A week ago I was coming home from Baltimore after being dropped off at BWI airport by my parents and my sister. It was the most family-centric thing I've done in a while, and I felt really odd about it.
Things started out badly as American Airlines decided to cancel my 6:25 am flight, and we found out about it as I was trying to look up the gate for the plane on Chris' Trio as were were driving out to DFW. By the time I could get an agent on the phone to reschedule, we had already gotten to the terminal. we turned back and tried to sleep for a couple of hours at home before again making the trip out to the airport for the 10:50 flight.
By the time I land in Baltimore, and my sister, Laura, picks me up, it's really to late to do much besides pick up her still-finance (6 years now) Ed, from work and go out to dinner. As I love to do when I'm in Baltimore, I love to go to Little Italy and have some of the best food. Sure, some people will tell you about crabcakes and seafood, but give me a bowl of tortillini and I'm in heaven.
Laura then tells me the little thing that sets me on edge for the entire visit. My parents are coming out, and yeah, it's been a hard year for them, with some medical issues. my dad's been in recovery from his chemo treatments for a while, and this is there first trip away since then. First laura tells me that my Dad got so weak that he had to be hospitalized and almost could have died. no one had told me this, and it happened two months ago. Secondly, she tells me that he's had a lot of downtime to be thinking about things, and he's come to the conclusion that he's really bugged about my being gay. I thought this was the case, but my family doesn't talk to anyone directly about anything, and in fact, Laura said I should probably not talk about it at all over the visit.
Let's be real here, I'm not going to shut up about what's happening in my life to please my dad. Yeah, I won't outline what happens in the bedroom, but if I'm talking about going to bed, at night to sleep, yes, I'm going to say "we went to bed". I'm going to say Chris' names, and say wee, to say that we're going on a cruise to Alaska. I won't edit Chris out of my life to please my dad.
In a way, I wish Chris could have been there, for one thing, we would have all been in the same bed and breakfast, which could have been real interesting. (Being on my own, I saved by sleeping on my sister's couch.) The Bed and Breakfast is owned by the parents of Laura's hairdressing couple. My parents seem to like the innkeepers, so it's probably the closest thing to a PFLAG meeting I would ever be able to get them to, if they would actually get on that subject. I'm guessing that they didn't, though.
Well, My parents didn't land until late on Sunday, so Laura, Ed and I went out for brunch where Ed and I had our usual political debate (I think he likes Guliani for Pres right now - *shudder*). Laura sits by and waits for us to have it out. Ed gets all blustery while I usually calmly counterpoint. Chris hates this, and my Dad would be on Ed's side, so it was good that neither were there at that point.
We went out to the B&O Railroad Museum that day in the rain. lots of old trains, a few models and some other memorabilia in a large roundhouse once used by the railroad. the B&O is long gone now, merged out of existence by several steps now. There were large diesel engines and small horse-drawn carriages of a long-gone era.
Once my parents got in, it was off for another Italian dinner. We all talked, but mostly things stayed on the safe topics of my parents medical issues and what new buildings were going up in Conroe, Texas since I left a year and a half ago. Can you believe that they have two Best Buys now?
On Monday Laura and I dropped Ed off at work and took their car up to Philadelphia to see the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Field. Laura and Ed only have the one car, so we would have to come back to pick him up after the game. It had been raining for the last few days and I was worried that the rain would call the game, but as we travelled up I-95 the rain ended and we settled for an overcast day of watching the Phillies and San Francisco Giants.
The field is nice, another somewhat retro park with lots of steel beams and brickwork. Different from the more modern Eagles' Football stadium across the parking lot. Our seats were high and in a corner, but still had good views. Except for the Philly Phanatic, we really couldn't see him except for when the big green mass was on the Jumbotron. The Phanatic is probably more famous than any of the Philly players. of course the whole thing was overshadowed by Barry bonds coming up and the crowd booing, hoping that he wouldn't get any closer to Hank Aaron's home run record. Luckily he went 0-4 for the day, but the Phillies lost.
Otherwise, we had a little bit of time to kill to let the main rush hour, so we went downtown and out to Penn's Landing which was pretty much deserted. Back home we went to meet Ed and the parents who had been on the inner harbor of Baltimore most of the day. We went out to Pei Wei where my parents had never been, and I paid, because it looks good.
On my last day we went out to a new hanger in Fairfax, Virginia where the Smithsonian puts it's very large collection of Air and Space vehicles that don't fit into the building in DC. the building is next to Dulles airport and it's huge. They have hundreds of aircraft in there, including the Enola Gay, A 747 and the Concorde. They also have the Space shuttle Enterprise there, the one the fans of Star Trek named. Of course, if they waited a ship or two, they could have had one that actually went into space. You can go up several leves, which is good because they have many of the planes hung like they were model aircraft in a kids room.
Now we had to get from Dulles Airport to BWI so I could get on my 6:25 flight back to Dallas, so it's time to get on the never ending parking-lot of the Washington beltway. luckily my dad was driving, so i slept. i had been getting a cold, so I was on corisidan and was out of it. luckily the traffic was so bad that we couldn't go to my Dad's destination - the NRA museum. it would have only been good if Charlton Heston was stuffed in it.
i hadn't seen my parents in a year, and it was remarkable the changes. they are both in their mid sixties, so I wouldn't necessarily think of it as old - that's more like 70's and 80's now, but they were looking old, and moreso, frail. My mother has developed a pronounced stoop, and my dad's hair had fallen out from the chemo and was now coming in white. I guess I'm coming to grips that they won't be here forever, but it seems like it may be coming faster than i thought.
I would have liked to talk to my dad a little more about my life, and let him know I'm OK, and I'm very happy to be who I am. I guess it will have to wait until we can actually have some time apart from everyone else, but I feel like I'm going to have to have that talk with him soon. I don't like him telling my sister things, and not coming to me as well, especially when it's serious.
Well, Laura said that she sees herself staying in Baltimore for another year. Last year she seemed to think that she wanted to move back to Texas, but now see sees some other opportunities on the East Coast, so i may get another chance to get up there and see a National's game up in DC. For now, I've got another park crossed off my list.
If you want to see a few pictures I took, take a look at this flickr page
. There's a couple of pics of my parents in there.