|My Daughter-in-law, granddaughter, daughter, and youngest son.|
You know, I'm really not much of an out doorsy kind of person. As a teenager, I grew up out in the sticks of the Mojave desert and spent most of my time out hiking, climbing the mountains, and bike riding, but somewhere along the way things changed. I think that in some ways it was the US Army that killed any desire I ever had for spending time outdoors, because after you are forced to live out in the woods for weeks at a time, freezing your butt off in the snow and rain with little to no sleep, suddenly spending time outside just doesn't sound like all that much fun anymore. Therefore it was with mixed feelings that I found myself headed for the beach in Rockport Texas for the weekend with my wife, children, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. I have to admit though that I really enjoyed myself and I'm pretty sure the rest of my family had a great time too, at least judging by my daughters repeated comment "this is the most fun I've ever had!"
The bad news is that we all got the snot sun burned outta us, but I sorta figure that is a part of the beach experience.
|My Youngest son|
|My old bat . . .err . . I mean my lovely wife. :)|
When Monday rolled around I found myself in the Austin airport headed for Columbia SC. Between the awful heat, my sun burnt face, and just the simple fact that I was tired as hell, there was no way I was gonna fly pretty, and so it was as a tired old dude that I made my way through the airport. For this reason, I found it kind of surprising when both, the lady at the US Airways counter and one of the TSA inspectors, recognized and spoke to me.
"Let me guess - You're going to WA?" said the young lady behind the US Airways counter when I approached her.
"Close, but no cigar!" I replied with a laugh.
"I just thought that since you had flown there twice recently, you might be headed that way again."
"Wow, you must have one hell of a memory considering how many people that you must deal with every day!"
"Well, just sometimes!" she answered with a funny little laugh. When I got to thinking about it, I realized two things:
1 - I had made those trips as Kim and so like her counterparts at the Delta airlines counter, this young lady now apparently recognized me in both male and female modes.
2 - Her odd laugh probably added some unspoken words to her reply, something along the lines of "Yeah, my memory rocks when it comes to recognizing someone that flys cross dressed a lot!"
As I was handing her my ID, it struck me that she wasn't entirely wrong about where I was going either.
"You know it just occurred to me that you were partially right about my destination. This is a two part trip! Guess where I am going from Columbia on Wednesday?!"
"DC?" she asked with a grin.
"Baltimore Washington International as a matter of fact! Say, you ARE good!" I told her with a laugh.
A few minutes later while making my way through the TSA check point, there were two inspectors at the desk where they check your ID. The one that checked my ID was a young woman with really pretty eyes, and the other was a guy standing close behind her. I don't know for sure, but they gave me the impression that he was training her.
"Please state your full name for me?" the young lady asked.
"Matthew Huddle" I replied. I noticed that while she and I were talking, the man was looking at me, and he spoke as I looked directly at him.
"You fly a LOT don't you?!" he asked with a grin.
"I do indeed! What can I say, it pays the bills!”
When I was setting this trip up, it kept nagging me that there was something about Columbia SC that I should remember and eventually it came to me! I had a cousin that lived there! When I had last seen him, he would have been a very young child, and I was a teenager, so neither of us actually recalled meeting before. For all intents and purposes, all that we knew of each other was our respective Facebook accounts.
We are related through my fathers side of the family, and if you have been reading my blog for any time, you might know that my mother and father separated when I was very young, and so I knew virtually no one from my fathers side. Anyway, a few years ago I connected with one of my aunts on that side of the family and Richard is her son. It didn't take long looking through his Facebook to discover that he was openly gay, and happily married to another man. The more I read, the more I got the impression that he seemed to be a really nice person, and before I knew it I was sharing my story with him. Funny thing is, I'm still not sure WHY I told him, as it is not something that I typically rush to share with people that I don't know well. I'm pleased that I did though, because in the year or two since then, I've grown kind of fond of the man. It goes without saying that when I found out I was to be working in his home town, I sent him a message and invited him and his husband to dinner.
|My Cousin Richard and I|
I was delighted to find that Richard was exactly who his Facebook page had led me to believe he was - an honestly nice and friendly person. His husband either couldn't join us or decided not to. I suspect it might have been a little bit of both, because let's face it, it takes quite a bit of courage to hang out in public with a cross dresser, and despite my telling them that I wouldn't be coming that way, I'll bet he still worried about it.
Well, we spoke about just about everything you can imagine - our family history, his being gay and how his family had reacted, my being TG and how MY family had reacted, etc, etc.
Oddly enough I found myself often at a loss for the right words while speaking with him and I even found myself feeling a bit like I had dropped the ball somewhere. Here he had come out early in life to a conservative family, had dealt with the consequences, and was now proudly living his life in freedom and setting an example for all who met and knew him. On the other hand, here I am, still sneaking out of my own home so early that it is still dark outside, and living in abject terror that my company will find out and fire me. I honestly felt just a bit ashamed of myself.
I think that when I grow up, I wanna be just like my cousin Richard. . .