Tuesday, May 30, 2017


    I'm an eldest child. I had no choice in the matter. In fact for my first 14 months on earth I thought I was the only child of a single mom, playing with a pack of Luckys in our trailer. Then the old man returned from Korea, left me out in the living room with my cigarettes, as he defiled my mother and nine  months later brother Bird (Mupp) was born. I dealt with the trauma of not being the center of attention and went about my business as the family grew. They stopped the puppy mill at three brothers and one sister. It took me a while to reconcile this betrayal of favoritism, but eventually I realized that my position as elder amongst my siblings brought with it not only competition but responsibility and an obligation to the pack. They looked to me to learn the ropes of manipulation that I had refined in my 14 months before they all got here. When do you cry to get the tit or just sulk in the corner? Is it a show of weakness to kiss ass or can we all agree to cooperate for the better good of the unit? It's a complicated dance being the eldest, but I've done my best.
    All this said, I can honestly admit that my siblings paid very little attention to my advice after they were all weaned. They were strong individuals in their own rights and my father's admonitions to me that "YOU have to set the example." was laughed at by all of them as time passed. And that was for the common good. I became an artist, an iconoclast, a radical, lazy draft dodger who had no interest in holding down a steady job or starting a family. It would've served no purpose for my brothers and sister to follow my lead. So instead of having kids I started a church. They had plenty of kids who now are all having kids. Ignoring my example my immediate family became upstanding members of the community, maintained steady jobs, remain out of jail and are pumping out kids like a bunch of Hassidics. Once in a great while they attend CLGM services. Most times the ascribe to Bird's viewpoint- "I've seen the elephant stand on one foot before. No need to attend that circus."
    So to all my family who were not there, and may happen to read HWS, here's what you missed. Sister Elyse Steinman died over the winter from cancer, as did Brother Sal Siggia. THE CALICO INDIAN service was dedicated to the memories of these two beautiful individuals. It was a joyous occasion, not a wallowing in grief, rather a celebration of who they were and who "WE" are. The place was packed with strangers, most of whom never knew Elyse or Sal, but choked up with those who did. They brought their kids and dogs, dressed up in colorful disguises and made so much noise the heavens rocked. The vibe was so electric and positive it brought tears to my eyes. I lost my voice barking out hymns like BORN JUST A LITTLE GAY and POOR (what is it good for?) Even though CLGM services seem to only take place once a year, it only takes a second to find our stride. The LOVE in the room becomes so pervasive, it's literally impossible not to be positively affected.
   I have failed miserably in setting a good example to my brothers and sister if they feel any reticence in exposing their children and grandchildren to CLGM services. A little before she died my mom attended church. "Sister Nun of Your Business" asked her if she was shocked? She smiled that wry smile of her's and said it was "About what I expected." from her eldest. My mother was a generous inspiration. I want to thank the Band of All Faiths, Majestic Farm, Outlier Studios, Nutbush, Judge Andy, Pigpen Rothman, Shewho, Honey the Clown, Kat Wilson, Cardinal Leila,  all the supermodels, Grey, Greg Strempka, many I'm forgetting and every stranger who attended and felt happy and safe after experiencing something that is bigger than all of us. I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of something that has lasted over 30 years and has led us down an incredibly satisfying path, cleared of all deadfalls and briars of dogma, doctrine, and mean spiritedness. To my great nieces and nephews who someday may be able to read this- REMEMBER how much I LOVE you and how welcome you are at church....no matter what you parents and grandparents have told you. This is my example to you.        


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