Every year my father celebrated his birthday by hosting a barbecue for his family and friends, held on the Saturday afternoon closest to June 6th. I always tried to schedule my summer visit to Rock Island (up to 1995) or Indianapolis (after 1995) to coincide with it.
Dad died last year, so I assumed that the barbecues were over, until I got a Facebook Instant Message from my sister's son, Joseph, age 27, a doctoral student in Central Asian Languages, at Indiana University.
"I'm continuing Grandpa's tradition of Memorial Day Barbecues at my house. Can you make it? I want to talk to you about something."
"Sure, no problem," I responded, curious. What could he want to talk about. Maybe he wanted to come out!
Even though Joseph married a girl named Jan five years ago, I still think he's gay, or at least bi.
He's flamboyant and theatrical, swishing and limp-wristed, with that nasal "gay accent" voice. He wears bright pastel shirts and tight bulging jeans and plastic bracelets.
Yes, I got a sausage sighting: average, cut.
He belongs to an LGBT news group on Facebook, and he drove his Dad's vintage 1969 car in the Indianapolis Gay Pride Parade.
Definitely coming out. Or -- had he turned fundamentalist, and wanted to quote Leviticus at me?
And I brought along David from San Francisco for moral support -- an ex-Baptist minister with a master's degree in Classics, an expert on the Biblical passages used to promote homophobia.
We arrived on Wednesday and saw my mother and my sister and brother-in-law, but not Joseph, not until Saturday afternoon, the barbecue: hot dogs and hamburgers grilled in the back yard of Joseph's 100-year old house on the South Side of Indianapolis.
How did they afford it, when he was a graduate teaching assistant, and she worked in a museum?
We said hello to Joseph and gave him a gift, then pushed our way through the crowd, saying hello, getting introduced. I counted over 20 adults, plus kids: Joseph and Jan's parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins. All relatives, all heterosexual as far as I could tell -- with one exception.
A young guy on the far side of the yard, talking to Jan. Shorter than me, dark-skinned, square head with heavy eyebrows and a big smile, a v-shaped torso, a hard smooth chest with prominent nipples, a little belly, and heavy, square workman's hands.
"Dibs," I whispered to David, and walked over to introduce myself and cruise him. Heavily.
The full post, with nude photos and sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.