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Riley Claude Prestenback

Riley Claude Prestenback

I miss you so much.

Riley Claude Prestenback,
my grandfather, and the man I consider my 'father who raised me'...

Dec 9, 1926 - Jun 5, 2009

I watched you take your last breath, I whispered encouragement and 'we love yous' as your spirit fled the confines of your broken body.

I was blessed to experience your transition with you; the palpable peace that filled the room connected you and I irrevocably and, for quite some time, all I knew was peace and contentment; it stayed with me for weeks afterward - a light weight in my heart, a buoyancy in my step. I was one with the Earth and everyone in it; I had experienced the peace of dying; of transitioning from one phase of eternal life to the next. I knew we lived on; and I knew, in the end, *everything* would be all right for everyone! I carried this in my heart as one might carry a treasured object in their pocket.

Slowly, it leeched out of me; reality rushing back in to chase out any remaining hope and joy; as it does. I remember it, but I cannot touch it - it is a dim memory that fades the closer I get to it. One isn't meant to live in a state of total bliss; not until their mind is ready for such, anyway. There is a life to live, reality to deal with, pain and suffering to mourn over.

None of this means a damn thing, when all I really wanted to say was that I miss you so much and I wish you were still here and that in some ways you totally are b/c it is NOT REAL to me yet that you are gone - it can't be. Goddamit, you were supposed to live forever! I thought we'd have you for decades yet, Pa-Pa! None of us were ready for you to go, and - though it has brought us closer - it has also killed something in all of us. You meant so much to so many people, so much to each of us in a special, unique way.

You left this world as a gentleman - who always knows when to leave - just as you lived your life. My Clark Gable-ish grandfather, as I read aloud at your funeral for your eulogy, and everyone smiled and nodded. There was no one else like you in the world and there never will be; you were made of special stuff and we were so so blessed to have been a part of that, a part of your family.

You were the best grandfather a girl could ever ask for, that is for sure! You taught me so much - how to dance, how to drive a car. I used to love going to work with you to the restaurant! I remember your reading to me when I was little, your voice so soft and your intoning just perfect for whatever passage you were reading. You loved to read - a noble trait you passed on to your daughter, who passed it on to all three of her children.

The last thing you said to me was correcting me when I joked - while you lay in the hospital bed with a blue cap on and a gown - that all you needed was your Elizabeth Taylor's "Passion" and you'd be ready to hit the town and visit all the old ladies.

"No," you corrected me, seriously but in a quiet, rasped voice because you were hurting and scared, "I'm wearing Polo Black now."

Just before that, when the doctors and nurses were crowded in that little room, detailing all kinds of crap to you and things you had to sign, you glanced around the doctor and met my eyes as I stood against the wall. You made that "I have no idea wth they're talking about" face and shrugged your shoulders. A total "screw it" expression with the shrug, and I laughed at you, like you wanted, and you smiled.

I was rushing to get to the hospital when they admitted you. They'd told me they were sending you straight to surgery and I couldn't see you. Thankfully, I had about 10 mins in the room with you and the family - I remember rushing in and relief flooding me just as panic swooped in - seeing you lying in a hospital bed; you were always so hale...this couldn't be happening. Mom says you smiled when I came in the room; I didn't see, but I don't doubt it. You knew your "Gypsy" would come, didn't you? Wouldn't have missed it for the world, Pa. It was the last time any of us saw you alive and conscious. I wish I could go back to that moment, to that room. I told you I loved you a few times, I joked with you to lighten the mood and even made you laugh a few times...I don't know what I'd do different if I'd known what would happen...if I'd known you'd have a stroke on the operating table and never wake back up. I just wish I had those few moments back.

I shouldn't be posting this, b/c Mom might see it - and she can't read anything like this about you right now; not yet. She wants to read the eulogy, she says she can remember bits of it but her mind was so jumbled she wants to actually sit and read it...someday. She isn't ready. Like me, I don't think she's ready to face the fact that you simply aren't here anymore. It doesn't fit, it doesn't seem right.

This is long and rambling, and I apologize to any that choose to read it. I just let the words come out, I needed to

nov 4, 2011 105/365

nov 4, 2011 105/365

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

Final stanza of Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Evening.”

OK, so I decided to just let November 3rd pass without a photo or posting. The day was mostly spent at my parent’s farm. Of course, after Starbuck’s that morning I went to the porn place and rested a bit, sucked some dick, then went to lunch, and finally drove out to the parent’s place.

It was a bit odd being at the parents place. They had to take all the stuff they had hanging on the walls that are on the outside parts of the house because they are putting in new insulation, siding, and windows. Well, that meant that all family pictures were taken down and put away. They only picture they had up was a computer printout of the picture I sent them of me in my clergy shirt and collar—they had it taped to the wall. Awkward. It was good to be there, however.

I’m not sure what all to write about yesterday. I returned to the Abbey on time—barely, so I at least complied with the request of the Abbot—I wouldn’t necessarily call it obeying him. I should try that a little more often. There’s a difference and obeying is really the better thing to practice for personal growth, but I don’t really want to get into all that at the moment.

I left my parent’s place in the afternoon and went to the porn place. It was around 3:30 when I got there; that’s a good time to arrive at a porn place on a Friday afternoon. Just in time for people to start getting off work and wanting to get off. Anyway, there were a number of cars in the lot and it all looked quite promising, but it was more of disappointment. It’s really been more and more disappointing each time a go there. Occasionally, there are some really good moments, but on the whole it isn’t like it was a year ago. Definitely not like it was three years ago when I first started stopping there. It’s really quite the unique little porn shop and theater. The building is basically dived in half with the porn shop on the south side and the theater and arcade on the north side—two separate entrances. What I really love about the theater and arcade is that you pay $10 and you get 8 hours of unlimited access to both the theater and arcade. There are two theater rooms, one with straight porn and one with gay, each room is filled with a bunch of big leather upholstered couches—very comfy. The arcade has 12 booths—each with a lockable door—one booth is larger and has one of the big, comfy leather couches in it. There are turnstiles that give access to either the theater section or the arcade—you can spend $5 and get a key fob that activates the turnstiles after you load it with time by paying the $10 entry fee. You keep the key for return visits. So you can spend three hours there, leave and have lunch and then return for another four hours.

So there’s the background. What’s been getting disappointing is all the inactivity. On the whole, everyone who is there is really looking for sex. But no one is actually having any. I get really annoyed in the arcade most days because it’s full of people just circling around and around or leaning against the walls. It’s not like at some of the other porn places where you pay per 30 seconds of viewing time—it’s unlimited viewing with the entry fee. Man up and go in the booth. Also, it’s not like the places in MN where the booths don’t have doors, so anyone can walk in on you—these booths have doors with locks—the one is specifically set up for couples even. I understand being nervous about doing it in a semi-public place and all, but really enough is enough. Of course, I lose patience with guys who will come into the booth or leave their door open and tell me that they are just too nervous, yet they still spend hours circling the arcade entering into everyone’s booth just for a minute—or worse, go to the theater and stand over you as you are giving a good bj—give me some room dammit or join in if you’re going to be that fuckiing close. Of course, that’s not as bad as the guys who do that in the really public places.

I used to love cruising in Golden Gate Park. There was that great section just passed the polo field and buy the horse training rings, it had the best little bush rooms I’ve ever seen. They were amazing—the bushes there just grew in great shapes and created these little domed rooms that were completely concealed from view except through a very small slit of a door. There was this one dude who always wore a goofy floppy hat—he would never do anything but walk around and watch—the thing is he would stand right outside the little door and stare in as you were going about your business. One day I actually got him to enter the bush room—I started to grab his crotch and he said, “I’m too nervous. The cops might come through.” He turned to leave, and I

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