Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Squirrelly Little Man

That he was. And self -described. He is now gone almost as long as we were together. Six years today. March 30th. He died on 03/30/03 which I’ve always taken as some sort of spiritual sign. Though famously positive, he did not die of AIDS. A fact I still have trouble convincing some people of. He fell. He was epileptic & had a seizure. Simple. Quick. Clean. Just like him.

Robert “Michael” Jeter was 50 when he fell that day 6 years ago. I wasn’t there. We had been estranged from the moment we split up. He dumped me for a younger model. Fame can change a person. He found love after me, as I did. Life goes on. And the funny thing is that when you lose someone you love or have loved, it’s never really over. Not truly. You think about them. Sometimes a lot, sometimes hardly ever. But invariably you are reminded of them; in some wayl; by someone, or some situation you find yourself in. “God! ______ would have loved this!” etc. And so the relationship is only changed, not ended.

I now look back gratefully on those 6+ years with Michael & can only remember the laughter. We laughed ourselves sick! We would leave a Sunday night dinner at the old Adriano’s in Beverly Glen, with abdominal muscles positively sore from laughing at our friend, Charles Nelson Reilly. We’d laugh at the cats. At the insanity of living in our new home of Los Angeles. At the absurdity that two “goons” (as he called us) could spend an evening in a room full of “swells” & they would know him by name & greet him like old friends. That Maggie Smith would come to our house for dinner. That the fireplace mantle was getting crowded with serious awards. That he was being paid (“CASH MONEY!” he liked to say) for basically playing all day. It was funny and fun. Until it wasn’t.

Southern by birth he had a million different expressions that he taught me that I find myself still using:
“I feel like a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs!”
“You look like you’ve been rode hard & hung up wet!”
(apparently an equestrian term!)
“ ITYW” (“I tell you what!” started many a conversation!)
“Lord willing and the creek don’t rise…”
“You’re as sick as your secrets”

“Any news on the street?” (that’s how he’d greet me whenever I returned home!)

Odd. Squirrelly. Complicated. Funny. Brilliant.

I heard him say this once too. Quoting some forgotten guru: “I salute you & thank you for your life!”
Yep. I do.

In a career of many triumphs, I always think this stands alone. The first. And one of the great moments in theatre history. He literally flew! I hope he’s still flying.

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At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Mary Avallon said...

Hi Charlie
Your Tribute to Michael is BEAUTIFUL. I was in tears as I read it. I hope that someday , when the pain eases some more I will be able to write such a tribute for my Dad(the 1 year anniversary of his death will be on 4/21/09)I hope all is well in your world.I miss ya and Love you!
"Little Mary"(Gidget)


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