Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Very Rigid Journey

This is how long ago it was.  And far away.

We lived at The Landings apartments.  Lakefront.  Beautiful.  In the summers one could make their way out on the tiniest of canoes, or floaty boats and see the Lexington Mall sign from the middle (of the lake).

One time:  We tossed pennies into that lake at sunset and skinny-dipped, like lovely precious liveforever boys, diving.  Come up for air.  So dark, isn't it?  Look how beautiful we are in the the dark.

Another time:  I was working at Liquor Barn (gotta make the head cheese) and Tom and friends were playing volleyball on the sand court and his ferocious play led to his losing our 'wedding band' (even, then, we called it that- You can't stop us from loving).  They searched.  For hours.  Like a needle... and found it before I even made my way home.

This:  The first time I ever, really, came out.  We hosted a Christmas Party at our Landings apartment for my elementary school.  The principal, seeing that we had two bedrooms, said, to me and Tom:  "How nice to have a place for guests."

Again:  The upstairs neighbor, a UK professor and his, shall we say, other woman.  He was living with cancer, and she was taking care of him.  Away from, I'm sure, his "legal" family, but with his beloved, to the end.  We called the ambulance when he was called home.

Then:  Midnight Madness.  Not UK Wildcat oriented.  McAlpin's Sale.  Lexington Mall.  Mom and her best friend Ginny are shopping and there is a call.  Over the loudspeaker.  Goes to the desk.  Her husband is dead.  Madness. My brother and he were playing tennis.  Things happen.

And:  We're in the lovely lakeside apartment.  Watching an innocent slasher film, as I recall. March 23, 1988.  When I get the call.  The news.  Tom takes me over to the Mall.  Mom is sitting there.  Not in shock, at all, is how I choose to remember it.  Strong.  Strong as she ever was. 

Two decades plus later:  This boy (me) is now a man.  That boy (my brother) more than I can ever know. The sister in the story (Vicki, named after her then dead, and forever living dad).  And most of all:

Mom.  Janice Rose West Miller.  She lived with this memory as long as she could bear it.  And lives on to this very day at Kenwood House Nursing Facility in Richmond, Kentucky.  She can still sing, and dance (and does).

"You are such a sweet husband", she told him when he brought her gifts.
"I just want to be good to you."
"I know," she said," and you are."
"But there are so many things I can't give you."
"But there are so many things you can".

-Everything is Illuminated,  Jonathan Safran Foer

Monday, March 15, 2010


Here I am.  So much is happening. 

After winter.  No big-all at once.  Spring.  Hope.  Lent.

During this Lent,  I've not given up anything.  I've taken on.

Nightly prayers before (at the foot of) the bed.


Whispers, in the closet (cheek) of my pillow:

"lamb of god who takest away the sins of world have mercy upon me lamb of god who takest away the sins of the world have mercy upon me lamb of god who takest away the sins of the world grant us thy peace."


My little brother, his wife, and their friends are coming to dinner at our house this weekend.  My partner will make wonderful food.  He will out DO himself. We'll be gracious hosts. Everyone who leaves here leaves happy.  And I'm still here.

Here I am.  Blessed beyond belief.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.
"I just wanted to be sure of you."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Fall to Pizzas

There comes with certain expectations rules when one is tagged labeled a FoodGay.  Especially when one is NOT, really (shhhh), but wants to play along.

It's a refreshing label, actually.  Sure, my partner Tom IS completely devoted to his food passion. And worthy of the term label.  Lives the life of his passion for food, does he. Every.Single.Day.

Me?  I like to eat.  I like to eat aforementioned Tom's food. He enflames our home with fragrances and subtle bitter/sweet combos of delight on every single plate he puts before us.  Just the two of us. Yes, the rare party of 8 to 40 guests we entertain.  Yes, the special events he plans, procures, and packages beautifully for the parties he orchestrates outside our home for others:  fetes, church, benefits, Bourbon festivals, Opera House openings:  his work at external venues have long since grown from surprising "How do you DO that?" to cautious, sometimes, now deep into his reputation as, well, expected.  Might I say taken for granted.  He would never say that.

Every time he has the opportunity to cook for others, even just me, is his ultimate joy.

His magic in our unremodeled Victorian kitchen defies the limits of the surroundings.  I am certain our kitchen on Merino Street is the only home within our Gayborhood that has not gone under a $45,921.00 renovation since we've lived here.  There really IS not room for more than one cook in this staid kitchen.   We have wonderful tools, mind you. His partner (okay, me) makes William-Sonoma associates positively giddy when Tom's birthday and Christmas roll around.  

The thing about all this high-end culinary bliss remains a place when he just knows to let me know.  Michael cooks, too.  A damn good old-school meatloaf.  My mother's chili.  He defers homefries to me.  Probably not because, as he says, sweetly, "Yours are better than mine," but because he knows even in a kitchen where there is only one room for "one cook", there are two who live here.  Side by side, if not in the kitchen, at least at the table.

At least one night a week, we both leave the kitchen, get on the phone, and order in pizza.

And part of me knows that somehow, amid the busy-ness of our lives, outside the home, outside the kitchen, but inside our hearts, a tradition remains as dear to each of us in our 26 years together as any of his remarkable well-plated fois gras, or my well-bowled soup beans.

We fall to pizzas.