Friday, September 26, 2008

Meeting Kurt

Last fall, I invited Kurt True to share blogging privileges with me at Willful Grace.
Kurt started commenting here at the blog not too long after I began writing it. From those initial comments, the first really memorable exchange we had was this one:

kurt_t said:

For my 40th me and the better half went to Disneyland. Had birthday breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. Pluto and the Mad Hatter sang "Happy Birthday" to me. Well, Pluto doesn't really sing, he kind of pantomimed it, and after I blew out my candles, what should they start playing but "The Circle of Life" from "The Lion King." Then I went and got my picture taken with Winnie the Pooh and rode Alice in Wonderland about five times. And it worked. I did NOT feel old. Not for one minute.

grace said:

Kurt: do you have kids??? is your wife like a "disney freak"? there must be SOME reason you allowed yourself to be submitted to this sort of...uh...."disney-a-go-go" sort of experience...unless you are that into Disney, not that there's anything wrong with that....;)....what gives, dude??? Whatever it score major points for submitting to it...even though it all sounds like a TON of fun...for real! :) grace

tdub said:

OH! OH! OH! I wanna go to DisneyWorld for my birthday!!! Wouldn't that be a blast? We could go for all our birthdays! :)

kurt_t said:
Wife? No. I'm actually one of your many gay male admirers. Poor Grace, you must feel like you're turning into Cher or something! Anyway, I'm a big Winnie the Pooh fan. I was part of the first wave of Winnie the Pooh kids in the U.S. The Milne stories weren't well-known in the U.S., and when Disney came out with the Winnie the Pooh shorts (which were eventually compiled into "The Magical World of Winnie the Pooh"), that's when Winnie the Pooh became really popular in the U.S. Here's a picture from my birthday. That's me on the right. Oh! Winnie the Pooh has his own ride at Disneyland now! But if I tell you how many times I went on it, I'm going to start to sound weird.

grace said:

Kurt: Oh! Well cool! That's a cute picture. I always loved Winnie-the-Pooh stories as well. The whole idea of the Hundred Acre Wood just sounds like heaven to me....and that scene of Christopher Robin's room before the movies begin...I always wanted that room. I also love those little books of "wisdom" from Winnie-the-Pooh. Can I be Bette Midler instead of Cher? I like her taste in clothes more. ;)

kurt_t said:

If you want to be Bette Midler instead of Cher, that means you're 27 pounds heavier. On the upside, you have better taste in clothing and a wider vocal range, and you were never married to Greg Allman. I guess it would be a net gain, huh?

grace said:

27 pounds, huh?? Dang! Ok, fine, I'll be Cher! ;)

From there, our blog friendship was formed.

Over the next 3 years Kurt never failed to encourage me, and more often than not, make me laugh out loud with his offbeat humor. Another of his comments that stands out to me is one he made on a post I titled "Sucks to be Me".

I'd arrived home on a Friday afternoon and as I opened the back door, even with the dogs there to greet me with leaping, jumping, and wagging tails, I just sort of "lost it". It was one of those "narrow" days that Jean Schulz spoke of last week, and it seemed to be closing in on me. I sat down and wrote a blog post about how I was feeling, and this was Kurt's comment of encouragement:

kurt_t said...

I think those of us who've been through the kind of ordeals that you've been through, or different kinds of ordeals, like domestic violence or warfare or addiction or some terrible accident, on our good days, we look back on the ordeal and we say "That made me a stronger person." Or "That made me a more compassionate person." Or a braver person, or a better teacher, spouse, mom, dad, nurse, artist. On your good days you can see some profit in the ordeal.
On your bad days, your worst bad days, I think you look back on the ordeal, and you say "This has all been some terrible mistake. I wasn't supposed to survive that ordeal. What am I doing here?" And instead of feeling stronger, you feel like you're pinned under a pile of rubble, scorched, bleeding, paralyzed, and you look up at that mushroom cloud rising over your head and say "What kind of cruel joke is this?"
But the good news is even the worst of the worst of the bad days of your life only lasts 24 hours, and that mushroom cloud is going to blow away, and you're going to drag yourself out of the wreckage and, when you do, you're going to find out that you weren't really alone.

And that's Kurt. Over the years, I've often found myself wondering what gem Kurt will leave in the comments as soon as I hit the publish button. And I still do.

Some people marvel (and I marvel that they marvel) at the fact that I am not bitter, angry, or just generally repelled by "the gays" after all that I've been through. The thing is this; I didn't marry "the gays". I married a guy named Todd who had some issues. And, oh yeah, he happens to be gay. I don't despise all rednecks just because my first husband was one of those. (LOL LOL) Well, mostly I don't. ;) Personally, I'm mostly repelled by the unfortunately huge number of folks who will say things like, "oh, I LOVE gay people, I just don't want to have anything whatsoever to do with them." Some people say it and others just behave in a way that says the exact same thing. I'm as astonished by that attitude as some of them seem to be by me and my attitude . *sigh* Oh well.

Kurt drove from El Cerrito out to San Jose where I was staying last week. He took me to a few of his favorite spots: Mission San Juan Bautista, the quaint little town of San Juan including the local cemetery, and Garlic World in Gilroy w here we ate garlic ice cream.

Our meeting.... did we get that shot or do I need to hug him again?

This is Mission San Juan Bautista, one of the few (according to Kurt) restored Franciscan missions that still holds Mass on a regular schedule. Kurt and I said a prayer and lit a candle for his mom during our visit.

The mission overlooks the original El Camino Real or "The King's Highway" which originally connected the 21 missions of California and ran all the way to Mexico. The monks used to sprinkle mustard seeds along the road so that it would be marked with distinctive yellow flowers.

We walked around the little town of San Juan where they were having an Art & Wine Festival. It had a bit of a "Taos" sort of feel to it. Very nice.

After visiting the cemetery at San Juan, (the day offered the perfect lighting for cemetery pictures and I'll probably post some of those at some point) we made our last stop of the day at Garlic World in Gilroy, CA. Which, to quote Kurt, "is so much more than just garlic."

You are not mistaken, that is the world's longest chain of garlic.

I'm looking forward to Kurt's up-coming post titled "Meeting Pam/Grace"-whatever he's calling me now! ;)


Iain said...


Part of me wishes I'd come across your blog when you wrote the "Sucks to be me" post, that I might have responded. But another part knows that I couldn't ever have made a more appropriate post than Kurt's, and it sounds like it really hit the spot.

Admiration and regards to you both! I'm learning all the time from what I read.

kurt_t said...

Will be posting soon. Have my friend's kids this weekend. Making Mickey Mouse waffles. And frankly I feel like I'm still recovering from last night's Monopoly game. I was down to Mediterranean, Baltic, two railroads and $75, and that's when I told the kids it was time for bed.

Anonymous said...

Kurt's a riot. I'm not sure whether I'm more jealous of him for getting to meet you or you for getting to meet him. ;)

grace said...

Jarred: He's really awesome in person as well. One thing I didn't mention that is so striking about him are his eyes. He has the kindest blue eyes I think I've ever seen. They just exude gentleness and I swear they even twinkle a little just like Santa's.

Robert said...

Wow! You were in my childhood stomping grounds! I grew up in Sunnyvale, and I loved going out to San Juan Batista. That was supposed to be the capital of California at one time, but (fortunately) they moved it to Monterey. A beautiful place!