Tuesday, October 31, 2006
In French, the romantic words "le pays des contes" means once upon a time. So "Once Upon a Time" there was a lonely guy named Michael. Although he had found love before, it had been many years since that day when his first love passed from this planet blue. And then one day in March of 1999, Michael went on line on AOL and found a great guy named John Calvin Long-- living in Phoenix, Arizona, no less. Now since Michael had just lost a six month boyfriend who also lived in Phoenix-- and had even contemplated moving to this Sun City with him, you might have thought that the mere mention of the word "Phoenix"-- city or otherwise would have been the biggest turn off of them all. But no, because you see, Michael was an absolute, one hundred percent romantic and maybe the best optimist on the planet! And so, he wrote John a letter telling him all about himself and John wrote promptly back. That was the morning of March 7th, 1999. On that evening, he wrote back and gave his phone number. Michael called him and guess what? I called him on March 8th and that wonderful lyric in that wonderful song "You Had Me At Hello" proved absolutely true. Okay, so this Michael is ME. And I knew in my heart at the moment we said hello that here was somebody very special. He came out to Los Angeles for his birthday and I threw hima celebration like none other. We went to the LA Zoo together. We had a great dinner at Tam O' Shanter in Glendale (which was Walt Disney's favorite restaurant too) and long before that weekend ended, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this wonderfully unique, sweet and caring young man. John was twenty-five at the time and I was 52. I was twice his age-- but we didn't care. We went shopping at the mall in Burbank at Nordtrom's and picked out all the wedding presents, we wanted to receive. I committed to him right there and then and he moved to California on July 1st, 1999. Our commitment ceremony was held seven years ago, today with our friends, Rick, Jimmy and Mara Chapel, Tony Westbrook and Tim Doran in attendance plus our neighbor and friend Sylvia from upstairs. It was great! We had a huge bbq and a wonderful Halloween "Trick or Treat" celebration. I had written the words of our comittment and we each pledged our devotion and promise of fidelity. We've had some anxious moments along the way, but I want to say here and now on this our anniversary, that I love my John even more today than I did then. John is an incredible balance for me I find. I am very impulsive and he is more "feet on the ground" We root for each other. We are there for each other. We give to each other. We live very modestly for now, but who cares? He gives great wisdom that simply amazes me at times. His love of animals is amazing and we share "our baby"--- a big Maine Coon cat named "Simon Peter" His knowledge of plants and flowers is amazing as well. He can identify just about any plant, shrub or tree by name! The secret? Simple. We accept one another as we find them. We don't try to change their dreams, their passions, their habits (good, bad or inbetween) and we are not afraid of saying "I'm sorry, I was wrong!" We simply don't allow a past hurt to bring us down. You can't change the past. You can't cry about it. You can't be angry about it. You can't wish it away or mope about it! We learn from it and move on! As Neil Simon once said "If your still on crutches from something that happened long ago, that long ago might as well be a body bag!-- you're dead and don't know it!" And even if you make it to paradise, you won't have sense enough to crawl out of the damn thing ." That came from Simon's only semi-serious play called "The Gingerbread Lady" about a reforming alcoholic played on stage by Marsha Mason. And so we go on, loving each other. Like any couple, we'll have a disagreement or two-- maybe even a fight-- but so what? My angel mother and father used to argue over the damnedest things you could ever imagine. So I take my John, forever more, warts and all and make the best of these years! And I now tell the whole world-- "I love you, baby, with all my heart and soul--forever more!