Category: Southern Living

Oct 29, 2018
By Michael Rupured

A Winter Garden

Mild winters are one of my favorite things about living in the Deep South. Blizzards and subzero temperatures are extremely rare, and cold spells never last for more than a few days. Clear, sunny skies and highs well above freezing are the norm. In Kentucky, hard freezes in mid-to-late October pretty much put an end to the garden. November, December, and January were dedicated to plotting and scheming for the coming season. With few exceptions, nothing blooms until the early season bulbs come up in late January and early February. The growing season in Athens is much longer. Something is blooming just about all year. Camellias carry much of the load from November to March, with numerous others contributing for a …

Sep 17, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Orchid Redux

Since purchasing the first in 2012, my orchid collection has grown. I’ve bought a few. Friends have given me orchids they gave up on too. The result is a kitchen table overflowing with them. I blogged about my success with orchids late last year. You can see that post here. It even has pictures! Bragging is asking for trouble. Problems appeared almost right away. In addition to the wrinkled leaves I’d seen in the past, leaves on a few plants had turned black in the center. Root rot may have been the cause. Inconsistent watering may also have played a role. On rainy days I’ll sometimes drag all my plants outside. They may not care, but I feel like the fresh …

Sep 03, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Southern Heritage

I grew up in Kentucky and have lived in Georgia for twenty years. My ancestors have lived in the South for centuries. By any standard, I am a a bona fide Southerner. Pride for our Southern heritage is universal in my family, but stories about the Civil War weren’t part of my upbringing. I heard we’re kin to Robert E. Lee and John Wilkes Booth, but nobody in the family has any old photographs, letters from the battlefield, or other Civil War memorabilia. My DNA results shattered the myths I’d believed all my life. We are not related to Lee or Booth, and records linked to my family tree reveal ancestors who fought for the Union, but none who sided …

Aug 27, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Family Tree

Several years ago I joined Ancestry.com, and for months clicked on leaves like they were going out of style. My mistake was accepting as gospel every tidbit of information I found. The resulting family tree dates back a thousand years, but is too riddled with errors, duplicates, and other problems to be believed. I learned a lot about my family, but my research raised more questions than it answered. Two branches came to an abrupt end — I never found my mother’s maternal grandfather or my father’s paternal grandfather. Missing two of eight great-grandparents leaves huge bare spots in the tree. In January I sent some spit to Ancestry DNA for analysis. Found out weeks later the sample didn’t work …

Jun 04, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My Little Garden

My garden is ready for a long, hot Georgia summer. A ton of rain helped. We’re six inches above normal for this time of year — most of that coming in May. Getting all the new arrivals into the ground early helped too. I’ve gardened for more than thirty years. Space constraints limited options with my first two, leading me to buy a house with a ginormous yard for #3. Over the next ten years, I accumulated more than 600 varieties of ornamental plants. Taking care of the sprawling landscape and spacious house by myself was too much, so in 2012 I downsized. The first year or two, I didn’t do much in the yard beyond mowing. Not having to …

Apr 02, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Luke Tanner’s Lexington KY

The Case of the Missing Drag Queen is the first story I’ve written that takes place in Lexington, KY. The thoroughbred horse farms that nearly surround the city set it apart from other places. Ocala FL be damned. Everybody knows Lexington is the Horse Capital of the World. I love Lexington. My family has been in Central Kentucky since shortly after Daniel Boone came through Cumberland Gap in 1775. My departure in 1997 was supposed to be temporary, but I never moved back. Twenty years in the Deep South has left me unwilling to travel north between late September and the middle of May. Our hero Luke Tanner has returned to Lexington after five years in Atlanta. It’s October 1982. Cordless …

Mar 21, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Farewell, My Friend

The man I’ve loved for nearly eighteen years passed away last weekend. The circumstances were tragic — he was only 38 years old. My heart is broken. We met in a gay chatroom. He was half my age at the time — a beautiful young man inside and out. We hit it off right away and chatted often over the next few weeks. My twenties were the worst time of my life. I did a lot of reckless, dangerous, and stupid things after I came out. That I’m alive today is a miracle. How different might my journey have been with even one positive gay role model and mentor? Water under the bridge now, but being someone others can look up …

Mar 12, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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Time Warp

The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. I can’t believe it’s nearly the middle of March. What happened to winter? The last month of the year always goes by fast. This December went by at a record-setting pace. On top of the usual end-of-year and holiday rush, preparing to teach a class for the first time in thirty years kept me uber busy. January usually feels like the longest of the twelve months. Not this year. The flu kept me in bed for most of the month. Sickest I’ve been in more than twenty years. Classes continued, deadlines passed, and work piled up. My inbox filled up with hundreds of email messages, and all I could do was …

Feb 19, 2018
By Michael Rupured

Just Like That, I’m Old

My sixtieth birthday is two short weeks from today. The Crotchety Old Man moniker I’ve used on my blog for years is no longer ironic. It’s who I am. Ask my neighbors. Say what you want about age being just a number. I’m not buying it. Sixty is old. I’m not complaining. Getting older is a privilege. Aging, however, is a major pain in the ass. I’m lucky. Aside from vision issues, my health problems are trivial. Still, I collect health care providers like they were Matchbox cars. An assortment of physicians and specialists oversees my aging body. Hardly a month passes without at least one medical appointment. Last week, I added a cardiologist to my collection. My regular doctor ordered a stress test to …

Jan 08, 2018
By Michael Rupured
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My New Gym

After the gym I’d used for six years closed in May, I joined a YWCO. Differences between the Y and my former gym were immediately apparent. I wrote about the most obvious on this here blog thingy back in November — 11/20/17 to be exact. If you’re on my web site, scroll down for that post or click here to check it out. With maybe a tenth of the equipment available at my former gym, I worried about crowds. Waiting in line is not conducive to a good workout and would likely deter me from going. My fears, however, were unfounded. Rarely do I see more than two or three people in the workout room. On several occasions, I’ve had the place to …

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