Every year my father celebrated his birthday by hosting a barbecue for his family and friends, held on the Saturday afternoon closest to June 6th. I always tried to schedule my summer visit to Rock Island (up to 1995) or Indianapolis (after 1995) to coincide with it.
Dad died last year, so I assumed that the barbecues were over, until I got a Facebook Instant Message from my sister's son, Joseph, age 27, a doctoral student in Central Asian Languages, at Indiana University.
"I'm continuing Grandpa's tradition of Memorial Day Barbecues at my house. Can you make it? I want to talk to you about something."
"Sure, no problem," I responded, curious. What could he want to talk about. Maybe he wanted to come out!
Even though Joseph married a girl named Jan five years ago, I still think he's gay, or at least bi.
He's flamboyant and theatrical, swishing and limp-wristed, with that nasal "gay accent" voice. He wears bright pastel shirts and tight bulging jeans and plastic bracelets.
Yes, I got a sausage sighting: average, cut.
He belongs to an LGBT news group on Facebook, and he drove his Dad's vintage 1969 car in the Indianapolis Gay Pride Parade.
Definitely coming out. Or -- had he turned fundamentalist, and wanted to quote Leviticus at me?
And I brought along David from San Francisco for moral support -- an ex-Baptist minister with a master's degree in Classics, an expert on the Biblical passages used to promote homophobia.
We arrived on Wednesday and saw my mother and my sister and brother-in-law, but not Joseph, not until Saturday afternoon, the barbecue: hot dogs and hamburgers grilled in the back yard of Joseph's 100-year old house on the South Side of Indianapolis.
How did they afford it, when he was a graduate teaching assistant, and she worked in a museum?
We said hello to Joseph and gave him a gift, then pushed our way through the crowd, saying hello, getting introduced. I counted over 20 adults, plus kids: Joseph and Jan's parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins. All relatives, all heterosexual as far as I could tell -- with one exception.
A young guy on the far side of the yard, talking to Jan. Shorter than me, dark-skinned, square head with heavy eyebrows and a big smile, a v-shaped torso, a hard smooth chest with prominent nipples, a little belly, and heavy, square workman's hands.
"Dibs," I whispered to David, and walked over to introduce myself and cruise him. Heavily.
Then Joseph grabbed me. "Uncle Boomer! Can I talk to you for a second. Without David?"
He took me onto the screen porch.
Uh, oh -- this is it! I thought. He's either going to come out or pull out a Bible!
"Uh -- no,"
"Ok, good. I didn't expect you to bring anyone...um...so I got a date for you."
"What?" A blind date?
"I know what it's like to feel out of place at these family gatherings, so I invited Ravi, from Kazakhstan. He's just come out, and looking to meet people. And he likes older guys." He grabbed my knee. "I got you tickets to a dance concert tonight -- but I didn't know David would be here, so I just got two."
"Oh, no problem, he sounds great."
Kazakh, the language spoken by the Turkic tribes that descended on Central Asia a thousand years ago:
I like to eat big sausages.
Turkish: Büyük sosisleri severim
Kazakh:Men ülken şujıq jewge unaydı
"But won't David feel left out?"
Apparently Joseph had never heard of the gay community custom of "sharing." It's not common on a first date, but not unheard-of.
Ravi (real name Ravil) turned out to be in engineering, not in Central Asian Languages: 23 years old, in the U.S. only about a year. He always knew that he liked guys, but only acknowledged that he was gay a few months ago. He reminded me of Yuri. He had never met any older gay men before, and peppered us with questions about how we came out, how we formed romantic relationships, if we ever wanted to get married and have kids, if we knew any gay Muslims.
When we got back to the apartment, David and Tyler were already asleep, so we took the guest room.
Ravi was very passionate, into kissing and fondling, with a very thick cut Bratwurst. I went down on him until he spurted, then moved into the interfemoral position, which he had never done before.
In the morning Tyler -- but not David -- joined us. I went down on them both while they were kissing, then fondled Tyler's testicles while they moved into the 69 position. Then Ravi went down on me while Tyler pushed into my mouth.
David interrupted us. "Hey, I hate to ruin the party...." He reached out and fondled Ravi.
"No, it's ok, join us," Ravi said. "I would love your cock in my ass."
"Sounds tempting, but no time. We should get going if we're going to make it to church. I'm be waiting in the living room."
Ravi seemed a little put-out by David's reluctance. He let me go down on him until he finished, then quickly dressed and left. When I called later, he claimed to be too busy to get together again.
But I got to hook up with a beautiful guy from Central Asia, and hear the Kazakh language!
Later I instant messaged Joseph: "Thanks for introducing me to Ravi. He was very nice. Too bad we won't have time to see each other again before I leave Indianapolis."
"You're leaving soon?" Joseph responded. "But we never had a chance to talk."
I thought Ravi was the talk! "Ok, I have some time this afternoon."
Coming out, finally? Suggesting a three way with Ravi?
"I have a job offer at the University of Amsterdam," Joseph said. "I know you go there every year, so I wanted to ask your advice about living there."
See also: Is My Nephew Gay?; Tatar Boys; David Has Sex with 5,000 Guys; and The Best Friend of Terry the Homophobe: