Leaving shortly after the opening of the breakfast room at the motel and enjoying the complimentary meal, I loaded my car, and was on the road before seven, before the heat of the day settled upon the Iowa landscape. There was a haze in the air that, from my previous experience in the State, could only portend a hot and humid day ahead! I longed not only for the coolness of the northern air, grown familiar to me over the past years, but the peace and serenity of our home on the lake where the breezes, even on the hottest of days, cooled and refreshed me as I lounged on our broad, lake-facing, front porch. It’d be a long drive home, with several stops on the road, but I welcomed it since it did give me an opportunity to think much and plan ahead. My nephew and his future husband to be would be welcomed at Spirit View Farm and I wanted to be prepared for them when they came to visit. There was no doubt in my mind, unless I’ve read their intentions wrong, the visit wouldn’t be long in coming.
The journey home would take more time than my trip down. I wanted to swing through Cedar Falls, where my Alma Mater was located and I received two of my degrees. My third and highest degree I received at Iowa City, the University of Iowa. We still had several rental properties in Cedar Falls and I wanted to take a quick look at them. A trip through campus was always welcome as the campus and institution grew over the years, changing much from the smaller college I first enrolled in.
The side trip meant changing my route home. I drove out U.S. 30 to Cedar Rapids and picked up I380 to Waterloo-Cedar Falls. The drive wasn’t that long, just a little over three hours. Scooting around the south side of Waterloo on U.S. 20, I entered campus from the south, drove through it, noting some changes since my last visit, contemplated stopping at the Maucker Union, but decided against it, and continued on to check out our rental properties. Brief stops at each, giving visual inspections from the driveways, except for one I did get out and walk around, provided me with information I needed to relay to my property manager hired to oversee the properties. By the time I left Cedar Falls and headed north on U.S. 63, it was after lunch time. I decided to delay lunch until New Hampton figuring a late lunch would get me through to home without having to stop for dinner. If I needed to, I could pick up something at one of the gas stations/convenience stores when I put gas in the car.
Lunch in my tummy and tank full of gas, I continued north on U.S. 63 to Chester, picked up SH 56, continued north until it intersected with I94 W to I35 N and headed toward the Twin Cities. I picked up I494 there, swung around the Cities to I94 W to SH 101 up to Elk River, and on to U.S. 169 north to my turn west, south of Garrison on Mille Lacs Lake. It was almost dark when I arrived home, the sight of my house welcome. It didn’t take me long to unload the car, put my things away, and head to bed. The next few days would be busy, I thought.
After breakfast I sent an e-mail to my property manager with instructions to concerning one piece of property; find better tenants since it was clear to me they weren’t very careful of my property and secondly, get the necessary repairs made to the apparent damage, and three keep a more watchful eye in the future- hint-hint!
Over the years I found it advantageous to visit our properties unannounced. The surprise visits produced the results I desired. I was very conscientious about keeping my properties, rental and at home, in good repair. At home, the small barn, with silo, used for livestock, grain, and hay storage in earlier years, and boat storage during the winter along with the snowmobile and ATV, was in excellent shape, the hog house and pen (not used for many years) was in good repair as well, the chicken house and yard ready for fowl if need be, although I’d not had any in the past several years, and the open faced machine shed, holding only a small tractor, riding lawn mower, a two bottom plow, disc, and harrow was in need of some roof repair. I kept my lawn/garden tractor with attachable snow thrower in the three car garage next to the house for easy access in the winter.
The house needed little done to it. We’d put all-weather siding on it about fifteen years before and a metal roof and they were in good shape. Inside, the master bedroom on the first floor could use a new paint job, the four bedrooms on the second floor were okay, but the room I thought I’d put Elgee and Rick in if they came for a visit could use some sprucing up. However, I’d leave it up to them to make the decision. It was the biggest room with queen-sized bed and a corner view with windows on two sides. The other three bedrooms were somewhat smaller, but still fairly large. One room had a double bed and the other two twin beds. The bathroom was at the end of the hall.
I made a note to have my housekeeper change up the bedding in all four rooms. She came once a week, but I wanted to give her notice so she could be prepared to spend a little more time. She was a god-send and helped me tremendously.
I settled into my daily routine, seating myself at my desk in the small office off of the living room, and opened my mail. Answering correspondence, e-mails, paying bills, reading some of the financial bulletins I’d received, checking through the WSJ for the bond markets and some of the stocks we’d invested in, along with perusing my bank accounts took most of the morning. I wasn’t into any high risk investments and no bank stocks, especially after the Great Recession in 2008, seeking lower risk investments instead. Granted, the return was less but the principal was secure. My multiple business ventures, including Coleman Real Estate and Coleman Enterprises, LLC provided more than enough income for me to live quite comfortably without any stress on my bank accounts.
Deciding it was too nice a day, with bright sunshine, a light breeze, and not particularly hot, to spend the entire day inside pouring over my accounts, books, and newspapers, I opted to motor across the lake to a small pub (bar and restaurant) for lunch. “Spooner’s,” as it was called, had dollar burgers today for lunch and I was hungry for a couple of burgers and a beer or two.
The owners, one a son of a childhood friend of David’s, Tom Long, approached us about twenty years before seeking some investment capital. He and Mike Harris were a gay couple and were hesitant about approaching one of the local banks. David tried to assure them it’d be fine, but they remained reluctant. The long and short of it was, we provided the capital to buy and start up the business, a restaurant with a bar and three rental cottages plus an owner’s residence, and they agreed to a twenty percent portion of the actual profits to continue until our capital investment, with interest, was repaid. The amount paid, therefore, varied each year depending on the bottom line, but that was fine. They’d just paid off the entire note two years previously. If the owners should decide to sell, we reserved the right of first refusal. The two of them turned out to be great businessmen and great friends. The food was great as well.
I remember I asked them at the time what they were going to name their new business. Mike replied, “Spooner’s.”
Inquiring further, wanting to know where the name came from since it wasn’t the name used by the previous owner or either Tom or Mike’s name. Mike, blushing, fidgeting just a little, confessed, “Tom loves to spoon in bed at night or really anytime we have the opportunity.”
“And you love it,” Tom laughed.
Nobody would be the wiser and the name stuck! Business was great and I would imagine the “spooning” was also.
Both of my boats were gassed up and in the boat house. The fourteen foot runabout, with a twenty-five horsepower motor, was used for fishing. The bigger boat, a speed boat or ski boat, seating six and powered with a one hundred ten horsepower motor, was more than adequate for pulling water skiers and for fast trips around or across the lake. It is a fun boat to operate. I hadn’t pulled any skiers for about three years, when Claire brought several of her grandchildren up for a visit.
I loosed the mooring ropes on the speedboat, slipped on my life jacket, started the motor, and backed out of the boat house, heading across the lake. The ride was pleasant across the relatively placid lake and it took me less than fifteen minutes before I tied up at one of the pub’s docks, walked up the stairs to the deck of the restaurant, and walked in. Summertime brought many strangers to the area and there were several inside, seated at the bar or the small tables scattered across the dining/bar room. The locals tipped their heads or fingers at me in greeting and I returned it.
I heard someone call out, “Hi Doc!” and turned in the direction the voice came from. Bruce Porter and Chad Cooper, two local high school boys, were seated at a corner table chowing down on burgers, fries, and soda.
“Come join us!”
I accepted Bruce’s invitation, left my order at the bar rather than bother one of the waiters to take my order, and meandered across the room, pulled up a chair and joined my young companions.
“Not working today?” I inquired.
“Finished two lawns this morning,” Bruce explained. “Helped Dad with three trees yesterday, so we have the afternoon off today.”
“Be busy tomorrow,” Chad acknowledged. “Have a bunch of summer and weekend cottage lawns to do before the weekend. People like their lawns mowed and trimmed before they get here.”
Bruce’s dad owned a tree and lawn service business and did most of the tree trimming and removal property owners wanted taken care of or cleared so they could build. Usually, early summer they were particularly busy as cottages were reopened for the summer. Storms always brought brisk business. The downed trees, especially oak and maple, were cut up and split into stove or fireplace pieces and sold for use in furnaces (for those who heated with wood) or fireplaces. During the winter, Bob plowed private drives, lanes, and roads. The more snow storms we had, the more money he made.
Porter’s lived at the other end of the lake. Not right on the lake, but across the road from the public landing. It gave them access to the lake without having to pay the higher property taxes.
I’ve known the Porter family for several years now, since Bruce was about six years old. His dad, Bob Porter, wanted to purchase a boom truck for his tree trimming business and approached me concerning the purchase. David and I, over the years, made entrepreneurial investments, providing venture capital, with locals wanting to expand or purchase equipment or businesses. We generally stuck to those persons we knew. We used the low interest rate we charged to provide more opportunities for others. Haven’t lost a dime yet and probably won’t.
Bob and his wife had four children, with Bruce being the last in the nest. Over the years, as the kids grew, they graduated from running the lawn mowers to chain saws. Since Bruce was the youngest, Bob hired additional help during the summer.
Bruce and Chad have been friends for years, ever since grade school I was to discover. Where you found one, you’d find the other, so it was a natural Chad and Bruce would be working together. As well as I thought I knew the boys, I didn’t tumble they were more than “friends” until a couple of years ago. Then, it was almost happen chance.
I was out one summer day trolling for Northern Pike and had to take a piss. Rather than hang my dick over the side and piss in the lake, I pulled up to one of the several islands dotting out lake. It was an island I was quite familiar with, since David and I used to stop here and “swim.” I could’ve stood on the shore and emptied the “reservoir,” but chose to walk inland a short distance to a clearing and small sandy beach. David and I spent many a fun time there.
I stopped just short of the clearing, took the pony out of the barn and began draining my bladder, splattering the grass, leaves, and other debris on the ground. Dribbling to a halt, signaling all was well, I thought I heard several soft grunts, a couple of sighs, and someone say, “my god that was great.” Another voice said, “I can’t believe how tight you are.”
Now I know for a fact the bears around here don’t speak English; in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bear speak beyond a “woof,” a “growl,” or “grunt.” I quickly ruled out a bear, although a bear just might “grunt” when emptying his balls into a sow, but wouldn’t comment afterwards.
Carefully, after tucking my soldier back in the fox hole, I crept forward, peeked around a clump of bushes, and as the little boy would say when spotting the “beast with two backs” “oh my, oh my, what do I see? Two boys f-u-c-k-i-n-g!” Yep, naked as new born babes, Chad bent over, his cock spewing his load out onto the ground, squealing, “I’m cumming” and Bruce mounted belly to back, ass cheeks clenching as he thrust forward, “I am too,” coating Chad’s rectum with teen baby-makers.
For whatever reason, Chad turned his head in my direction. “We got company!” he bemoaned, aghast at being caught naked with Bruce’s cock buried up his ass.
Bruce looked one way, then slowly turned his face toward me. His face burned red, his cock, all the fire gone from it, popped limply from Chad as they both stood up, facing me.
“Hi, Doc!” Bruce said sheepishly as both boys covered their cocks with their hands.
“Hi, boys,” I responded. “Sorry to interrupt you. Hope it wasn’t too soon!” I knew damn well it wasn’t but figured they’d take my presence a little better; still embarrassing, but more palatable.
“I didn’t know anyone else knew about this place. David and I used to stop by here quite often when we were out on the lake.”
“You did?” they responded at once.
“Did you …….?” Bruce began hesitantly, uncertain if it was a question he should ask an adult.
“You won’t say anything - you know,” Chad said, “about what you saw, will you?”
Standing in front of me, hands now at their sides, were two naked, average teen boys, in every way, bodies well-toned from hard work, gay, and obviously in love with each other.
“It’s not my secret to tell,” I assured him. “What’s having a gay friend if he shoots his mouth off instead of his, you know? What we do privately as gay men is nobody else’s business. Just be careful.”
That seemed to break the ice; their secret was safe with me and they knew it! I did take some time cautioning them although times had changed significantly since I was their age, there were still those who’d do them harm, either physically or mentally. They were aware of this and had been keeping their love for each other quite closeted and would continue to do so going through high school.
From that day on, I had two new friends and they had an experienced adult they could visit with concerning their sexual orientation and how to live in a straight world.
“Glad we spotted you,” Bruce explained. “We’ll be seniors next year and want to spend some time with you talking about colleges; whether we go to a two year, four year, or what.”
“How about your High School Guidance Counselor? Can’t he or she help you sort things out?”
“I suppose he could,” offered Chad, “but I don’t think he’d understand our ‘special’ circumstances like you do. We don’t want to end up some place where we can’t be together or in some school full of homophobes.”
I could relate to their concerns, so invited them to stop by anytime, just give me a call so I’d be home. They were always welcome and they knew it. I happened to mention traveling to Iowa the past weekend and discovered I had a great-nephew about their age. I didn’t mention any more concerning his sexual orientation or Rick as his husband to be. If they ever came up, Chad and Bruce would figure that out in one hell of a hurry! These two boys were sharp.
We enjoyed our meal and pleasant conversation. Bruce and Chad were going to drive up to Brainerd to do some shopping and take in a movie. Parting company, after I paid for all of our meals, I headed back across the lake toward home.
The week wore on and I was becoming concerned and curious how things were going at Claire’s. How well had Elgee settled in? Were they having any problems? Not a word had been forthcoming all week until Friday morning when I opened an e-mail from Claire; all was well, no problems, please call me. Well, that didn’t portend well, I thought. So, I waited until eight o’clock and gave Claire a call.
According to her, as we visited, she couldn’t ask for a better addition to her household, except for a couple of glitches she wanted to give me a heads up on. Again, I held my breath, expecting the most dire of happenings.
“Elgee’s father found out he’s living with me and fronted me in a grocery store, accusing me of harboring a sodomite. He had the balls to tell me to kick the boy out or he’d call the law and trump up some sort of charge against me since Elbee isn’t of age yet.”
“What happened next?”
Claire took a deep breath, “I told him to stuff it up his butt and if he ever threatened me again or came near Elgee, I’d have Social Services on him like white on rice for child abuse. You see, Tommy took pictures of Elgee’s face when he showed up at the house the night Donald beat him. They aren’t pretty pictures, Levi.”
“When I got home, I called Rick’s mother at her law office and she suggested one of the attorney’s start completing the paper work for Elgee to become an emancipated minor, although only for a short time before he turns eighteen.”
I concurred with her approach and applauded her for it. Claire wasn’t dropped off of the turnip truck when she made her appearance in the world.
“I think,” I responded, “Donald in going to try to make trouble for Elgee and Rick, no matter what, but I’ll be ready for it.”
“Second,” Claire began cautiously, “The boys will skype you soon and see if they can come up over July Fourth for a week or so. I guess they’ve heard me tell what good times we used to have on the lake.”
“No problem; I’d love it.”
“Well,” she sort of snorted, “I hope you love it enough for Rick to bring his two younger brothers along, at least that’s the talk on this end.”
As predicted by Claire, the Skype call came in and I spent the better part of an hour enjoying my visit with Elgee and Rick. In the process, two other faces popped up on the screen, peeking from behind Rick, and I was introduced to Rick’s younger brothers; Carlos (Carl age fourteen and Raymon (Ray) age twelve. It was clear to me they were Rick’s brothers; same coloration, the same good looks, and appeared to be relatively well-adjusted to their circumstances, from what I could tell from first impressions.
The boys were excited about the upcoming trip, once I told them they were more than welcome- all of them. I wondered who’d be taking Rick’s motor shopper route while they were up here. Rick said there’d be no problem since the Fourth was on Friday and the shopper came out the weekend before and they wouldn’t publish over the Fourth weekend holiday. This meant they’d have almost two weeks to spend at the farm. Carl’s paper route would be delivered by a cousin who substituted for him and was familiar with it.
I asked Elgee if he needed more money for gas and traveling expenses and was assured he didn’t since he’d barely touched the debit card.
“Hey, Uncle Levi, I haven’t had it that long and I really don’t spend much, so no problem.”
I fussed over directions to the farm, but the boys were confident they could find their way since “Auntie Claire” wrote down the directions for them. They’d be leaving early on Sunday morning and would stay, at least, until Wednesday of the next week. They’d be driving Rick’s truck and he had AAA so they could get help if needed. I had to caution them about traveling around the Twin Cities, where to catch the roads north, and to watch for other drivers since there were always great crowds up north on weekends and during the summers.
“Don’t worry, Uncle Levi,” Elgee announced quite straight faced, “Rick’s a good driver and so are Carl and Ray.” All four thought his remarks were absolutely hilarious, although I must admit initially they caused an increase in my blood pressure.
“Don’t forget swim suits,” I added before signing off, “or you can just skinny-dip.”
Two boy’s mouths dropped open and their eyes widened at the very thought of something that naughty. It wasn’t Rick and Elgee!
The next two weeks seemed to fly by, yet at times, each day passing felt like an entire month. I was anxious, excited, and could hardly wait for the upcoming visit. I hustled around getting everything ready, asking my housekeeper to freshen up the upstairs bedrooms in preparation for occupancy, even for a short time.
She laughed at my concerns, “Don’t worry, Doc, your nephew and his friends will be just fine. I’ll make certain the house is in shipshape for them when they get here.”
I knew she would, she was such a good person and had been watching out for us for many years. She knew how much I wanted the boys to enjoy themselves while here and most importantly, from my conversation, for Elgee to see Spirit View as home!
Elgee gave me a call Sunday morning around eight o’clock. They’d been on the road a couple of hours by then and had stopped for a potty-break, coffee, juice, and a breakfast sandwich at a fast foods place. I figured they had another eight hours or so before they arrived. I so much wanted to call back every hour or so to check on their progress, but I refrained from doing so, hoping they didn’t have truck trouble or an accident or flat tire, and so on.
I took five nice rib eye steaks from the freezer to grill for dinner that evening and would serve them with hard rolls, a lettuce salad, French fries, and fresh strawberries with ice cream for dessert. They should be hungry when they arrived. Hell, boys are hungry anytime! We’d have to decide what foods they liked for the rest of the week. What I didn’t have, we’d go to Brainerd or somewhere and buy it. I also planned on eating out a few times for lunch and dinner. Breakfast, well, probably assorted cereals, pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon—you know, the usual breakfast items. I also had muffins in the freezer and sausage patties so we could do sausage-egg muffins if they wanted those. I decided if they didn’t eat everything I anticipated after one of my shopping trips, I’d have a freezer full for the winter.
Sitting on the front porch, enjoying not only the view of the lake on this blue-sky afternoon, but my afternoon cocktail as well. I heard a vehicle driving down the gravel lane leading to the house from the county road. Sitting quietly and patiently, hoping I wasn’t disappointed to discover it was some delivery van or worse yet, a real estate agent wanting to know if my house and property were for sale since he or she has a client “who’d pay top dollar for such a hidden gem.” If I heard that once over the years, I heard it at least fifty time or more.
A pickup truck with a topper, Iowa plates, and four grinning young men in it, pulled up in front of the house in the parking area. The occupants clambered out- well two of them sort of leaped out from the back seats while Elgee and Rick, stepped out, stretched their arms high to sort of take the kinks out from the long ride.
My unfinished cocktail rested on the floor near the chair I’d been occupying before stepping down from the porch, my arms open to welcome Elgee. He hustled forward, accepting my embrace, returning it with the same fervor and intensity as mine to him. We held each other for a few moments, savoring our greeting and letting our emotions subside somewhat. The others stood back, watching, and waiting.
My voice betrayed my emotions; “Welcome to Spirit View; I’ve so looked forward to this.” Catching my breath, I asked, “Elgee, why don’t you introduce me to the two young, handsome gentlemen you have traveling with you and Rick? Right after, that is, I give Rick a hug.”
Carl and Ray were somewhat hesitant about hugging, so we shook hands instead. After all, all they knew of me was what they’d heard from Elgee and Rick and their information was limited to my weekend in Iowa and from what they learned from “Auntie” Claire. God, only knows what she told them about me. Carl and Ray’s smiles were just as bright as Rick’s and Elgee’s. They could hardly contain themselves as they made a quick survey of the property and focused in on the beach and lake.
“Can we go swimming, please, Rick?”
Evidently, they were unaware I spoke Spanish as well. Instead of allowing Rick to answer, I suggested, “Why don’t we get all of your things in your rooms first, then we can all walk down to the lake. I need to explain a few things about using the lake and the dock. Okay?”
“You speak Spanish,” laughed Carl. “Rick didn’t say. Guess we’ll have to be careful what we say or what we’re plotting.”
Bags in their hands, I led the boys inside and up the stairs to the bedrooms. “Put your bags on the beds for now. If you want to put things away later, the dressers are free to use.”
A tour of the bathroom upstairs and where bath towels for use inside and older towels for swimming were stored, especially the swimming towels, brightened the eyes of the two younger boys. Downstairs, I pointed out the downstairs bathroom (“or you can just step outside and piss in the yard” brought giggles from Carl and Ray, the kitchen (especially the refrigerator with the invitation to help themselves to soda or other beverages), the dining room, the living room (the television remote), and my small office where the password for accessing my Wi Fi was tacked up on a small corkboard.
“”Depending on what carrier and type of service you have on your phones, you may not need my Wi Fi connection. I have a satellite service for internet and television. I knew Elgee wouldn’t need the Wi Fi since he had unlimited data and voice throughout the United States via my service.
We’d remodeled the basement years before when Claire and her family used to visit frequently so it now held a family room, along with a mechanical room. The family room had a large screen television, a wet bar, a refrigerator well stocked with soda and water, and a pool table. Chairs, a couple of hide-a-bed couches, and small tables made up the rest of the furniture. It’d been well used in those years and was begging to be used again.
Carl and Ray were still anxious to get to the beach. It was about a hundred yard from the house, so it gave me a chance to point out the barn, hog yard, chicken yard, unused garden, three car garage where I kept my car and 4WD pickup truck (“room for your truck, Rick, if you want to get it out of the weather”), the well house, and machine shed. I don’t have a clue how much attention Ray and Carl paid to my description of the property, but when I came to the beach, the dock extending out into the lake, and the boat house, they were all ears!
Standing on the dock, allowing them time to look across, up, and down the lake, their minds absorbing the placement of the several islands visible from the dock, and the far shore with its scattering of cottages and homes, noticing the bluish water, so clear the sandy bottom was discernable from the dock, and the small (and large fish) sheltering under and around the dock, I broke their spell by explaining they weren’t permitted to swim alone, especially Ray and Carl.
“It’s not that don’t believe you can handle yourselves in the water, but if something should happen, who’d go for help?”
I also explained, none of us, myself included, would be allowed in the boats without wearing a PFD – a personal flotation device. “If you don’t have it on, it won’t do you much good if you fall overboard or some drunken or careless boat driver rams our boat.”
An accident happened several years before under similar circumstances, causing injury to some boat passengers and brought on the death of one. None of the boat passengers were wearing life jackets and it was pure chance some of the injured didn’t drown.
Curiosity gripped all four so they just had to lean over the dock and swish their hands in the lake, testing it for temperature.
“It’s a little chilly,” offered Elgee.
Ray’s response was akin to something similar, although he worded it, “Cold enough to shrink your balls up to your belly button.”
“You’ll get used to,” I said laughing, knowing full well a little chill in the water wouldn’t stop the boys from going for a swim when the weather permitted. “Tell you what, why don’t you guys put your suits on and cool off in the lake and I’ll fix dinner in, say, about an hour?”
“What’s for dinner?” Carl asked.
“Steaks on the grill.”
I refreshed my cocktail, sat back on the porch, and watched the four of them, clad in board shorts swim wear, towels over their shoulders, troupe down to the lake and beach. Happy talk bubbled up around them as they walked, excited about going for a swim and, evidently, about the visit. I laughed looking at them as they walked; slender, not skinny or emaciated, but slim, svelte, lithe; narrow waists, not a hip on any one of them, average in height and build for their ages, and overall, average teen boys, three dark haired, dark eyes, tan complexion, and one brown hair, brown eyes, and white. I knew the minute they hit the water, their squeals and shouts echoing up from the lake once the cold water hit those most vulnerable parts of the body, now not so dangly as previously.
I finished up my drink, fired up the gas grill, and let it heat up. I glanced down at the lake before going into the kitchen and just happened to catch a glance of a bare ass being pointed at one of the others. It appeared Ray, standing on the dock, was the most adventuresome and decided to moon the others, with a flash of his bare, brown butt. With a giggle, he pulled up his shorts and jumped back into the lake.
I seasoned the steaks, turned on the oven so I could slip a tray of frozen French fries in before the steaks were done, and set out the dishes and flatware we’d use for dinner. I didn’t think they’d last a full hour in the lake and I was right. I heard them coming onto the porch, laughing, teasing Ray about his bare ass and his dare in return, “next time we’ll go skinny dipping-right?”
They gave me a wave as they headed up stairs to dry up and dress and I headed out to the grill with the platter of steaks. It seemed the meat barely began to sizzle when I was joined by Ray and Carl asking if they could help.
“Set the table, put out sour cream, catsup, steak sauce, salt, pepper, and salad dressing. There’s hard rolls to put in a bread basket and a bowl of lettuce salad in the refrigerator. Don’t pour the milk until the steaks and French fries are done.”
Carl asked, as we worked, how they should address me. “Should be call you Mr. Moore, Doctor Moore, or what? Can we call you Uncle Levi like Elgee and Rick do?”
It was fine with me and so I became “Uncle Levi” to all of them. I wondered how long Elgee and Rick would be and Ray informed me they were in their bedroom “dressing or something.” I asked no more!
Dinner was delicious, the conversation delightful and informative. The more I listened, asking an occasional innocuous question, the more I became convinced I was doing the right thing to take Elgee under my wing. He was smart, a hard worker, honest, and deeply in love with Rick!
After dinner cleanup took very little time since everyone pitched in. I was to find this would be a normal occurrence and was more than welcome.
“If there was an on-shore breeze, meaning one coming from the lake blowing the bugs back into the woods, we’d sit on the porch, even though it’s screened, for a bit, but the mosquitoes are so bad this year, I’d just as soon stay indoors.”
“By the way,” I continued, “there’s a supply of bug repellant in the cupboard by the kitchen sink. Help yourselves.”
I suggested, if they wished, to avail themselves of the television in the family room or pool table, which all four did. They didn’t stay downstairs long. All four were tired from the long trip, the swim, and full tummies and headed up to bed after a “good night” to me.
Pouring a glass of red wine, I settled in my favorite chair in front of the fireplace in the living room, and relaxed. About half way through the glass, I looked up and saw Elgee and Rick coming down the stairs. They settled themselves on the couch facing me and sort of shrugged their shoulders.
“Couldn’t sleep or have questions?” I inquired.
“Sort of both,”Elgee offered. “You’ve got a real neat place here Uncle Levi. Rick and I were wondering when and how you bought it. Auntie Claire really didn’t answer many questions.”
Elgee was direct without being offensive. He deserved an answer. “It’s David’s childhood home where he was raised with his brothers and sister. We bought out his siblings when his parents died.”
Cautiously, almost embarrassed, Elgee asked, “Who was David?’
“David Coleman; my boyfriend, my lover, my partner in life, and my husband.”
Rick and Elgee sat quietly while I composed myself, waiting for me to complete my answer.
“He died several years ago, felled by an undiagnosed heart condition.”