Pride Month — Oh, my God!

Back in my younger, more demented days when I was into redheads, a girl and I were getting kinda close. Well, maybe exclusive would be more accurate. Anywho, out of the blue, she tells me her mother wants to meet me.

“Ah … ” I said. “Sure, I could come over some night for dinner.”

The girl said, no, her mother didn’t want that. She wanted something casual and informal. She just wanted to meet somewhere for lunch.

“Where do you think?” I asked.

“Your choose,” she said.

“How about Bill’s?”


Bill, a gay restauranteur, owned the Tower Café on Olive Avenue less than a block from the Tower Theatre. The girl and I had been there many times before, and we always just called it Bill’s because we knew him. He sure had a way with food, and his meals were always both temptingly large and extraordinarily delicious. Biscuits and gravy to die for.

A dozen or so tables crammed this small, mostly square, tall-ceilinged room. One of my very greatest pleasures at the Tower Café was sometimes rubbing shoulders and chatting with the late, great jazzman Loren Pickford. Yes! He used to live among us mortals in the Tower, a real cool cat. He was a wonderful man, and I mourn his recent passing.

I once asked him about music theory, but I quickly felt like a caveman muttering gibberish to a rocket scientist as he tried explaining stacked thirds to me. I gave up on that one right away

I picked out a table in the corner by the tall windows where the hustle and bustle of the Tower District passed by just outside. Many of the Tower’s finest also had plans for lunch that day, too. Bill’s was noisy and crowded.

Finally, the girl and her mother come in. After the introduction, the waiter sashays over with menus and asks us what we want to drink.

As he goes for our beverages, Mother leans over the table toward me and exclaims, “That man is gay!”

The girl shot me a worried grimmace.

 “Well, I hadn’t really thought about it,” I said, “but I’d guess you’re probably right.”

I could see the spring winding tightly inside her body as she looked around the room and saw more gay people. Her eyes widened. She pulled her big bag up over her chest, blurted out, “Oh, my God!” and bolted straight for the door. I’ll bet mother wasn’t inside Bill’s 2 minutes before she bailed.

I looked at the girl and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t  …”

“Me either,” the girl interrupted, as she leapt up to chase after her.

Mother never really warmed up to me while the girl and I dated. I’m pretty darn sure it’s because she never got over my diner choice for our very first meeting.

Shoulda gone to Sambos!