If This Was a Normal Year (Ha! Ha!) Today Would Have Been the Last Day of Midwest Men’s Festival

But this isn’t a “normal” year is it? Nope. Not at all. It is the weirdest and possibly hardest year of my life. And darnit, I want it to be over. On the other hand, if there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s not to wish away my life. Because I honestly don’t know how much life I have left.

I think about some of the best friends I’ve had in my life, Paulle Jung Morvant-Alexander and Joanne Papin, and so many ohters. They were not expecting their last day and–wham–it came. Jo went in for exploratory surgery to find out why she was fainting and before the operation even started, she was gone. Paulle had just defeated cancer *again* and collapsed and was gone a week later due to brain cancer–and people who saw her in those last few days saw in her eyes that she was *pissed* about it. She had a book to finish–and she was a wonderful writer. So was Jo.

This year does suck. The surgery on my shoulder has been rough enough that I am still at that point where I don’t know if I am glad I got it or not. The Cheeto is doing terrible things, and good God what if he wins again? What if he loses? What revenge will he seek on us in those last months he holds office? There are personal issues and issues with my job and of course there is Covid and all it has done. Geeze what I would do to see a movie! There are these terrible race riots that I hope and pray will one day turn out to have some kind of silver lining.

And what the heck could I possibly mean by that? Well, for instance, AIDS was (is) hideous and all those that died, all those friends I lost, it was beyond horrible. No describing it. The lives lost, the talent snuffed away, the art and music and laughter lost because if it. What would this world be like if we still had those wonderful people in our lives, still had them doing the wonders that they they did? On the other hand, historians now say that it quite probably wound up thrusting GLBT rights decades faster than might have happened by showing the world that gay people were their friends, their doctors, their teachers, their fathers, their favorite actors, their sons, their plumbers, their protectors, their gardeners, their next door neighbors. Would it be a hideous thing for me to hope that maybe, maybe, BLM and all that goes with it, might have equally good consequences? Could this finally be the difference, or a major one, as when those four girls were killed in that church explosion in Alabama. I hope that I didn’t just infuriate anyone with those words.

Please know I didn’t mean to, any more than I think it was worth it to lose my friends Mark, and Stephen, and DeeDee, and David and Joe, just so gay rights could be advanced.

And boy, is this all a tangent from where I started? That had this been a somewhat normal year (and what is normal really?) then this morning I would be packing up my car of my finial things and cleaning my cabin as best as I could and hanging out by the kitchen to see what food items they are giving away and waiting to pose for a picture with those who stayed on to the last day and then hugging and kissing and heading out into the muggle world for another year.

Each year Midwest Men’s Festival gives me the charge, the re-boot, the spiritual revival I need to get through the year. And boy oh boy was there ever a year that I needed boosting more? Ah! That was the reason for this tangent!

I end this “essay” by posting some of my favorite pictures from recent Festivals, some my own and some posted by other men. I look at them and I love them and I think about them and cherish them and start the countdown for next year. For surely next year will be better, right?

It must! And I pray for leadership that can do some repair.

I pray for all my friends (and more) of color and I pray that white-privilege eyes to see them in new light (and I thank those who showed me that I do indeed have white privilege). I pray for a cure to Covid and so many other sicknesses. I pray that I won’t lose a MMF friend before next year, one that I could have hugged and laughed with and skinny dipped with one more time before they joined my ancestors. And I pray that I can write again, for it is in writing that I find my joy.

I pray for the best. The best for me and my family and my family of choice and for all of you and for all the world.

Because in the end. that’s really all I can do….

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