October 14, 1989: At Home in Dallas
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November-December, 1989
Home for the Holidays

 

Grant and I had planned to go home to visit my mom this Christmas, so we thought that we would ask Grant's dad and his stepmother, Roxanne, whom Don had married earlier in the year, to come down to visit with us at Thanksgiving. They had taken the news of Grant's illness well, but I could tell that they were anxious to see him.

 

Thanksgiving

They came down two days before Thanksgiving, and we did some touristy things and they played some golf out near Las Colinas. On Thanksgiving day, Greg was in Dallas (he likes to be with us at this time of year, particularly since both our birthdays fall right around this same time) with us and, as usual, Grant had set a perfect table.


Me, Greg, Grant and Grant's Dad

Me With the Guest of Honor

I don't exactly know why, but I have always cooked a big turkey at Thanksgiving, even when I was the only one to eat it. I have done this for years, but now I have at least Grant to cook for too. I do all the trimmings and it is a lot of fun.


Grant Is lighting the fire just before dinner. Grant's predilection for things blue and white is obvious here.

Roxanne Wagner on Our Patio

I was enjoying getting the dinner ready for the five of us while Grant was visiting with his folks and with Greg.


At left is Grant's Dad, Don Wagner, on our patio. When I first met Grant, his relations with his father were strained, which goes back to how Grant perceived his father to have treated his mother, with whom Grant was close. I won't recount all of that here.

But, the last time we were in Chicago, Grant and his dad finally had the kind of talk they should have had years ago, and both began to understand the feelings of the other. The result has been that Grant and his dad are much friendlier now, and the friendship is getting stronger.

Roxanne has helped in mediating, because she can see both sides. Grant's whole family has been very accepting of me publicly, although I think they would prefer that Grant not be gay and living with another man. Grant's aunt Dorothy is the most accepting, but she and Grant were always very good friends. The younger members of the family are also blase about it, perhaps because they have grown up since gay relationships have become commonplace; most of the younger generation these days have friends who are gay, and it is something that is open and discussed.

I very much enjoyed having Roxanne and Don with us for Thanksgiving, and I think it made it extremely special for Grant as well.


Here I am by the dinner table, getting ready to help Roxanne to her place. You can see from these and other pictures just what a great job Grant has done and is doing in decorating our house. It is really a showplace.

I've gone back into the kitchen to put the finishing touches on the meal. Some of my birthday cards are on the counter.


The fire has temporarily gone out. We really don't need it, since it is not very cold today, but it is nice for ambiance.

The Thanksgiving Table Just Before Dinner

Before I finish with the pictures from today, I'd like to make a couple of comments about Roxanne Wagner, as this will be the only time she appears in my photo album. Roxanne strikes me as a very calm, stable woman, and a good complement to Grant's father. Yes, she is younger than he, but I see a genuine affection there. Roxanne works at an insurance company in Chicago, not far from where she and Don live. Perhaps most important, she is young enough (she is a year or two younger than I am) to "understand" Grant and I without the judgmental attitude that many who are a bit older than she display. She may well have been instrumental in bringing Don around to where he is more comfortable with his son- accepting of the fact that this is the way the Creator put Grant (and I) together. She likes Don a lot, and they are good for each other.

 

An Afternoon at Chandler's Landing

The day after Thanksgiving, we drove out to Chandler's Landing so Grant's dad and Roxanne could see the new boat. Grant has had his boat there for some time, and we have enjoyed going out there to sail.


Chandler's Landing (a "chandler" is a person or business that provides supplies for ships; the term has been in use for hundreds of years, and is almost always used in the nautical context) is a yacht club and marina that is located on the east side of Lake Ray Hubbard.

Lake Ray Hubbard, formerly Forney Lake, is a fresh water reservoir located east of the city of Dallas, and spans portions of the counties of Dallas, Kaufman, Collin, and Rockwall just north of the City of Forney. It was created by the construction of the Rockwall-Forney Dam which impounded the East Fork Trinity River.

It measures 32 square miles in area and has a storage capacity of 490,000 acre feet and a maximum depth of 40 feet. The dam is currently owned by the City of Dallas. Interstate 30 bisects the lake. The lake was originally named Forney Lake for the nearby town of Forney, Texas. After the City of Dallas incorporated the lake, it was renamed after a living person, Ray Hubbard, who presided over the Dallas Parks and Recreation System board from 1943 to 1972. However, the company that administrates the distribution of its waters is still known as Forney Lake Water Supply Corp. The reservoir is currently managed by Dallas Water Utilities.

The lake is about 20 miles from where we live; one heads around the north side of downtown and out I-30 towards Texarkana. As soon as I-30 crosses the lake, we exit and head south along Ridge Road, turning onto Yacht Club Drive and down to the marina.


I have no experience with yacht clubs; although there was one near me when I lived in Chicago, I knew no one with a boat and so never had the occasion to visit it. I can say, though, that Grant thought the Chandler's Landing Yacht Club to be very nice, and a great place to keep his boat.

The facility itself was built about ten years ago and includes a clubhouse, restaurant, swimming pool, tennis courts and, of course, a large marina, with both open and covered slips. The sailboats, of course, occupy the open slips. All the facilities are really nice, and I think Grant enjoys it a great deal. The membership fee is pretty reasonable, and we have another, friend, Richard Lowe, who also has a boat there and who is also a member.

Grant and I have had a few lunches in the dining room as well a dinner once or twice. It is also pretty reasonable, and the food it pretty good too. Most times, though, we have snacks out on the boat in the middle of the lake.

The lake is large enough that sailing is a lot of fun; you can go in one direction for more than an hour before you have to tack off in a different one. It takes about an hour to sail across the lake to the marina on the other side; they have a couple of guest docks where you can tie up temporarily and shop in the little store or have something to eat.

NOTE:
I was doing some investigation for this page and I discovered that today, in 2016, the yacht club itself is in foreclosure, although the marina, operated as a separate entity, is still solvent. Apparently, the yacht club expanded to become a tennis club as well, and that cost a lot of money, but they didn't get the membership that they had expected.

Grant is very proud of his sailboat, and he was anxious for his father to go aboard it. Don Wagner was, at one time, a boat captain, although for powered boats, and so the Wagners have a long nautical tradition. As soon as Don and Grant got onto the boat, it was like they were plugged together and in their own little world.


Here is Grant's dad and Grant's new S-2 at Chandler's Landing. It is bigger and nicer and sails better and Grant loves it. Grant is even more meticulous about the boat than he is about the house.

Here's Grant on his boat at Chandler's Landing. It was a beautiful day, but only about 55 degrees. (Better than the snow in Chicago.)

Both of the pictures above look North and West towards I-30. Someone was piloting a little radio-controlled boat just behind ours in the harbor behind the S-2.


Here is Grant on his S-2 at Chandler's Landing. We took advantage of our social membership in the club to have lunch there with Don and Roxanne.

Here I am feeding the ducks beside our boat at Chandler's Landing.


This is the Chandler's Landing Yacht Club. We have continued a social membership there so we can eat lunch and use the facilities when we come out to go sailing.

This is the marina harbor, the breakwater at Chandler's Landing, and Lake Ray Hubbard beyond.

Even though it was a bit chilly for sailing, we decided to give Don and Roxanne a ride on the sailboat, so we motored around the harbor, out into the lake, and back again. This is taken while we are still in the harbor area.

Don and Roxanne stayed until Saturday, when they flew home to Chicago. We certainly enjoyed their visit.

 

December and Christmas

In December, Grant's health issues had gotten to the point where working was problematical, and so we decided that he should make use of his option of going on disability from Gabbert's. Their insurance was quite good, so Grant started the paperwork for that. It will probably not be effective until April or so.

Grant and I went to North Carolina for Christmas, which was fun as usual, but I didn't take any pictures. We had to cut our trip a day short, though, when Greg, who was staying in our house, called to say that three pipes had burst in a freeze. He said he had everything under control, but we both wanted to be home nevertheless. Greg had said that water covered the kitchen and made it to the carpet in the living room, but that he had caught it before much damage was done and had turned the water off. He had even already had a plumber out to fix the pipes themselves. He was amazing. But we were apprehensive about what we would find. We were surprised. The only problem seemed to be that the parquet flooring in the kitchen had loosened in a couple of places, mostly against the back wall where you don't walk much anyway. Even so, we'll have to have it all fixed right after New Year's.

 

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October 14, 1989: At Home in Dallas
Return to the Index for 1989