It’s home for the holidays for me. That’s code for not going anywhere. I used to go out on Memorial Day. I used to go somewhere for the holiday weekend. One time was Boston. It was the mid 90’s and I had waited until the Friday before the holiday to think about going somewhere. I was fighting with whoever I was with then as usual and the there was this $25 fare from Philadelphia each way on Trailways, which was a hell of a lot cheaper than the $400 plus the airlines were asking to go to Miami with 1 days notice.
When I moved to South Jersey from North Jersey, I started to head to Washington DC like most people who live and or work in Philly did. When I say most people I guess that should be specific and say most black gay males did that. We were heading for the black gay pride events that were being held in DC. What other people did I don’t know.
I remember that we would head for the clubs on Saturday perhaps. Tracks, was the name of one of the clubs. We would line up outside for about 20 to 30 minutes waiting to get in, waiting for the pat down and crutch grope that we all had to endure. The club itself was large with many dance floors and packed wall to wall with all shades of chocolate brothas grinding on each other, showing and sharing all that they had or all that they were allowed to.
If I didn’t head down there on Saturday, then I would be on I95 on Sunday. We would be passed by hundreds of white dudes on motorcycles. I put it that way because I think, “white dudes” brings up images of the movie Easy Rider and Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild,” people on a mission. I found out later on that the riders were part of the Rolling Thunder, an organization that rode to DC to celebrate and remember veterans or promote campaigns to search for missing Vietnam vets and POW’s. I instead headed to Dupont Circle and then Banneker Field where people would walk around the perimeter of the field for an hour or two, sometimes in the rain looking like lost souls hoping to run into an old friend or a piece du jour for the evenings entertainment. Those were the days when some people wore spandex without underwear. Some men looked kind of sexy and others looked like they had used that penis pump a little too much and should have been seeking medical attention rather than sexual encounters.
Nowadays, I believe most people in the Northeast head for warmer get togethers like Miami’s Sizzle events, or the San Juan Brothas Puerto Rico or Cancun gathering. I, on the other hand don’t.
I could give some noble reason like I have gotten to a certain maturity and say that things like that don’t excite me anymore. But that really wouldn’t be true. I think I get bored easily and tired more often and the days of me hopping off a plane after acting like I was in the Golden Calf scene in The 10 Commandments and heading straight to work are long behind me.
This year instead I shall try to remember what Memorial Day is about. No, not the sales. Since no one in my family has ever fought in a war, I shall visit a memorial. Maybe the Vietnam Memorial in Philly which is no where near as dramatic as the DC one, but it has the same sentiment. I shall go there because even though I was too young to understand what Vietnam was about when it was going on, I don’t know how long it will be before I can go to an Iraq Memorial or count the amount of names that will be listed there.