Todd My Cousin

Tickling the Boundaries of Trouble
I am thankful for the memories…..
2013 has been a bugger of a year for me! Four people who once shared my life have been enveloped by the dubious wonder of death and no longer walk this earth. Wednesday, November 6th, Todd Alexander Doughtie my first cousin was the fourth one to be taken. I desperately tried to find a photo to honor him on my Facebook page however I after searching, sadly realized I didn’t even have one. Therefore, I sit here with only the help of words instead of pixels, and it is with this media I will attempt to paint his picture. Todd and I were buddies that lived on the same dead end dirt road named Wood Street. It was on Washboard Avenue (the roads nickname because of the ruts that layered her path) that we as children had fun and through this fun we often found trouble. Or rather Trouble found us! Either way we were habitually in cahoots with said entity! These antics would find us playing backyard football, BB gun shooting, including the time Todd accidentally shot my big toe, fishing in the creek and cooking and making messes in the kitchen. However, there is one memory that remains constant in my mind. On this particular day we found ourselves being cared for by our Grandmother while our parents were taking care of business whether it be work, groceries or paying bills… we cared less, our mission that we chose to accept was finding adventure and warding off boredom. Therefore we took our five year old bodies into the wondrous woods that boarded the parameters of our Grandmothers back yard. Laughing and giggles prevailed as we scrambled deeper into the forest and finally reached the creek. There we clambered over fallen logs and even found some rotten dislodged trunks in which were able to maneuver into makeshift boats to carry us over the murky water. It was so much fun that I almost forgot about the god-awful dress I was wearing. I HATED dresses and by Golly I was not going to let it ruin my day with my cousin. Both of us became lost is our rapture floating in our pretend canoes, so much so that we were, at first, oblivious to the faint cries wafting through the trees. That is until the sound finally slivered like a snake into our ears. “Todd….Lisa!” …our Grandmother’s freighted voice interrupted our euphoria like the needle being ripped across a vinyl 45 record. Shit…we’ve been missed. We hurried back falling over bramble that we had mastered on the trip in. Finally pulling away the branches we saw our apron clad grandmother standing with hands on hips at the foot of the back door steps. We stood there transfixed and witnessed her face transpose from fear to relief and then into something akin to anger. Slowly I trudged onward, cheeks flaming head down toward my Grandmother all the while assuming that Todd had fallen in step beside. However, a quick zip that skidded past the corner of my eye confirmed he had run away to hide from the arms that were soon the spank my naked hinny!
Now I’m almost 50 years old but I still smile and shake my head every time this memory crosses my mind. It was just like my Toddy-Boy to be mischievous and escape where I was always the sucker who chose instead to walk the plank. I love you Todd and I treasure the memories I have of you! I realize that you’ve once again ran ahead where I’m here left to walk this path. I look forward to the day when we are reunited and can once again conjure new ways to tickle the boundaries of trouble.


Who REALLY Killed the Cat?


Who REALLY killed the cat?

Did curiosity REALLY kill the cat?  Was it colonel Mustard in Library with the dreaded wrench or Ms. Scarlet in the parlor with a rope?  And so the murder mystery begins!   Remember the old Parker Brothers game, CLUE?   Next to Monopoly, it was one of my favorite games.  I could spend hours with either one when the weather smacked of rain and held me prisoner within the walls of our small house.   Clue became one of my favorite “get-out-of-jail” passes!  However, when the weather was nice these pigtails were outside wearing a cowboy hat and a pair of pistols on each hip.   The cotton  fields of NC were magically transformed into a landscape of swinging saloon doors, dusty ghost towns with an abundance of wafting tumble weeds.   Needless to say I, like my feline friends, became a vessel of imagination and curiosity personified.  These memories make me happy and make me fall in love with that little child still inside me.  It has taken almost fifty years to come to this revelation but I can honestly say I am finally comfortable and at peace with my identity.   You know what they say, better late than never, and I concur.  It feels damn good and so it is from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head that I offer a hardy “thank you” to my childhood companion, Curiosity.

How did Curiosity become a cold blooded cat killer?  I didn’t know so once again I let my fingers do the walking and Google do the talking.   The saying originated in 1598 from British writer, Ben Johnson, who wrote plays for a young actor named William Shakespeare.  Mr. Johnson chose the word care instead of curiosity when he wrote, “Helter Skelter, hang sorrow, care’ll kill a Cat…”   His intent was to infer that too much worry was unhealthy and could eventually wear out the nine lives of a cat.  Through the years the writings of many authors tarnished the idea of being too curious.   St. Augustine claimed Hell was fashioned for the inquisitive and Lord Byron called it “that low vice,” and John Clarke wrote, “He that pryeth into every cloud may be struck with a thunderbolt.”  As time passed the word curiosity became substitute for care and as result the proverb “curiosity killed the cat” was coined.

Like my beloved cat, I am curious by nature and perhaps that is why the old saying, has never sat well within my craw.  I agree that too much curiosity and nosiness can breed all kinds of trouble.  God knew this so He graciously provided something called common sense.  Sad to say, it is a commodity that idiots rarely employ.  Come on people, let’s get a CLUE!  Stop blaming curiosity and place the blame where the blame belongs:   Stupidity is the one that killed the cat; Curiosity was framed!

I am convinced that it is “Curiosity” that takes us by the hand and leads us into a treasure trove of knowledge.   So,  go ahead, ask a question…ask a lot of questions!    “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)

Gay Christians…Is It Possible?

On Religion…and Coming Out68418_10151222896776769_1533904219_n

Corinne and I are reading the book, “21 Ways to Finding Peace and Happiness.” As many of you know we work opposite shifts so we each read the same snippet during our respective times off and then journal our thoughts and ideas in the same composition book. It feels good to have this connection with her. The week can be long when you don’t see much of one another, but this exercise has helped me to feel closer to the one I love. Also it gives me better insights to her inner emotions and often leads to very interesting conversations on the weekends. I love weekends!
I have a very religious background which did not couple well with the fact that I am also gay. Needless to say this has been quite the struggle for me since early childhood. As a result I have a hard time listening to evangelical Christians. They make me angry and all I want to do is close my ears to everything they say and every jot and tittle they write. I’ve felt like this for a long time even years before I came out. Sometimes the feelings are so strong they become destructive to my own growth as an individual. I become obstinate and close my eyes and ears to the good things evangelicals have to offer. So there I was, “throwing out the baby with the bath water!” It took me a long time to realize that I had become just as legalistic and judgmental as those I was trying to ignore.
It’s still a struggle, but I do try to keep an open mind to the teachings I grew up with. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything I was spoon fed but at the same time I am aware that I was fed a heaping amount of good along with the bad. Enter this book that Corinne and I are reading. I don’t have to agree with everything this woman writes or everything this woman teaches, but I am smart enough to know that I can learn some things that will indeed lead me to a better understanding of peace. For instance today’s snippet encouraged the reader to study the teachings of Jesus and to imitate His life. Jesus reached out to the outcast. He healed the sick. He fed the hungry and gave comfort to the poor. He listened to children and gave ear to the thoughts and ideas of downtrodden women. Jesus cried and had great compassion. Jesus used his life to help those less fortunate. Jesus did not make a profit off those he sought to help. He had no home, no bed to call his own. Jesus chose to bleed and die because He believed it to be the only way to save mankind.
Do I have to agree with everything this writer pens in her book? I am now secure enough within myself to say, “No, I don’t agree with you, but at the same time I’m sure you do have valuable insights that could help me become a better person.” Those are the things I will continue to look for. Everyone has something to teach us and it’s up to us to open our eyes and learn of them.
Would to God that everyone would model their lives after Jesus, especially those that call themselves religious!