Most of you know that I grew up in a very small town in Indiana – on a farm, in fact. Yeah, stow away all the romantic thoughts you have of growing up on a farm because there’s nothing great about it. It’s hard work –all the time. There’s nothing great about having to roll out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to feed the cows or better yet go find them because they got out. Nothing great about having to come home from school and work until dinner time. Fortunately, I had a mother who put her foot down later in my teenage years and let me join all kinds of sports and band. I joined every band activity I could – orchestra band, marching band, drum and bugle corp and let’s not forget jazz band where we performed at every game imaginable. That got me out of the farm work indefinitely. During this time my bestie was my first cousin – Jace. We hung out together all the time. So much, in fact that our parents accused us of dating each other – which, couldn’t be farther from the truth because we were both secretly in the closet.
After our senior year Jace moved to Florida where he came out. I quietly came out years later – after college, in fact, because I was afraid that if my parents found out they would yank me out. I could totally see them saying that college making me gay. This is how backwards the general mentality is where I came from. I didn’t completely come out until I moved to Atlanta and was paying my own bills.
Jace is married to his husband, Diego– who he’s been with for almost 30 years. They built a McMansion in our hometown and he started an IT business he runs out of their basement with 4 employees. We have another cousin who is gay as well. Eventually, the family has come around to our sexuality – I think old age mellows some people. They don’t have the energy to fight anymore. Plus, us gays are starting to outnumber the straights in my family because Jace’s younger brother Michael – who is the only kid in the family to produce offspring just found out that two of his kids Emilio and Samantha are gay.
Now there’s five (six if you count Diego) of us cousins who are gay. Michael is not thrilled that two of his kids are gay. In fact, shit hit the fan this week when it was Samantha’s turn to come out. All I can say is at least they’re healthy and aren’t doing drugs. My uncle – Jace’s father and my father’s brother keeps asking Emilio (who at 10 is very effeminate) if he wants to grow up and drive bulldozers.
Of course Emilio doesn’t want to drive bulldozers – he probably wants to go to New York and be on Broadway since the last time I was home I asked him what he had been up to and he told me he was in The Sound of Music at school. Samantha is in to women’s basketball and sports. I’m trying to get Michael to let me fly her down here for a visit so I can take her to a game. But, I’m going to wait for the dust to settle before I push anymore.
The holidays are about to get more interesting in that family is all I’ve got to say.