From Donuts to Dances

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Rick Simkin remembers:

I didn't see the 1995 Honky Tonk Queen contest where Mike/Lois won. But for the year after that, when he was sitting out a tip Mike would get this big smile on his face and say "It's good to be Queen." At that moment the little folding chair he was sitting on somehow resembled a throne.

Mike was a legal secretary, and ended up being sent to Texarkana to work on the great big Tobacco Lawsuit. He said there was no gay life there, so on Friday afternoon he'd get in his car and drive 5 hours to Dallas. He found a gay bar, went in, and as he reported, "found that to my horror, I was the butchest thing there."

One year when The Great Chicago Crossfire was held on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, I saw Mike arrive one morning with several huge boxes of donuts - an offering to share with the entire fly-in. It reminded me of similar boxes I'd seen the year before. Mike sometimes brought home-baked goods to dances, and I'm sure he did this many more times than I was aware of.

There was a fire in the apartment building that Mike lived in. There was enough damage to the building that he was forced to move, but he referred to the fire as "Blizzard's Barbecue." I've never heard anyone else talk about personal tragedy in a way to make me laugh.