The Sunday Club

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 20

"The sun too penetrates into privies, but is not polluted by them."


"So," I concluded, my arm around Hardy seated next to me on the couch in our living room, as I looked at my three, now adult, nephews seated about the room.

I'd endured, as well as had Hardy since he was my constant companion, several weeks of interviews by the boys (they'll always be 'the boys' even though they are far from it anymore). The doctors and Jimmy, who feels he must make his own diagnosis and prognosis, agreed I was recovering nicely and, if I took my medicine and heeded my doctor's advice, I should have some years left in my old body. Certainly, I had no desire to rush the inevitable but knowing there's no way any of us can avoid it!

"as you well know," I continued, "my first encounter with you lads was less than stellar I thought at the time. You seemed quite, shall we say, defensive and perhaps a bit belligerent. That seemed to change when your Dad had a little talk with you."

I remembered well their demeanor after Johnny's "conversation" with them. Eddie and Jimmy seemed more relaxed, not quite so defensive or fearful, seemingly more compliant and accepting of my position as their Uncle and brother to their father.

Micky, on the other hand, not just as much! He still carried that air of "big brother" and now, protector of his very ill father. With his father rather incapacitated and his mother deceased, Micky felt he carried the mantle of "the man of the house."

Our first-class accommodations provided us with more room (there happened to be no other first class passengers on this particular flight for some reason), so the boys could sleep and Johnny and I could converse freely.

In our discussion, I discovered Maallini and he were in Bangkok on the day she died, the same day the coup attempt was made, to visit doctors concerning her pregnancy, discuss the severity of his illness, and visit the Embassy to make arrangements to leave the country and head for the States. He'd been able to obtain a visa for Maallini to visit, but had progressed no further in securing resident alien status for her. He felt she could declare refugee status or claim U.S. citizenship because of her marriage to him.

They were caught up, as they left the doctor's offices, in the fight during the coup attempt and Maallini fell victim of a gunshot from one of the combatants, either government or one of the insurgents, Johnny wasn't certain. Either way, she, along with the baby she carried, died in Johnny's arms while he waited for help to arrive.

As soon as possible, he had her body transported back home to their village for mourning and cremation according to the Buddhist tradition. Her cremated remains were in Micky's checked luggage. He would do the honor, as eldest son, of interring her remains next to Johnny's when he died.

This led to my concerns for his illness!

"It's a cancer," he explained. "Apparently, there was little which could be done except make me comfortable and enjoy my last days. The doctors in Bangkok seem to think I have, perhaps, three to six months left. The way I feel and from what I know concerning the damned disease, I'm hoping to make it through Christmas and into the new year."

"Do the boys know how severe---uh—fatal, this is?"

"Yeh! We've had some long, tearful talks about it and now, with their mother gone, they'll be living with you and Uncle Hardy once I'm gone!"

I could do nothing but nod, sadly, or so sadly! Not only for me, losing my younger brother, but for my nephews as well.

"It'll be difficult for them," he continued, "going to a country of which they are citizens, but never lived in. Four seasons will be really strange, especially winter with snow and cold. They're used to a tropical, warmer and wetter climate. The monsoon season is terribly wet with flooding in many places."

Johnny chuckled, "Wearing clothes all of the time will be a real novelty and test for them. They're used to running around naked most of the time, enjoying the outdoors, the water, and life in general."

"I know, Billy, you'll be as patient and loving with them as you were with me. I'll not worry! Little boys can be little boys, you know, having the very devilment in them sometimes. Remember?"

I did and so did he by the bemused look on his face!

"Billy, I just want to enjoy, the best I can, the little time I have left with you, the boys, and the Sunday Club."

Johnny went on to explain the arrangements he'd made for the custody and care of his sons, including financial arrangements and the provisions of his Will. In essence, I was their guardian with full parental rights, Hardy and I were trustees to the various trusts and accounts they'd be receiving, and he carried with him, their birth certificates, immunization records, passports, social security registrations, and all other legal documents. He'd been quite busy since he was diagnosed with his disease, He made some revisions, not many, since the death of his wife. The boys were now the sole heirs with rights of survivorship on the various financial provisions until they executed their own Wills or made other agreements once they were of age.

All of this was hard for me to listen to and take in, but I made him my solemn promise his boys would be will be cared for and loved as much as I loved him.

When I broached the subject of the boys being raised by and living with two gay men (now the term to be used), he reassured me there's be no problem.

"They're problem, concerning sexual orientation or same sex relationships, will be trying to understand why it'd be a problem with others. They accept it, understand who and what you are, and have no problem, as you will soon notice, I think!"

Hardy was waiting for us, accompanied by Kenny, at the airport when we landed. Kenny insisted on coming along, determined to help in any way he could. They brought the nine passenger van Skip used to ferry real estate clients around and the small music groups he played with. Kenny always joked he played with men using his instrument and the others played music with theirs.

I wondered how the boys would accept Kenny! He is so effeminate at times; "girly" he'd giggle when describing his actions. He was very "touchy-feely" and fussed with the boys when he first saw them, giving them each a hug, calling them "his pretty baby boys," or "honey," or "darling." He was concerned the colder weather would have a debilitating effect on their health, so made certain their coats were zipped up and there were blankets in the van to cover them with.

"Wouldn't want my young beauties to catch a cold or a bad case of the poops!" The boys just giggled, but let him fuss and flit about them, seeing to their needs. They seemed to love it and him! It wasn't long until they chattering happily with him, asking questions concerning where they were going to live, how cold it really got, and did they have to wear clothes all the time.

"Certainly not around me," he assured them. "Although outside in the winter you're liable to freeze off your little pump handles and they would make me sad, you sore, and make you squat to pee."

They thought it was hilarious! The boys started to tire and Eddie and Jimmy cuddled up next to Kenny, he covered them with blankets, and they fell sound asleep. Micky, on the other hand, sitting next to the window, stared out, watching the landscape, and said little.

Hardy, after receiving my phone call from San Francisco, quickly rallied help in preparing for our arrival. Bedrooms were his top priority and called members of the Sunday Club, who could come at a moment's notice, and my mom and Grandparents to come over and help move things around. When he and Kenny left to pick us up, my mom and Grandmother Thompson were busy supervising the moving of Hardy and my things from the master bedroom downstairs (the one we occupied after Uncle Lou died) and moving them to our old bedroom in the upstairs.

"All three of the boys in one room," Mom instructed. "They'll need to comfort each other after what they've been through. Strangers in a strange land with strangers all around them can only add to their distress! We need to minimize it!"

Enough said!

So it was, when we arrived home, Hardy and Kenny took charge of the boys while I helped Johnny settle into his room downstairs. I hoped he'd rest, but no luck! He announced, while tired he might be, he was not invalided, yet. Hugs and kisses for Johnny from Mom and Grandma and for the boys when they came bounding down the stairs after Kenny helped put their clothes in the closet and various dressers. Nothing like having a male nanny I thought at the time. At that point, Mom became Auntie Beth and my grandparents became their Grandma and Grandpa Thompson as well and Kenny became "Uncle Kenny" but privately the boys called him "Auntie" and he loved it and them!

Johnny called his grandparents, telling them he was home and settled and wondered if they could come over and meet the boys. They didn't waste any time! They were happy to see Johnny but it wasn't the reception he expected. Far from it!

Although pleased, it appeared, to see Johnny and distressed he was so ill, they were clearly disappointed he'd quit the priesthood, married, and had a family. Johnny, never-the-less, introduced his sons. Each lad, as he was presented, made a little bow, clasped his hands together, and greeted them in the same manner and language they addressed me previously.

The reaction was totally different from I expected. Johnny's grandparents seemed indifferent, almost distant, acknowledging the greeting, but not accepting who gave it. It was as if some strange critter was observed in the zoo and people retorted their dismay or repulsion or acknowledging the presence of a table waiter who's only duty was to serve you and not enter your life in any way.

"Shit!" I thought, "they're fucking prejudiced! They just can't accept these beautiful, brown boys as their great-grandchildren."

All doubt left my mind since, after the introductions were complete, they resumed their conversation with Johnny and ignored the boys. If the boys were disappointed their great-grandparents failed to hold them in regard or recognize them as legitimately Johnny's children, they didn't show it! All three were stoic, standing to the side of their father until he murmured something to them in Thai. Eddie and Jimmy joined Hardy and Kenny in the kitchen helping prepare our evening meal.

Micky meandered toward where I sat, standing, tucked himself up close, allowing me to put an arm around his slim waist. You know how boys can be terribly perceptive (all three of my nephews are)? He leaned over, whispering,

"I don't think they like us!"

I whispered back, pulling him closer, "I do and so does Uncle Hardy. Woe be to anyone who would dare do you harm!"

Micky sighed and relaxed against me, laying his head on my shoulder, accepting me, knowing I accepted him. Micky and I bonded that day!

In the next couple of weeks, Marchetti relatives stopped by to see Johnny, ostensibly since he was so ill and probably would not survive the winter. Secondarily, I thought they were also over curious concerning his "half-caste" children!

"Fuck'em!" I thought at the time. Hardy and I made certain the boys knew who loved them.

Johnny made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, celebrating each holiday with Hardy, the boys, me, and the rest of the Thompson Family. He was on earth when the boys experienced their first snow fall, listened attentively after the first day of school, attended their Christmas programs, their first fish fry at "Uncle Lou's" relaying to them how he first started there and later worked after school, and enjoyed tucking them in at night (albeit) it was finally difficult for him to go up and down the stairs.

Johnny died, his boys attending him as he lay in bed, January 20, 1986!

His ashes, born by Eddie and Jimmy, and their mother's ashes, carried by Micky as the first born, were interred in the family plot I'd purchased years before. Uncle Lou and Pudge were buried there as would I and Hardy and any of the Sunday Club who wished to be.

My reverie, my mind wandering on the past, was interrupted by Eddie, the ever inquisitive one!

"Okay, Uncle Bill, let's go back to one of our first questions several weeks ago. To wit: how did the Sunday Club get its name?"

"You said, at the time, it was because the group met on Sunday. Now, I didn't personally know Uncle Lou as you did. All I know of him is from what you've said. Regarding our question, I've been adding two and two and either get three or five, not the four I should. I think Uncle Lou had something more complex in mind or you totally misunderstood what he was saying."

"I admit that's what I thought the toast meant we made for special occasions for many years. How wrong I was! I never took the opportunity to explain it to you, preferring to leave it as did Uncle Lou, for someone else to decipher. In other words, let others continue to believe it was a day of the week."

"Remember when same-sex marriage became legal in our state?"

"April 2009," Mick responded.

"Right! All of us married the first weekend of May with a ceremony at Uncle Lou's. You boys stood up with Uncle Hardy and me. Sling and Sketch married, as did Mooch and Buzz, and Skeeter and Skip. It was a grand day!"

"It sure was," Mick laughed. "Kenny was so excited Skip and Skeeter were marrying, he almost pissed his silk panties!"

"How old were you," Jimmy asked, "when you suggested he wear silk panties on 'special occasions' rather than those fancy jock straps he usually wore? What, maybe fourteen or fifteen?"

"Closer to thirteen," confessed Micky. "Those jock straps did make him more convenient and accessible though."

I interrupted their laughter and joking.

"Enough! You boys have your own stories to tell about growing up in Frenchtown to tell another time. Please allow me to finish my explanations."

"At the reception we had for families and friends after the ceremony, I raised my glass and gave our traditional toast; may all our days, young and old, be Sundays, those days when we can be who are or who we love, and live in peace and security. We remain a band of like brethren, who support each other and provide for those in need."

"When making the toast, I thought of your Dad, finally living his life in the open with the woman he loved and his sons. Now, all of us can come out of the closet, living as gay couples, enjoying the light of day, so to speak. I remember the quote on the office wall at 'Uncle Lou's. It'd been there for years, but I never really took heed of it. It read,

"The sun too penetrates into privies, but is not polluted by them."


Think about it! Standing there with my glass in my hand, it was revealed to me what I'd misunderstood all those years. Uncle Lou meant not the day of the week, but two words- sun and day. In other words, a day when the sun would shine on all of us, gay, straight, bisexual, trans, or queer, freeing us from the darkness we were confined to by a world who really didn't want to accept us. That day, in April, was a sunny day for us all!

The End

I hope you enjoyed reading "The Sunday Club."

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Nick Hall

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental or used in a fictional content.

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