Skip to main content

A Happy Fathers Day

A few weeks ago I wrote a rather sad little post about the relationship I'd had with my father. Everything in it was true. There is no changing history, and no back-tracking. Everyone, however, is multi-faceted, including my father, and so today, in honor of Fathers Day, I thought I'd write about the good things that existed between us.

Dad and I used to go on lots of bicycle rides together. It seemed to be something he enjoyed. It appeared to relax him. I, too, enjoyed bike riding. We would traverse Champaign together, going here and there, this part of town to that part of town, often in silence, but an amiable silence. One of our oft-traveled sections was through Kauffman Lake in west Champaign. On the north side of Kauffman is a bike trail that takes you under an interstate, and over to the Parkland College area. For some reason, I always loved that area.

I remember seeing Pee-Wee's Big Adventure at the theater with my parents, and my dad absolutely loved it. Perhaps it had something to do with the plot? Pee Wee's precious bicycle is stolen, and the film is about his quest to get it back. There's a scene where Pee Wee earns the respect of a rough motorcycle club. They then give him a motorcycle, which he promptly rides for a few feet, then crashes. I remember my dad's raspy laugh echoing throughout the theater when that happened. I also remember really liking Pee Wee's bike, and wanting one like it. My dad got me one.

Then there were all the movies and TV shows that I remember watching with my dad. They used to show a lot of the James Bond movies on TV back in the day (I think it was on ABC), and I enjoyed watching those with him. It was my first time seeing them. When we got our first VCR (that's a Video Cassette Recorder for you kids out there, look it up), my parents rented a lot of Alfred Hitchcock films. Those were fun to watch, and I liked that my dad and I both liked them. And then there were all the mystery TV shows that dad and I both enjoyed: Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Ellery Queen.... the list goes on.

My dad had a somewhat sadistic streak in him. This could manifest itself mildly on occasion, as in the time that our neighbor from across the street, Mr. Shirley, got his truck stuck on the ice in his driveway. My maternal grandmother was visiting for the weekend, and her and I, my dad and my mom were all sitting in the living room when we heard the sound of truck wheels spinning uselessly on the ice. We looked out the front window, and I remember dad just sitting there laughing and laughing at the travails of Mr. Shirley. This went on for several minutes. The poor old neighbor would try moving the truck on the (inclined) driveway, to no avail. He'd then get out and kick the truck. We could tell he was cursing at the situation. My dad laughed and laughed and laughed. He even fell out of his chair at one point.

Oh, and there was the time that I fell down on the sidewalk outside our house. I forget what I was doing, but I fell, and then did that thing that kids do, when they sit in stony silence for a few moments before unleashing an avalanche of screams and tears. Dad ran out of the front door, and scooped me up in his arms and rushed me inside so my mom could tend to my wounds. I don't know if you've ever been held in your father's arms, but it evokes a feeling of total safety and comfort.

So, yes, Lewis Ivy Gladney and I had some good times. He wasn't a perfect man, but he probably did the best he knew how. Sometimes, that's not always what I wanted, or needed, but sometimes it was. The aforementioned occasions reflect the latter. I do miss him on days like today. He was gone too soon.

(from 3:06 to 4:14)


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…