Last night at a dinner party, a song played on the stereo and I realized I had to tell this story today for you all.
My friends Jim and Stephen have the most incredible home you can imagine and they are famous for their Christmas decorations and their hospitality. We have been trying to get together all during the holidays and, you know how you just run out of time? Well, it happened again this year. We ran out of time to do the "Christmas" thing. But we were determined to get together. And we did last night.
Being nearly cripple now, it took practically a crane to get me into their building, but my friend Tom figured out a way. Clever man. Takes care of me better than State Farm and Prudential put together. Imagine hauling my 275-pound carcass BACKWARDS up "designer" brick steps some idiot decided to put there! But we managed.
Once inside, I looked up at the decorations and exclaimed, "My God, it looks like Macy's exploded." You really have to see Jim's collection of Christmas ornaments, kitsch, dolls, and creche nativity scenes from everywhere except the lunar surface. Everywhere I looked there was another set of camels, elephants, wise men and baby Jesus. It is wonderful and overwhelming to the max. A feast for the eyes and the senses. There was so much that in the middle of the meal I got up and went to the bathroom and when I came back out I said, "You know, I kinda expected to see baby Jesus in the toilet bowl." Couldn't resist. Never have been able to.
As everyone arrived we were given incredible puff pastries (no pun intended for that crowd) filled with Gorgonzola cheeses and also a tray of homemade cheese straws - which happens to me one of my dessert island foods. And of course, wines of every description were passed around. Conversation began to flow and flowed so well we almost didn't care about dinner. But I digress.
We went into the dining room to a table neither Martha Stewart nor Miss Manners would complain about. The settings were matched Wedgewood china, beautiful linen napkins and decorations in the centerpiece which everyone wanted to (and did) touch. I said, "You know, it takes a fairy to make something pretty," which is right out of "Boys In The Band" and I don't care. There was a gigantic crystal bowl filled with Christmas balls in the center and we all made endless jokes about THAT. I'm not telling those here.
Yes, this was a gay dinner party. Beef Bourguignon, A Root Vegetable Mash, A Corn Pudding from Georgia, a Tomasto Aspic to die for, A Broccoli salad in a trifle bowl, homemade yeast rolls. And for desert not only scratch pecan pie, but an apple crisp perfectly (and correctly) made in a cast iron skillet. You have never seen or tasted such food. Stephen is a master chef, spent all day preparing and reveled in feeding his friends. Why can't I find a man like that? All mine are good for is taking out the trash. Oh well.
Then the conversation flowed again like the Nile. Six gay men. Now that would usually mean everybody trying to be the center of attention. Not last night. Everyone told wonderful stories about everything from weird funeral practices, strange ballerinas, to ways to train a dog. I mean it was so warm and wonderful, and giving and loving. Almost better than any sex I have ever had. Oh yes, we talked about that, too.
As we sat at the end of the meal over second helping of dessert, Stephen came out with a tiny melon scoop and a half gallon of ice cream saying, "I couldn't get it to melt to use on the pies. But here is some." Jim said, "With Stephen as cook, the microwave is used for storage." I replied, "Jim, how do you keep your figure with this man cooking for you?"
It was that kind of evening. And as we sat there at that beautiful table in that incredible apartment, I patted Stephen sitting next to me on the back, quieted the group and said, "What a night, guys! A perfect manhood friends event. You've all made this so special. It's like the old song says,
When my life is through, and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of it all,
I will tell them: I remember you".