Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A chance encounter

Last Fri one of the guys Bryan brought a friend Dan with him to Fri Night Dinner with 'the usual suspects'. Dan lives about 2 hours from here but happened to be in town Fri night so he came along with Bryan.

During our dinner conversation Dan happened to mention that his business partner had been raised as a Jehovah's Witness. More for comedic value than anything else, I asked him "What's his name? Maybe I know him." Dan had no idea I was raised in the Jehovah's Witness religion, but he told me his business partner's name anyway (David H), and my eyes widened as big as saucers.

"Oh my god, I DO know him!" To be sure we weren't talking about different guys with the same name, I told Dan the city/state David's family moved to when we were kids, and then I remembered his parents' and sibling's names. Sure enough, it was the same guy!

David's parents and my parents were good friends and lived near one another when we were very young. My father officiated David's parents' wedding! David and I are the same age and were good friends too. Then when we were probably around 10 his family moved away, but they moved to a town not far from where my grandparents lived.

During the years when I was probably about 12-15 years old my parents would let me stay with my grandparents in the country for a couple weeks during summer break from school. I would help them with their garden and enjoy swimming at the 'Big Swimmin' Hole'. It was very rural and there were no other kids around, so one year my parents thought it might be nice if David H would stay with me at my grandparents' house for a few days. We had fun helping my grandparents, exploring in the woods, and swimming.

Since my grandparents' house was super tiny, it was decided that David and I would sleep in their old Shasta camper trailer in the back yard. (When you're that age the idea of sleeping in a camper seems a lot more fun that it does now.) I remember one night after David had fallen asleep, I slid my hand inside the waistband of his underwear ever-so-slowly and gently. It was so amazingly exhilarating when my fingertips reached his pubic hair. Dare I go any further? What if he wakes up? I slowly and carefully continued my exploration until I was sure my heavy breathing would wake him up, so I stopped. I don't think I slept at all that night.

I had no inclination at that time that David was gay. He was just a nice boy in the right place at the right time. Learning from Dan and Bryan that David was gay kind of surprised me. I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen him. But David remembered.

Dan texted David: "I'm having dinner w/Bryan and someone who thinks he knows you, Mark in DE". David texted back: "Of course I remember Mark. The last time I saw him was at his grandmother's funeral (1990). His dad married my parents!"

I was so glad to learn that David was doing well. When someone leaves or gets kicked out of the JWs and their family is strict about following the rules like mine, not only do you lose touch with your family, but you have no connection to anyone else who may leave or get kicked out after you. So although David had been 'out' and out of the JWs for years, I had no way of knowing.

Sometimes old JW friends have contacted me in the past by calling Directory Assistance, looking me up in the phone book, and more recently using internet sites designed to help locate people. But both David and I were still JWs the last time we saw each other, so I guess neither of us even thought to look up the other once we'd exited the religion.

I'm just blown away at how a chance meeting with Dan (Bryan's friend) at dinner has allowed me to reconnect with David after all these years. We're now friends on Facebook too, and I am hoping to set up a face-to-face soon so we can catch up.

Crush du Jour: Simon Howard


behrmark said...

You're on Facebook and haven't friended me? I'm hurt. ;) I think this is a great story if for no other reason than to reassure you - and us - that we tend to gravitate to like-minded people even if we don't realize it. Excellent post!

Larry Ohio said...

That is wild! The world is smaller than we think.

Beth said...

that is SO cool when this happens...its' happened to me a few times...well, not the sleeping in the camper and sliding my hand down a guys pants till I touched his pubic hair....but you get the idea.

Love you and Spouse and miss you so much! and Ilove what you've done in your bathroom....the oak is beautiful!!

Howard said...

Quelle petit monde, eh? Wonder if he remembers the groping you gave him... LOL

Kyle said...

Mark, that's awesome that you could reconnect with an old friend! Don't you just love surprises?

Just yesterday I got to reconnect with old friends, because of Facebook. I checked for them when I first joined, but they weren't on. They did a search when they signed up recently and found me. Now Stan and I have an excuse to go to San Francisco.

cb said...

Cool! Another gay JW!! Maybe you can rekindle your friendship and have him down to dinner sometime!

Sean said...

What a wonderful happening!

Miss Ginger Grant said...

That whole JW thing just boggles my mind! I cannot imagine a mother shunning her own child....
I work with a JW girl and she is pretty cool, but she's real quiet about it. I may be the only one in the office who even knows....

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Michael Mattison said...

Touching story,
Mark. Thanks for sharing.
See you again soon, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Java said...

That is a cool story.

CJ/Rick said...

Mr Howard reminds me I should be doing laundry tonight.