I’m The Proud Parent Of A Lesbian

June 20, 2014. My daughter Lisa and her Partner, Deena, were legally married in Washinton, DC.

June 20, 2014. My daughter Lisa and her Partner, Deena, were legally married in Washinton, DC.

Years ago when my new gas range wasn’t working properly, I called a repairman to come fix it. He arrived at lunchtime while I was eating a beautiful salad I had just prepared for myself. I stayed put, thinking he’d get the repair done quickly and be out of my way. He seemed very nice at first, but it was an election year. He began ranting about people on the left and about certain deranged people who think they should have special rights to marry other people of the same sex.

My stomach went sour. Steam started coming out from my ears. Trying to be halfway decent, I told him that I didn’t discuss politics while I was eating and to please stop the discussion. He continued his tirade. I stood up and told him that my daughter was a lesbian and that his comments were not appreciated or appropriate in my home. I said, “Please stop talking and do your work, or leave.” He got quiet, mumbling to himself as he finished up the repair. When he was done, he snapped, “Well I guess I won’t be asked to come and fix your stove again!” My reply was,“You Betcha! Now tell me how much I owe you for the repair and get out of my house.”

To say that I was angry would be an understatement. I was crimson with rage. Hot tears streamed down my face, and I began my own rant to my husband, Bill, a member of the same choirI belong to, who was agreeing with me all the way.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision to give marriage rights to all gays and lesbians no matter what state they live in was a landmark decision that will join the ranks of others: Giving women the right to vote, giving African Americans the right to vote, Roe vs. Wade, and so many others.

I’m proud to say that my daughter is a lesbian, a member of a community filled with love, and has been sticking it out to fight for her rights. I’m even more proud that our country is standing up for and offering support to her and her brothers and sisters.

In the wake of all landmark decisions there are always disagreements and nay sayers who can make the climate uncomfortable and even dangerous. Those who don’t agree with big changes do have a right to disagree and protest, just as the gay and lesbian community had the same rights to protest their treatment.

However, it does not give anyone the right to be hateful. I allow myself to listen and discuss just about anything, but only if hatred is left at the door and tolerance fills the room where we talk.

Have you seen those bumper stickers on the back bumpers of cars saying: “I’m A Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student at Such and Such High School?”

Well, I have a new one I’d like to get printed out and put on my back bumper:

“I’m The Proud Parent Of A Lesbian.”

Around The World In Fifteen Days With Only One Stop

IMG_0787I’ve been home for just over two weeks since we returned from London.  The first week was great.  The second week I had a nasty cold. I’m over it and the jet lag, though last Saturday’s time change is setting me back a bit. I’m very happy to be home. It’s no fun being sick when you’re away from your own space and without the usual comforts I keep stashed away for just such an occasion. Like my  “Sure-to-Cure” Elderberry syrup and sweat inducing chicken soup, filled with big chunks of carrots, parsnips, shredded chicken, and brown rice. I frequently clicked the heels of my ruby red slippers together while sniffling away, and repeated “There is no place like home.”  But I didn’t wake up like Dorothy did, to find myself in my own bed with Auntie Em and Toto welcoming me home.

But really, it wasn’t all that bad. The Organic Planet grocery shop right around the corner from the flat we rented was a huge help. They had dynamic smoothies and carrot/apple/ginger juice which I enjoyed several times a day at the peek of feeling aweful.  And I wasn’t alone.  Bill got it too. But it wasn’t like the time we both got the flu with severe body aches and fevers while visiting New York City.  We were staying in a not so great hotel in Chinatown, that didn’t have room service. It was in the middle of winter with snow on the ground and freezing cold winds whipping through the canyons between skyscrapers.

We arrived in England to temps in the 70’s with clear skies and sun, though it turned into typical London weather a few days later with on and off rain and a bit of a chill.  Our second day out, we walked four miles through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, enjoying the glorious day, the swans adrift on the pond, and lots of dogs running free, playing frisbee or ball with their people.  We ate a lovely lunch right in Hyde Park and in the evening went to St. Martin in the Fields to hear the music of Beethoven and a host of other composers. How sweet it was. The following night we met a friend and went to see the play, “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time.”  It was a “WOW” show. Bill has written up a brief review of it and the other shows we saw, on his blog if you’re interested.

The first week ended perfectly with an overnight to Canterbury where we caught up with friends we haven’t seen in years, their gorgeous daughter, and amazing grandchildren. Back in the city we returned from dinner and a movie to find a terrorist arrest happening just around the block from our flat. There were dozens of police, guns, roads roped off, and gawkers standing about.

Then the “Cold” hit the fan. During “Much Ado About Nothing,” with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones, my throat was sore and my nose started running a marathon. I had no tissues with me. Despite the big names, we were both unimpressed with the show. At intermission we hightailed it out of there and went home to bed. I pushed myself to go out a few nights later for dinner and another show, (Ibsen’s, “Ghosts,”) with friends. The meal, the show, and seeing our friends were great, but I was feeling worse and by then Bill was sick as well.

We spent the next few days, like two caged birds, lying about and shlepping out to the Organic Planet for juice, lozenges, and vitamin C, while mountains of yucky tissues were building around us.  Happily I read a lot and finished up Part II of my memoir.

Bored and pretending he felt better, Bill took in two more plays while I languished at home. Stubborn as mules, we took to walking again, saw a few movies and made a visit to the fabulous, Chelsea Physic Gardens, where I was in seventh heaven.  It is a small (3 1/2 acre) garden with plants that are used for food, medicine, and cosmetics.  Before we went, I envisioned shelves of the gift shop filled with plant tinctures and bottles of elderberry syrup to help me get through our upcoming return journey across the Atlantic.  No such luck, but I did enjoy a delicious salad made from plants grown right there.  Then there was the arduous seven and three-quarter hour flight back to Washington which made things even worse. I was weak, impatient to get home and very grouchy.

IMG_0885Would I do it again? You betcha!

Getting out of town and our own country to see what is happening in the rest of world is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself and your kids. It is a learning experience that brings new perspectives on how we view ourselves and the world around us. I haven’t been out the country for a long time and while I was busy here at home, I found out that we are becoming one big global village. In some ways it’s frightening, but it’s also very exciting.  If the creek don’t rise and I continue to have the stamina to spend all those miserable hours just getting there and back, I’ll go again and hopefully to other places on my bucket list as well.

The last time I was in London was well over ten years ago. Things have changed. This time, walking down the streets, I heard languages from every corner of the planet. I heard much less English.  While the U.S.A. is mostly attracting people from South and Central America, England and the rest of Europe are attracting people from the Middle-East, the Balkans, Asia, and North Africa. Food from all over the world is served in an amazing variety of restaurants. In some areas of the city, women with head covering or full face coverings are a common sight, as well men sitting at outside cafe’s smoking hooka pipes.  When I left on this journey I didn’t realize I was going to have a mind-bending cultural tour around the world.

I came to realize that we as human beings are doing what we have always done: migrating from our homelands to find a place where we imagine work is easier to find and we’ll feel safer. But we’re doing it on a much grander scale than ever. Many of us are uncomfortable and threatened by the many problems it brings. I see us needing to begin adapting to an era of change, in which the entire world becomes the melting pot. Hopefully we will tolerate and celebrate each other’s cultures with love, not war.

If anybody out there wants to know what is really happening beyond your back yard, buy a plane ticket. Go visiting instead of relying on American media to show and tell. In a country that is as close culturally as we can get to our own, I found the whole world just waiting for me to step into it.

IMG_0848Yes, at heart I’m a homebody. Yes, it was hard. Yes, I was sick. Yes, I came home exhausted and I was at times unnerved by the numbers of people I had to navigate through. But I had a look into what the future is perhaps going to look like. I came home a much more tolerant person and hopefully wiser. All in all, it was simply a lovely time.