Sunday in the Park with Brian: Therapy Session #31 (The “The Two Ships in the Night” Version)

Greetings, fellow keyboardists.

This week’s Park Lark will be a bit briefer than you might normally expect from such things, mainly because I started out with one intention in mind and then I became distracted by something else. (On a related note, this perfectly describes my romantic adventures in college, when I was a bit of an unfocused tramp. Let’s just say that I welcomed a challenge, and we’ll leave it at that.)

I was piddling in the archives, as I am wont to do whilst searching for inspiration, and my random clicking eventually led to me revisiting comments on past posts. I believe I’ve said it before (although this might be a lie, unfocused tramps often resort to such) that sometimes, here at Bonnywood, the comment threads often turn out to be much more enriching than the posts that inspired the threads. That being the case, I’d like to share two snippets from two conversations, both of them involving how we strive to be better, or we at least hope that we are.


The first is from “Peace in Our Time”, one of my recollections about growing up gay in Oklahoma, with the lovely Christi chiming in…

C.J. Hartwell: This was powerful! Well done, Brian from 6 years ago, and well done Brian from today, choosing to post it intact.I graduated in 1982, in Phoenix — bigger city and maybe a bigger school than yours, but hate is hate wherever you live. I can remember how loosely those derogatory words were thrown about, or the taunting song the football players would sing whenever someone walked by whom they suspected was gay. (My God, why was it always the football players? Was there some requirement they be assholes?)

Years later when I became more aware, I wondered at the cruelty handed out to anyone who was different, and we just accepted it? Why was it never questioned?I work at a high school now — I’m admin assistant to the principal — and you wouldn’t believe the changes! Students seem much more accepting, there’s a LBGTQ club on campus and it’s well attended, by both gay and straight students. It really is remarkable how much better the climate is, although I know it’s not perfect — hatred and ignorance can never be completely erased. Even so, there are signs.

In March of this year, the church denomination I belong to voted to allow gay marriage — which was a long time coming but still a surprise. Then in June when I woke up to hear the Supreme Court decision, it blew my mind! It feels like we’re living in a new age, doesn’t it? I mean, I realize it’s far from over, that there is still so much to do, but … well, it seems possible now, right? That more and more, people will be allowed to love who they want to love. And others, the ones who hate them for it, will get smaller and smaller, until one day, no one can hear them anymore.

Anyway, wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this post.

Peace out.

Me: Wow, this comment could be a blog post on its own, and deservedly so. That last full paragraph is very heart-warming, culminating in the great hope that “no one can hear them anymore”. (I think I got something in my eye while I was reading that, dang it.)

And yes, it did always seem to be the football players, right? At least it was in my case, for the most part. It was such an overwhelming aspect of high school at that time. Football was King, the star players were gods, infallible, and the rest of us did our best to stay out of their way. (I’m exaggerating a bit, but not really, especially in Oklahoma.) You are spot-on in highlighting the cruelty that was blithely accepted in those days. So much pain, discounted, ignored. Then again, we didn’t know any differently. It was the culture of the time. Individuals could be enlightened, but the masses could turn on the TV and get their prejudices reinforced with nearly every program.

It’s nice to hear that some school systems, these days, are moving toward tolerance, but as you mention, we’re not quite there yet. It hits me in the gut every time I hear a news story about a gay teen suicide, often the result of bullying by peers, a despicable activity that has actually been made easier by the throw-a-brick-and-run ease of social media. (Sometimes modern inventions have their downside, despite good intentions.) So we have to keep fighting, for ourselves, for each other, for decency. And one of the ways we do that is for someone like you to have honest, supportive conversations with someone like me.

Thank you.


Next, we have the post “Tulsa Flashback: Shotgun Sam’s, A Woman with Issues, and Some Really Bad Porn”. The equally lovely Claudette provides her thoughts on the proceedings…

Claudette: I shudder to think what an urchin you must have been. Surely you were destined to become a Super Villain Megalomaniac and rule the world but somehow you subverted your natural tendency and turned into a decent, loving, good person.

Me: Thank you so much, Claudette. I’ll admit that I was a challenging young urchin, mainly because I was instantly given the mark of the beast since I dared to ask questions, something one didn’t do in rural Oklahoma. You were expected to accept the conservative party line, to swallow the tenets in a manner akin to some form of personal rapture, and then march forth into the land, spreading said gospel. I couldn’t do it. Granted, I was much more hesitant than some of my stories might imply, but the fire was there. And then I met other people who questioned, other folks who did not fit into the status quo and wanted change. So, I slowly learned to turn my anger into empowerment. I never got to wear the Super Villain suit, despite the fleeting appeal it might have. But I did get to wear jeans and a t-shirt, and I got to know more people who understand that jeans can come in all colors and none of those colors are any less worthy. So, I keep typing and hoping and working toward a day when nobody feels inferior because they don’t fit a mold that somebody else created…


Bottom-line motivation for this post? Please feel comfortable in speaking your mind here at Bonnywood. The sharing of honesty and compassion is a wonderful thing. Unlike some sites (no names should be mentioned, according to my lawyer, Scotch the Cat) I do carefully review all comments and contemplate fully an appropriate response, even if it takes me decades to follow through. And sometimes those comments end up in a burgeoning file that I open up from time to time and remember when, gently touching the words that touched me.

Peace out, peace in, peace.


25 replies »

  1. Thank you. 🙂 Yes, the sharing of honesty and sharing is wonderful.

    I am also glad at how things have changed. I remember years ago when someone I knew (not very well at that time) complained about gays being “allowed” to get married (in Canada). I actually convinced her of the rightness of that – one of the few times I’ve ever convinced anyone of anything. We are now friends. So, as CJ Hartwell says, in time, we won’t hear them any more. Or maybe, no one will be saying it any more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think Christi is on the right track with “we won’t hear them”, but I’d love it even more if it it eventualised that folks didn’t even think there was a difference in anyone lovig anyone else, and therefore neve thought they had to say anything about it at all except “congratulations”!
    P.S I had to revisit the post (I am sure that your canny little urchin brain realised that I would have too) to remember it at all, and it was as entertaining as the first time round. I always find it so weird to read things I have written, and not remember it, but sadly it is happening more and more lately. Only today my oldest talked a bout a childhood injury that resulted in having to go to the Dr on a Sunday – and it is a complete blank to me (wish I coud say this was caused by some outside influence, butbasically it seems the “remembery” bits just don’t anymore!!!).
    Thanks for attributing some “touchy feels” to my words, not sure I deserve it, but Thanks. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really love your opening comments, as “congratulations” really should be the only thing we have to say when two people find each other…

      Now, this memory thing, I was just having another conversation with Christi wherein we were bemoaning our apparently depleted brain cells. She confessed to not always remembering some of my stories. I confessed to not always remembering WRITING them. I’ll stumble across a file, not recognize the title, open it up, and get several paragraphs in before I realize what the dang thing is even about. Granted, this is usually with the really old stories, from back in the day when I was churning out two or three posts a day for multiple blogs, but still, it’s a little sad.

      But as long as I can remember my own name every morning, I’m going to call it good…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Um… yeah, so I’m reading and thinking, “did I write this? He says I did, and yeah I graduated in ’82, but um…” So just like Claudette I had to go back and refresh my memory. This was a ways back, like almost to when we first met, yeah? Good times, good times.
        Love the idea of this post, by the way, and not just because I was highlighted. Sometimes there are comments that are just too golden to forget. What a wonderful way to showcase them. Thanks, friend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep, it was one of our first serious conversations, right around the time of my infamous snafu of calling you by the wrong name in your Blogger Spotlight. (I know, I keep going back to that mess, but I was truly mortified and simply cannot get over it.) I am SO glad I decided at some point to start saving my favorite comment snippets, as it’s been a treasure trove, especially on a personal level…

          Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like plan then 🙂 onfess to waking int he middle of the night and forgetting what day i was/is going to be. Not a nice feeling- especially when I think it is the weekend, but it actually isn’t yet 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent! I was just talking to a friend about how gay couples are shown a lot on TV and they are becoming less ‘ a gay couple’ and more a ‘couple’! We all bleed the same colour. We are all ‘people’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely conversations to read–especially after this week of strife, conflict, and occasional hope. Is the 2018 equivalent to clueless high school football-player-bullies the Republican old guard on the Senate Judiciary Committee (and elsewhere)? Time to sweep them all into the dustbin and let them dodder into obscurity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After spending far too much of my Thursday with TV on, it’s hard to think that maybe someday we can get to the point of tolerance and acceptance. I love what C.J. Hartwell said, along with wihat Claudette and you both said and I try to keep hoping, but politics today do not make it easy. I have a friend who ignores, but I cannot because what they do has a major affect on all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hear you completely. We’ve been fighting the good fight for so long now, and things seem to be getting worse, aided and strongly abetted by the unrepentant bully in the White House. But here’s the thing: Trump represents a MINORITY view. Poll after poll shows that. It’s just Republicans have a stranglehold on power right now and they are abusing the hell out of it. The pendulum always swings back to progress. But it is our job to give it momentum…

      Liked by 1 person

      • And get out and vote, then hope cooler heads prevail and hope that we can regain a modicum of sense and integrity. We have slid so far down the slippery slope it is going to require a lot of hope and a lot of work.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. ❤ . Odd how coincidence works – today I was reading something 'religious' (from the files of Mormon type literature) and the woman who wrote the article I read said something that made my mouth drop open, literally. She is a woman of power – one of the high muckety-mucks in one of the organizations (and actually she might not be any longer – she wrote the remarks in 2013 and Mormons turn over their staff frequently to save the angst and stress (pressure and so forth) of being a high muckety muck)..ANYWAY (I digress and I meant this to be short, swear! 😉 ) She said that she was 'simply average'. Not exactly pretty, in fact she said someone told her once that she wasn't pretty, but with some work she might be 'cute'… I've NEVER heard any leader in the Women's organizations of my church admit to such a thing. I've even entertained thoughts about 'Stepford Wives' about some of these women because they look, act and speak 'perfectly.' How this ties into your thoughtful post today (and I admit to wiping a tear), is that yes times they are a 'changin'. Even if former football players (presumably) get into some really cushy jobs despite being former football players (no offense to football players – hate is hate.). I keep hearing that line from "Victor/Victoria" "If you didn't want to get beat up, you became a tough s.o.b. football player" when Alex Caracas (sp??) came out to James Garner. One never knows what posturing goes on in the hearts of young men…some are oddly the same as 'us'. Good to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, you never should feel compelled to keep it short. Swear. I love your comments and will happily read away deep into the night.

      Second, regarding the Muckety Muck, isn’t it amazing when someone opens up and lets the humanity slip out?

      Third, times ARE changing, despite Neanderthal hiccups like Trump and his rabid supporters.

      Fourth, I love “Victor/Victoria”.

      Fifth, I believe you are saying that some of the high-school football-player bullies had their own secrets they were desperately trying to hide.

      Sixth, you would be right. 😉


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