Wednesday, March 14, 2007


When I was with my ex-boyfriend, he would always complain about how unpleasant it was to be around me when I was homesick for my family after I had spent time with them at Christmas or when they visited me here in Chicago.

Of course, he's a prick...

...not that he ever USES his prick, if you get to the... ahem... bottom of my innuendo...

...but it is true that I am always sad for a few days after I see my father or mother or brother.

A couple of years ago, I got a call to audition for one of those Christmastime Holiday plays where you do 486 performances during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Woohoo! What a great gig! Yep, that's the smell of sarcasm.

When the casting director told me that there was a performance on Christmas Eve, I politely declined the audition, explaining to him that I always go home for Christmas - - always - - and since I had a conflict with Christmas performances, I should not audition.

And then this particular casting director went ahead and scheduled the audition for me anyway. The next day, he left me a voicemail message confirming my "audition appointment," and I morphed in Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in that "What the fuck does she have on her face?" kabuki makeup, "Did you polish the bathroom floor today?," "No Wire Hangers!" scene.

I called him up and once again told him I could not audition because I always go home for Christmas.

He said something like, "Well, can't you just NOT go home this Christmas? Just this once?"

Suddenly, I was at the beginning of MOMMIE DEAREST, so what I said next came out slightly like Faye Dunaway's line reading of "Helga, when you polish the floor you have to move the tree. I'm not mad at you, Helga, I'm mad at the dirt!"

"I don't know about you," I said, "but I actually LIKE my family. So no, I can't skip this Christmas with my mother and father and brother to do this little play!"

I might not have used the word "play." I might have used the word "skit." I'm not sure. It's all a blur.

It took me until I was nearly 30 to realize that people are more important than plays. And that we aren't promised tomorrow.

I don't want to skip Christmas with my family and miss all that time spent with people I love, just like I don't want my last words to be...

"No, thank you. No Triple Fudge Chocolate Cake for me. I'm fine drinking this wheat grass."

Every time I'm with my family, it makes me think about moving back home...

I know that's not an option for me - - even my father says that when I came out of the womb, he knew that I would not live my life in Tennessee.

..but every year I'm here is a year without my family. And I want to spend more than one major holiday a year with them.

I want to have drinks with my father at the Bakers Peters Jazz Club. I want to have Sunday dinner at mama's house, stuffing ourselves on her cream corn and green beans and pot roast. I want to be a part of their daily lives. A phone call is not enough.

I had a great time with mama while she was here in Chicago. If this picture of mama in front of one of the Elaine Place giraffes isn't "The Cutest Damn Picture Ever Taken in the Entire History of the Universe," then I don't know what is!

I miss her so much. Her health is declining and... well... as I said, we're not promised tomorrow.

She's slightly considering moving here, but the winters and the long walks everywhere would not suit her well.

So, until I decide to move back home, I will just have to be a little homesick after I see them.

At least nowadays, I don't have the prick complaining and telling to "get over it."


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Your Mom looks good. I know you miss it but part of me just can't picture you back in TN. Although it would be great for me because I'd get to see you more. :-)

I'm glad you had a good time with your Mom. I'm sorry you'll feel lonely for a couple of days (but at least you stopped seeing that diseased prick).

Lance Noe said...

God I miss my parents! It has been 6 years since my mom past away and 5 for my dad.

I miss them so much and still sometimes forget and want to call them. I see them every where! I would literally give up all of the amazing things i have seen and done if I could spend another 24 hours with them.

My mom was half cherokee and people often thought she was asian. I see so many women like her here and everytime I have a sinking in my heart and a little laugh at all the things she did.


You will always be able to act, even if it is only at the oak ridge play house or mouses ear!

Cherish the times you have together. You never know when those moments will cease and then only exsist in memories.

And when I come to Chicago, give me the number for that stupid prick so I can kick him in the ding ding!

Stephen Rader said...

Whim & Lance - Of course, the first two people who respond to this post are people I knew in Tennessee!!

Whim - You're right, I don't really fit in Knoxville - - I never really did. But there's not a day that goes by when I don't think about moving back just to be with them. And seeing you MUCH more often would be friggin' great!

Lance - Preach it, brother! We never know when things will change. We have to cherish each and every little moment.

I am so sorry about the loss of your parents. They live in you and you, my friend, are quite simply amazing. Any man who can tell Hal Prince what's wrong with his show is a force of nature!!

Diseased and stupid prick, indeed! And Lance, be careful kicking him in the ding ding - - you might lose your foot inside the fatty black hole he calls his ass.

Master Aaron said...

I know I vowed never again to correspond with Blog-The-Gay-Comic-Book-Hero (count the redundancies) after learning that not only the dead, AND the undead, but also the LIVING musical theatre composers were actually reading this shit, because while it's alright to be out as gay and occasionally alright to be out as kinky and, in some circles, it is alright to be out as an actor, (this boon is granted very rarely), it is almost sure to lose you work if you're out as all three, and I'd been triple outing myself in my conversations with The-Blog-That-Keeps-on-Giving. But given the subject matter I thought I'd weigh in very briefly, and yes if I can write the world's longest run-on sentence but still call it one sentence then I've only written one sentence, and say that Wanda is THE BEST, and who wouldn't want to live closer to her, for the sheer joy of it all? And also to say that I have an appointment to see my mother, Bobby Joyce, on the 31st to discuss whether or not it is time for her to enter an assisted living facility, and I am willing to let Stephen go in my place so that he has a little more "mother time" this month, out of the goodness of my triple-outed heart.

Stephen Rader said...

Aaron - You're going to talk to Bobby Joyce about her moving into "Assisted Living"?!?!? We used to call that "An Old Folks Home" but now we're sensitive. And Bobby Joyce is going to have NONE of it!!

Thank you for your kind offer to have ME discuss this with her, but I can't go... I'm having my legs waxed that day... whatever day it is...

Master Aaron said...

Chicken shit.

Danifesto said...

Hey there, long time lurker, first time commenter. Love your work. I just wanted to say "ditto" on the homesickness/parents post. When I was living in Asia, there would be times I would see the back of someone's head with my mother's perm and totally believe that it was her. Gay men and their mothers! Now there's a blog topic for ya! The milisecond she says "hello?" on the phone, I always recognize her voice. (And she always adds, "This is your MOTHER speaking!" at a loud volume meant to carry across the miles.)
Bless her.

Stephen Rader said...

Danifesto - Hello! Thanks for the comment and for checking me out... errr... my blog, I mean.

Yes, gay men and their mothers is a topic for many blogs, many novels and many, many TV Movies made for LIFETIME: TELEVISION FOR WOMEN (and gay men). :)