Sample photos from our dance family performance:
The one obit to rule them all:
William Freddie McCullough – BLOOMINGDALE – The man. The myth. The legend. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. William Freddie McCullough died on September 11, 2013. Freddie loved deep fried Southern food smothered in Cane Syrup, fishing at Santee Cooper Lake, Little Debbie Cakes, Two and a Half Men, beautiful women, Reeses Cups and Jim Beam. Not necessarily in that order. He hated vegetables and hypocrites. Not necessarily in that order. He was a master craftsman who single -handedly built his beautiful house from the ground up. Freddie was also great at growing fruit trees, grilling chicken and ribs, popping wheelies on his Harley at 50 mph, making everyone feel appreciated and hitting Coke bottles at thirty yards with his 45. When it came to floor covering, Freddie was one of the best in the business. And he loved doing it. Freddie loved to tell stories. And you could be sure 50% of every story was true. You just never knew which 50%. Marshall Matt Dillon, Ben Cartwright and Charlie Harper were his TV heroes. And he was the hero for his six children: Mark, Shain, Clint, Brandice, Ashley and Thomas. Freddie adored the ladies. And they adored him. There isn’t enough space here to list all of the women from Freddie’s past. There isn’t enough space in the Bloomingdale phone book. A few of the more colorful ones were Momma Margie, Crazy Pam, Big Tittie Wanda, Spacy Stacy and Sweet Melissa (he explained that nickname had nothing to do with her attitude). He attracted more women than a shoe sale at Macy’s. He got married when he was 18, but it didn’t last. Freddie was no quitter, however, so he gave it a shot two more times. It didn’t work out with any of the wives, but he managed to stay friends with them and their parents. In between his many adventures, Freddie appeared in several films including The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd, A Time for Miracles, The Conspirator, Double Wide Blues and Pretty Fishes. When Freddie took off for that pool party in the sky, he left behind his sons Mark McCullough, Shain McCullough and his wife Amy, Clint McCullough and his wife Desiree, and Thomas McCullough and his wife Candice; and his daughters Brandice Chambers and her husband Michael, Ashley Cooler and her husband Justin; his brothers Jimmie and Eddie McCullough; and his girlfriend Lisa Hopkins; and seven delightful grandkids. Freddie was killed when he rushed into a burning orphanage to save a group of adorable children. Or maybe not. We all know how he liked to tell stories. Savannah Morning News September 14, 2013 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at savannahnow.com/obituaries.
While our Creative Arts department puts away its propaganda material, preparing for morning sketches, let us look at sports that don’t often see the limelight.
And here’s the image du jour…
Well, before I post it, a little background. You see, after talking with Jenn tonight, we’ve decided to change our outfits for the showcase dance. I said I was going as a punk rock Big Bird, meaning she could go as her favorite character, Oscar the Grouch:
But then…well, the craziness kicked in. She’s going to dare me to dress as a sexy Big Bird, I know it, so I better dare her to dress as a sexy Oscar the Grouch first! We’ll see who wins the “best costume” contest — me as a drag queen Big Bird or her as a hot Oscar!
This blog entry is a very personal record of my life that delves into subjects that may or may not be safe to read in the presence of fellow workers, students, and/or family members. Read at your own discretion.
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My newfound friends have inspired me to talk about my thoughts in this online diary that somehow is found by people who’ve bothered to read my blog/journal/diary entries and responded to them, reacted to them and told me they read them.
I used to write this blog with one eye toward whether I could offend or have offended others.
What I’ve discovered lately is that I no longer have time in my life to worry about others’ opinions, thoughts or lives — they have to live their lives in accordance with their own beliefs, not mine — I struggle enough just keeping up with myself. Friends my age are dying more frequently, telling me I may not have several more decades to wait to write as a curmudgeon.
Let this blog entry begin…
I don’t remember the first time I discovered that there was a sensation in the general area of my genitals that caused an excitement I hadn’t experienced before.
The first full memory was of me lying down on top of an afghan on the floor of our living room, my sister at a friend’s house, my parents out of the house for the evening, trusting me at home by myself, and I was watching television.
A movie was on the TV, one of those made-for-TV shockers that showed the life of a nice teenage girl who fell into the wrong crowd, got hooked on drugs, was infected by a venereal disease, eventually overdosed and died.
The character the actor portrayed was not old enough to drive at the beginning of the movie so she was supposed to be 15 but the actor was probably in her early 20s which meant the actor was more mature-looking at first until the character she played died at the age of 18 or 19.
I was 10 or 11 years old at the time.
When I was eight or nine, I had kissed a girl a couple of times only because the two of us wanted to know what her older sister got out of kissing a boy for hours at a time in the backseat of their parents’ car in the cold weather. We laughed more than anything else at the “slobber” of our wet lips touching.
While I sat watching the movie on the tellie, I noticed my penis felt warm. Not an erection but just a tingling feeling.
I talked with a couple of guys at school about it and they told me they had had their first erection already and it was no big deal. One claimed he had a five-inch erection and the other one said his was six inches — they told me as soon as I got an erection I was supposed to measure it because that’s what their older brothers told them to do because their girlfriends who weren’t ready to see an erect penis were still interested in how big their boyfriends were.
My parents stressed to me the importance of schooling over the fleeting temporary feelings of sexual attraction, my father giving me a book called the Life Cycle Library to answer any questions I had, including a few briefs paragraphs on masturbation which I knew nothing about until I turned 15 years old and a guy at school asked a girl friend of mine who explained to both of us what she knew about playing with your genitals.
I knew my father kept copies of Playboy magazine in his clothes closet. I had shown the copies to friends of mine who laughed about the airbrushed perfectly-posed photos of women in their college-age years, like no girls we knew so they were more like impossible fantasies not worth thinking about.
Therefore, from age 11 to age 16 I was able to concentrate on my academic studies and extracurricular activities much more than many guys at school who had one steady girlfriend after another occupying their hours during/between classes and afterschool.
[Not that I was all that good at studying. Instead of studying for exams in the afternoon, I often read science fiction books or took walks in the local woods and wrote in my journal while seated on a log at the top of the hill behind our house.]
In that time period of my early teens, I accomplished a few goals. I completed my requirements for Eagle Scout at age 13. Of my five years of weekly piano and baritone horn lessons, I probably practiced about one-fifth as much time, if not less, than the time I spent with my teachers.
When I was 16, a girl one year younger than me finally got through to me sexually, helping both of us discover that our bodies were good for more than marching on the football field and sitting in student desks. Our relationship lasted maybe three months before the pressure for us to have sex, especially by her mother who was interested in my getting her daughter pregnant, was too strong for my…well, I wanted to say stoic but more like monastic lifestyle.
After we broke up, I was left feeling that a sexual relationship with a girl my age was just like my parents said: a big investment for so little payback. However, I still had sexual desires and finally turned to a weekly habit of masturbation to refocus my attention on academics and journal writing.
If I had kept good records, the cycle of masturbation would be a good indicator of the stresses in my life, going from months between sessions to days or weeks and back to months.
I have been a paramour once but otherwise my dating skills and fear of venereal diseases have limited the number of women with whom I’ve had an intimate relationship — counting my wife, maybe three or four?
So, why am I writing about the subject of sexual feelings today?
Well, it’s to record this observation: I have recently lost the desire to masturbate.
I don’t know whether my age — 51 — or the circumstances of my life has determined the change.
I still think about women’s bodies as sexually attractive but it’s like my body no longer has the motivation to act on the desire.
I can still get it up, as they say, but playing with myself has gradually taken backseat to my writing over the last few months as a means of clearing my thoughts and associated stresses.
Is it the exercise of dancing and running, perhaps?
It may be. I don’t know for sure but I can say that the act of walking/jogging/sprinting calms my thinking.
Dancing at first was so much sexual tension for me that my desire for sex drove my wife crazy (“I’m too tired” became such a recurring echo that I finally imagined her response without trying anymore) until I gave up associating physical contact with women as any hint for future sexual activity.
In fact, last night, just thinking about having to look into the face of a dance partner for two or three minutes was enough of a turnoff not to ask a woman to dance.
All of these thoughts have led me to today, when my wife and I went to the dance studio to practice a routine for a showcase taking place in less than two weeks.
Until today, the thought of dancing with my wife was equivalent to getting my teeth pulled but better her when there’s at least a small chance of sexual activity than with someone else I know nothing is going to happen between us after the dance is over.
I think the last lesson I had each with Abi and Jenn set the mood for today — there was no longer any sexual desire on my part for them as members of the opposite sex — they had become once-and-for-all simply like my sister, releasing me from all the old fears of playing the dating game that haunt and taunt the nerdy guy inside my thoughts.
My wife has looked at our financial balance sheet and decided we can no longer afford for me to take dance lessons after the showcase this month. We have overextended our frugal budget which has added out-of-town dance competition weekends to our already-stretched fall budget for college football weekends.
Abi and Jenn enjoy teaching and I have enjoyed taking dance lessons from them, their attention toward me making me feel like the man my wife has not.
For them, I owe a debt I cannot repay — they have restored a confidence in me which has opened up my thoughts and allowed me to speak my mind, letting the bad thoughts flow onto this page and put the real me here, the empty vessel which has layered itself over the years with lacquered images of sophistication that from a distance is interesting but from up close is what it is — a cardboard illusion has been revealed.
As I force myself to practice this next two weeks, practicing or studying is a habit I’ve never had, using a minimum of talent and latent skills to skate through society, I have the rest of my life to examine, while evaluating the changes to me over the past two years.
The breath of fresh air that flowed across me the day Jenn sat next to me at the pavilion on the banks of the Tennessee River two summers ago has been more than I can ask for.
The wealth of exotic adventures that just a few months ago stepped onto the dance floor the evening that Abi appeared at Kinesthetic Cue Dance Club has been so overwhelming I’m not sure who I am anymore.
It’s like I’ve been two different people, the old me and the new me, the old one trying to assert its old habits in some sort of protective shield against the assertion of the new one.
To encounter two polyamorous women who’ve been willing to dance with me freely and as paid dance instructors, becoming friends rather than hoped-for lovers at the same time I’m passing into the sixth decade of my life has been a bit confusing, on top of the loss of the desire to masturbate, has really flipped me for a loop.
I’m not sure where my life is going, except toward death, of course.
My wife and I are within a few years of being able to fully retire, our bodies aging toward quiet comfort on the sofa in front of a TV and a computing platform (PC/tablet/smartphone/???), our house a hoarder’s dream falling apart at the seams.
Between now and retirement, I don’t know what will happen to me. Or us.
I really enjoyed dancing when there was still a thought in me that I could become the Casanova or Don Juan that I never was — having had many girlfriends at once in the past but none in a physically-intimate relationship — experimenting with the “vertical expression of a horizontal desire,” as they say.
Now that dancing has turned into a chore, a means to put me in a showcase so Abi and Jenn can fulfill their with to make me a stronger leading dance partner, I have joined many a person who lost interest in dancing, looking forward to life after the showcase and returning to the observe-and-report guy safely ensconced in his limited dictionary, typing up his view, one of billions, of the vastly-unknown universe in which we live, entertaining himself one day at a time until he’s dead.
I am almost burnt out and there are only 13 days left for me to perfect the moves that’ll make Abi and Jenn look good on the dance floor trying to make me look good as a leader.
In times past, I would construct a sexual fantasy to overcome the burned-out feeling or fear of upcoming event, creating in my thoughts an imaginary lover, someone who does not exist in real life, about whom I would masturbate, hoping that there would be somewhere out there in the not-so-distant future a real lover who might bring that fantasy to life, if only I just make it through the next few days. [Writing that last sentence and leaving it here for posterity is one of the most difficult things I’ve done but about the easiest to write — I’m going to avoid putting those words in the thoughts of a thinly-disguised character like “Lee” just to force the old me to see where the new me is going, trying to rid myself of passive-aggressive tendencies.]
It’s not fair to my wife, Abi and Jenn that the recent confusion of my sexual feelings is intermixed with the changes in my friendships with them. Unfortunately, my magnanimity is limited. In my thoughts, the separation of them as great people who’ve seen parts of the world I have not, and accomplished goals I could never dream of, from them as sexually-attractive women has not been easy, through no fault of their own.
Luckily, I am not one to act on my libido.
Soon, the showcase will be over and my interactions with Abi and Jenn as dance instructors will possibly cease.
I’ll move into the new phase of my life, more frugal as I get older, a domesticated animal tethered to this planet, his chances of exploring the stars left to the generations to come.
The flicker of light that briefly gave me hope will soon die out, my love of dancing dying with it, lost with my love for academic studies, piano playing, mowing lawns and masturbating that became habits for habits’ sake, their original intents lost.
Who is the new one?
I’m not quite sure yet.
Like many an aging person before me, the closer I get to my natural death the more likely I am to speak my thoughts regardless of how insensitive they may be stated at inappropriate times, no longer concerned with being nice or considerate of others’ feelings, like a dog tied up in a backyard, contently sleeping in the sun until someone steps into my personal space and stirs my innate territorial sense into barking in this blog.
For a while, Jenn and Abi helped me believe I might be a better person than I am but slowly I have let them see me as I see myself, unable to perpetuate the elaborate masquerade pasted hastily over a faded facade of a lost youth and meager adulthood.
At the end of this weekend, I realise it’s okay to be who I am, quietly contented with my lazy flaws rather than working hard at perfecting new habits of someone else I would always struggle to be.
I want to feel sad about this admission I may have to say goodbye to them not only as instructors as also as friends leading complicatedly-appealing polyamorous and mentally-attractive technological lives, but the more I get to know Abi and Jenn, the more I see I was luckier to have had them in my life than the other way around. They gave me more and had more to give than I could ever give of myself. They are far and above more honest about the way they treat people around them than I am.
I get to know people in order to write an entertaining diary entry disguised sometimes as an extended story-turned-novel, a spider trapping prey to be sucked dry and tossed aside unceremoniously. They get to know people because they care. You can tell me which kind of person benefits our species better!
I post these blog entries solely in the hope that someone who might take the time to read these can see a similarly flawed personality trait in him/herself and still have the personal desire to become a more caring person than I am.
As I overheard a coworker once say about me, “Well, if nothing else, Rick serves one purpose — as an example to others what not to be.” Beware the wish to know what people say, let alone think, about you!
Yep, that’s me…an example to others…aren’t we all?
At 51, I return to the life of the after-school teenage tinkerer with a miserly budget playing with electronic components in his pretend laboratory, breadboarding test designs, soldering together haphazardly-constructed playthings for personal edification, using the Internet as my lab notebook while people his age with better social skills are playing God with our species and the inner solar system.
The universe is benign. For that, most of all, I am thankful. Good night.
Welcome to Amateur Hour at the White House. Our clowns on staff will be with you shortly…
My ancestors were hunting native Americans before Tennessee was a state. We’re not afraid to defend our country against the excesses of a government out of control.
Until more heads roll, let’s see how many scandals we can cause after these first rounds have had their full impact.