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June 2015: Life is a Banquet



Dr. Loren Olsen, Secretary of Prime Timers Worldwide and a member of Prime Timers of Central Iowa, reminded us during his presentation at our general meeting on May 17 that Prime Timers saves lives, both literally and figuratively. Our new tag line reads: “For the best times of your life.” This reminded me of what may be described as Auntie Mame’s tag line: “Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death!”

Loren’s book joyfully proclaims that he is “Finally Out”. Many of us grew up in the “closet,” ashamed of who we were or in denial, terrified of being humiliated or bullied. We live, thankfully, in a very different world now, with polls showing majority approval of gay marriage. The Supreme Court is likely to soon grant us full civil rights by basically declaring discrimination based on sexuality unconstitutional. Just as women didn’t choose their sex and minorities didn’t choose their race, we did not choose to be gay or bi. Such ignorance will soon have no legal standing.

We are also fortunate to live in Austin, a liberal oasis in a very conservative state. Can you imagine overt homophobia in the business and political communities here! Not at all. We and our money are more than welcome at Austin’s big banquet. I would imagine the wedding industry is licking its chops at what is to come.

Speaking of big banquets, I moved here from NYC in 2010, wanting simultaneously to slow down and to live in a more affordable city. However, after 17 years in the New York buzz saw, including 11 in Manhattan real estate, I was worried about getting bored back home in Texas. I decided I’d better get my Texas real estate license, just in case. I discovered real fast that I was not going to be bored.

After a couple of years of Austin real estate, I “hung it up” January 1, 2014. Very happily retired, I wonder how I ever had time for “work.” Maybe Prime Timers didn’t save my life, but I certainly give it credit for enhancing it and making it a lot easier to organize the Austin feast.

You see, I am a naturally gregarious personality. I like to have good friends and do stuff — lots of it. My passions are our Bridge Mondays, UT athletics (particularly football and basketball), and theater.

In New York, I was on the board of a very fine non-profit theater for 17 years. Soon after moving here, I was introduced to Zach and realized Austin did not have to apologize for its theater scene.

I also love museums and music, and have a great appreciation for the Blanton and for the Austin Symphony.

We on the Activities Committee realize that we served up a big buffet of culture in May. What a pleasure it was to go to Austin Cabaret Theatre for “A Conversation with Edith Head”; to City Theatre for “Waiting for Godot”; to Zach for the Wilde Party and “Mothers & Sons”; and to ASO for “Carmina Burana”!

We also realize that many of you are just not into it, but we pay close attention to what’s going on and want the best of it to be in front of you.

The June culture menu is relatively short, but for sure mark your calendar for Capital City Men’s Chorus’s 26th Season Finale Concert, “Rainbow Connections,” with San Antonio’s Live Oak Singers, at Bates Recital Hall on June 6. We are proud to have 3 PT’ers in CCMC: David Nielsen, Scott Poppaw, and Fred Lugo. Also not to be missed is Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” at City Theatre on June 25.

I have said often that I hope I have some of my mom’s genes. She is the inspirational matriarch of my family, and definitely has been the “power of one” in my life.

In 2009, at 97, Mom had kidney failure and peacefully said her goodbyes. To my shock and that of my sister and Mom’s doctor, Mom agreed to dialysis. She went 3 times per week for a year and a half. Then, miraculously (according to her doctors), Mom regained her kidney function. She is now 103, peeing normally, and pretty sharp mentally.

In mid-April, at her assisted living home in Bryan, Mom went outside on her motorized scooter, heading to a spot in the sun where she likes to read. She went over the curb by mistake, fell out of the vehicle, and broke her hip. She had surgery and is now back in her home with skilled nursing and rehab.

When I was visiting Mom in her assisted living home the day before some of us went to Port Aransas for the PT excursion, I didn’t think she would survive the week. She was incoherent, slumped over, and seemed depressed. John and I went on to Port A, but the whole time we were there I was expecting “that call.”

Well, I am happy to say Mom is still a “tough old bird.” She had been over-medicated. Speedy (Mom’s nickname) has a will to live and to enjoy her life, and is now demanding her “wheels” back, her books, her card games and dominoes, and her lipstick and earrings! This was a special Mother’s Day indeed.

Prime Timers is special to me. I “get” its purposes. I want it to serve us all well, and I want more and more “mature gay and bi men and their admirers” to discover our banquet.

You have a terrific, fully engaged Board and a few others on the leadership team working hard to make our founder, Woody Baldwin, proud. However, to be frank, we need some help.

The entire Board has multiple responsibilities. No matter how much we love it, we are unpaid volunteers. For example, my partner John Guertin is our secretary, membership chair and leads our volunteer tech group in finishing our new website.

Charley Tucker is our treasurer and activities chair. Charley’s Activities Committee organizes our very full calendar every month and is responsible for our participation in AIDS Walk Austin (November 8), our anniversary dinner, and the holiday party.

Charley has also been working with Charles Curry (our vice president and coordinator of all committees) and Tom Doyal (who, in addition to serving on the Board, serves on the Membership and Hospitality Committees) on possibly joining up with other chapters through PTWW for a 501c3 tax status.

And Charley works full-time at his own business!

We need a couple of committee members, including an AIDS Walk Coordinator. Right now, Charley, Mark Blangger (who, in addition to being a board member, chairs our Communications Committee and serves as ”Dining Out” Coordinator), and I are sharing those duties. In his spare time, Mark is also working on a survey on future direction to be presented to you soon.

The other committees need volunteers too, so if you fit better with Communications, Membership, Program, Member Support, or Hospitality, don’t be shy. Please step up and help us serve this very tasty banquet!


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