes he woke up with Johnny Cash instead, another gift he got from his dad. I didn't know his father taught him to play guitar. Turns out, his uncles and best friend play guitar, too. And while I'm not surprised, I was still delighted every time they played, individually or together. And I like the culture around it. These are men who enjoy sitting on a log cabin porch, playing the Blues - especially Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. That said, DB and I are now old enough that when he says, "the wild life are making requests," he means turkey, deer, and Phoebes... and not the kind the kind of Phoebes that are skanky... even though they don't wear underwear either.
You know what though, even though we've grown tame in our old age, we did go out one night, and I have to be honest - it was the best date I've ever had. See, DB has had the same best friend (BW) for thirty-four years. Personally, the only thing I've kept that long is my baby-fat, but I have a best friend, so I know that this man knows where all of DB's skeletons are buried - the good, the bad, and the ugly... and he has the pictures to prove it (of the haircuts, the women, and the cars). In other words, I immediately liked him. He and DB played guitar together before, during, and after high-school, and he now owns the local music store where they used to hang out as kids. According to them, at twelve years old, they would go in, beg to play the expensive, collectible guitars, get shot down, and still be thrilled that they could hobnob with the guys who worked there.
At any rate, DB's best friend has worked there on and off for years - even while getting his degree in Music. And when the owner passed away, he left the store to BW and another person - no strings attached (and no pun intended) - simply because he knew it would be in good hands (again no pun intended). A concept that appeals to me greatly. So, after the three of us went out for dinner, we went to the store to hang out, even though it was closed. And that's when BW and DB picked the nicest guitars off the walls and played the Blues like two men who had been playing together all their lives.
Until the day I die, that will be one of the best nights of my life, and on the drive home, when I told DB what I thought about his family and friends in Montana, he said his best friend liked me as much as I liked him. His dad seems to approve, too. And that makes me happy. I wanted so desperately to make a better impression on his father than I did his mother. See, I LIKE DB’s mother, and so far… she likes me. Though for the life of me, I honestly cannot figure out why. We couldn’t be more different… that and the fact that I accidentally took her snorkeling on a nude beach in Maui.
OK, fine - there, I’ve said it. Yes, I took this amazing woman to a nude beach to look at “fish.” In my defense, I’d never been to Hawaii before. In their defense, God hates me, and I know it and should plan accordingly. So when one of the natives recommended this awesome secluded beach with “crystal clear water for a great view of the local fare” I should have guessed that he meant NAKED PEOPLE HANGING OUT IN THE SURF. But did I? Nooooooo. No, I didn’t. Instead, I walked over to the water, put on my gear, and headed straight into the tide. It took ten minutes and one wrong turn at the coral reef for me to figure out that we were NOT in Kansas anymore and that I was NOT looking at an eel.
Now, ALL THAT SAID, do you know how nudists stare at you when you put on a face mask and start swimming around them? On the OFF chance you don’t, let me tell you. They look at you like you’re the freak. It’s true, they do. They literally stared at me like, “Pervert.” And the whole time the only thing I could think was “Fucking really? You’re the one with burnt nuts, and I’M THE PERVERT?” And while I was COMPLETELY freaked out, DB, his mom, and his step dad were GREAT about it. DB’s mom was so classy and pushed my apologies aside by explaining that, as an artist, she’d worked extensively with nudes and told me not to worry about it. And DB, well, he was a Blues Guitarist for ten years and has been a Buddhist for much longer than that, so he just rolled with it and had a great time regardless. Me, I went to Catholic school in Appalachia, where being naked in a lake/creek/river/pond meant that person probably didn’t have indoor plumbing and they definitely needed a bath. And if you happened to be the unfortunate soul who saw them, you prayed you wouldn’t end up like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. Cause while there aren’t many atheists in a fox hole on a battlefield, there sure as hell aren’t any at a water hole in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
But… she wanted to get to know me better, so she started e-mailing me a few months ago. You can see why it took her some time to work up the nerve or to think it was a good idea, but she did it. And you have to understand why I wanted SO desperately to make a good impression with my reply. I was getting a badly needed second chance. So when she e-mailed me, I e-mailed DB and said, “HELP ME! What do I say?” And in his laid-back, Buddhisty, philosophical way, he replied, “whatever you want to” and he embedded this really clever, little picture from Google images. So now I have his e-mail up, and I have her e-mail up, and I replied to DB… only I sent the following message… to his mother: justbecauseyouareabuddhistandcalmandcenteredandgettousegoogleimagesatworkandidonotdoesnotmeanyoulovememorethaniloveyouorthatyouarethemotherfuckingbossofme.
Her reply said, “You write just like you talk.”
You know, you only get so many opportunities to make a first impression. And, who knows, maybe the third time will actually be a charm. That said, this year is honestly looking better than last. Maybe I’ve paid some karmic dues because she ended our last exchange with, “We would love to have you in this family”... the same thing his father said as we left Montana. And while I immediately thought of Groucho Marx who said, “Do I really want to be a member of any club who would have me?” I knew the answer… in this case yes. Yes I would.
Talk to you next week.