This morning as I drove around the valley to drop off the kids at school, the bright , blue sky, green hills and granite mountain peaks where too beautiful to contain. In Plumas County, California, at the top of the Sierra Mountain range it can often feel like the beginning of Sound of Music. I feel the urge to run around the hill side Julie Andrews style. The hills are alive! Alive! Never mind the reality of barbed wire cattle fencing and marsh and mud. I can hear the gentle notes in my head float across the valley. It beautiful and I begin to cry.
They raised me to be a sensitive child.
I think back to a few Thanksgivings ago when we were driving up to San Francisco from my cousin’s in Monterey. I’d heard that Sound of Music –the sing a long version—was playing at the Castro Theatre and knew I immediately needed to take the kids.
My husband agreed to dinner at the Thai Restaurant across the street from the Castro. I’m not sure what the real name of the restaurant is. For years we’ve been calling it Pump Daddy Thai as Daddy’s Bar down below plays unmistakably gay pumping music which one climbs the stairs to in order to eat Thai upstairs. We sit at the table in one of the bay windows overlooking Castro Street. It’s an empty night in San Francisco—holiday weekends are like that—all go back to their families in the suburbs around the country. But there’s already a line forming in front of the Theatre.
The husband has opted out of Sound of Music and leaves us to go prowling the Community Thrift Store on Valencia instead. He kisses my cheek as he leaves and says “this is a little too gay—even for me.” My girlfriends and I stand in line with tons of kids and their gay uncles, at least half in costume. Handsome Van Trapp lookalikes, nuns of course, people dressed up as brown paper packages tied up with strings. The works. I can breath easy. I feel at home. The kids wished we’d had had costumes. We sang and laughed. Holy Communion: the Castro Theatre on Thanksgiving weekend. We are standing half the time, swaying, and singing along. tears, the kind that come to you when someone is missing, hit me. How to explain that this is my church, this my ecstasy?
It’s hard to fathom sometimes that this is where we ended up: in a house in the woods in the remote corner of California. My mothers live only a few miles away on the highway side of the valley, same town. I live on the backside of the valley against the hill side with my normal life: a husband, two children, a dog, a cat. A rented house on a few acres—we have regular jobs and do regular things. But on a perfect morning, I still get weepy that Roger didn’t live to see me. Didn’t live to see this: all of us calm and boring now. We’re getting ready in the next few weeks to visit my father in Wisconsin. The stepfather and I remain estranged. My mother and I closer than ever.
And no one’s hiding anything anymore.