The Gay Groom Gets Wet in Steeltown

The Gay Groom is fortunate to have parents who are accepting of him and welcoming of the Partner.  Actually, come to think of it, they are fortunate too.

Today the Partner and I went back to my hometown. My older brother and my nephew were down visiting my parents for a few days so the Partner and I decided to rent a car (I pride myself on not having owned a car since 2001) and drive down and have a Sunday barbeque in the backyard of the old family homestead it Hamilton, Ontario.

“It’ll be lovely!’ I said to the Partner.

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario.  Hamilton lies between NiagaraFalls and Toronto on the western end of Lake Ontario.  At one time the city was called ‘Steeltown’ as steel, for almost a century, fueled the economy of the city.  When I was growing up, it seemed like everyone’s father (and many of our mothers) worked at one of the huge mills along the bay.  Both my parents worked in steel.  In fact my parents actually met at a steel mill – Mill’s Steel – back in 1964.

Yes, even your humble blogger worked for a time in a steel factory back in the 80s.  Though it did not take long for me to decide that steel really was not my cup of tea (perhaps because I was the only one in the factory that said things like ‘not my cup of tea’).

But not many people work in the steel industry in Hamilton anymore.

My first novel was about growing up gay in Hamilton during the 70s and 80s.  It was a stylized version of the city I created then.  I may have dressed her up a little more eccentrically than she is in real life, but Hamilton, (maybe because it is between one of the Wonders of the World and a world-class city) always reminds me of a spinster aunt who wants to be noticed.  I think she would enjoy being dressed up in the wildly colourful frock I put her in for a while.

Today she needed a raincoat.

We hit rain just outside of Toronto.  Not just rain, but belting down, torrential, find an ark, I can barely drive, ‘what the fuck!’ kind of rain.

Hamilton Under Water

Hamilton Under Water

By the time we arrived in Steeltown, the roads ran like rivers.  Water was shooting up like a geyser out of the manhole covers.  We parked the rental car and ran to my parent’s door.  My feet we soaked in water to my ankles.  We knocked and my mother answered the door barefoot, her face flushed.

“There’s a flood in the basement!” she said.

My brother and nephew were trying to salvage what they could.  The Partner and I helped out.

Then the power went off.

Later, as we all sat barefoot in the living-room, we had some time to rest, have a cup of tea (which really is my cup of tea) and talk.  My parents asked about my wedding.  They’re sincere interest is encouraging.  We explained we were trying to put a lot of ourselves into the ceremony.  But I was really too waterlogged to discuss the wedding.  We put on the Weather Channel and winced when we saw another band of thunderstorms approaching.

It was my father who suggested (now that a barbecue was out of the question) he take us all out for dinner.  “How about a steak?” he asked.  There was a nice restaurant in Stoney Creek…

We took two cars.  Turning a corner we came to a stop.  Traffic was being diverted off a flooded Redhill Expressway onto the city street.  It was backed-up for miles.  I was getting a headache.

Redhill Expressway Underwater

Redhill Expressway Underwater

The Partner and I sat in traffic for half an hour and then I called my father on my cellphone.  He was sitting in traffic in front us on the same  street.

“I think I’m gunna take a rain-check on that steak,” I said.

“I think that’s wise.” he said.

And as I turned our rental car around to headed back to Toronto a belting down, torrential, find an arc, I can barely drive, ‘what the fuck!’ kind of rain started again.

69 days to go.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom


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