Our only other "date" was in late April or early May, when Jermaine invited me to spend the weekend at his Uncle Titus's house for his fiftieth birthday party.
"Are you sure?" I asked. "It sounds like a family affair."
"Absolutely! I used to visit Uncle Titus every summer, and I brought friends along all the time."
I was definitely interested -- not only to spend a weekend with Jermaine, but to see if I could get a Sausage Sighting. Maybe his super-gigantic Kovbasa++++ ran in the family. Maybe Uncle Titus was even bigger!
Uncle Titus was an engineer, and Aunt Emily (who died a few years ago) worked for the Dover school system. They had no children of their own, so they "adopted" Jermaine and his brothers and cousins, taking them on ski trips and bike trips and tours of historic sites, having them for week-long visits at Christmastime and during the summer, in pairs and groups.
On Friday, Jeremaine drove down from Boston, picked me up, and drove us south four hours, past Philadelphia to Bowers Beach, Delaware.
A small town near Dover, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Murderkill River.
"Sounds gruesome, doesn't it? There's even a local legend about some settlers being murdered by Indians here. But it was originally Mother Kiln. I guess they made pottery."
"So, what did you do during your summer visits?"
"Oh, it was great. Uncle Titus and Aunt Emily had a boat and two canoes. We went swimming and fishing."
My heart sank. I hated activities requiring you to leave dry land. "I guess it's too early in the year for that sort of thing."
"Oh, no, we go out year around. We'll go out tomorrow morning before the party."
We pulled up to a big yellow house only half a block from the ocean. I shivered in the cold wind.
Unfortunately, it only got colder.
1. There was no romping with roomsful of young, muscular African-American men. All of the other party guests drove up from Baltimore or Washington DC for the day, so Jermaine and I had an upstairs bedroom and bathroom to ourselves. It was ungodly cold. Uncle Titus was a fresh-air nut, and left all the windows open all the time.
2. We got up early to go for a boat ride, shivering in the cold as salt air whipped in our faces.
3. The party was held on the beach, with Uncle Titus opening presents and being toasted with champagne as salt air whipped in our faces.
4. I was the only white guy and nearly the only gay guy among the 30 or so party guests. Almost everyone was friendly and accommodating, but I got frosty glares from an uncle and a cousin who didn't like white people, or gay people, or both.
5. We went out to dinner at 7:00 pm at a place called the Wharf, which was actually on the wharf. You ate outside. In the cold and the dark, with the sound of seagulls and crashing waves. Then we walked home. In the cold and the dark.
6. It was pleasant to sleep under a thick quilt, with Jermaine snuggling against me, but sheer torture to get up in the middle of the night, tip-toe naked into the bathroom, and sit down on a frigid toilet seat directly beneath an open window.
7. On Sunday morning, Uncle Titus woke us at dawn. "How about a nice swim before you head back up north?
Are you kidding? I thought. The water must be like ice!
"Um...I didn't...I didn't bring a swimsuit."
"That's ok. No one is around at this hour. We can go in the buff."
"Buff?" I repeated, shocked.
Jermaine patted my back. "No big deal. My cousins and I do it all the time!"
Thinking I was shy, Titus said "Don't worry. I'll go naked too, if it will make you feel more comfortable."
I agreed, thinking that I could finally get that Sausage Sighting, find out if Jermaine's huge endowment ran in the family!
I only made it ankle-deep. The wind was whipping through me, and the water made my feet numb.
But it was worth it when they turned and ran toward the waiting towels, Jermaine's spectacular beneath-the-belt gifts swinging between his legs, and Uncle Titus's....
Perfectly ordinary. Even a little small.
Of course, it shrinks in cold water. Maybe I should try again in a sauna.
See also: The Biggest Guy on My Sausage List.; and My Top 15 Sausage Sightings.