Category Archives: San Francisco

Geezer Up (Part 16)

Except for the early moments in Cell 27 when my cellmate wrapped his hands around my neck, the rest of my first twenty-four hours of jail life crept along like a snail on a hot sidewalk. Slowly! Bogart and I reached a tacit truce, which allowed me to speak only when he directed a question at me, but otherwise, I remained silent.

I wandered out into the common area and spent time with eleven other inmates watching TV. Reality shows, especially “Judge Judy” and “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” were the favorites with comments being peppered at the TV throughout each show.

As far as eating, no one noticed that I was not doing so. God’s grace covered my fast and my efforts to do it in secret.

At 10 a.m., a tall guard came to the cell. “Matthews?” he said.

“Yes,” I said, sitting up in my bunk.

“Come down here. Turn around. Put your hands behind your back.”

I followed his instructions as he put handcuffs on my wrists and quickly patted down my body for weapons.

“Turn around. Walk out the door, turn right, and head toward the entrance. Your lawyer is waiting for you in meeting room #2, on your left.”

When I entered the small room, Artie sat at a metal table, wearing a light gray suit and black shirt open at the collar. The guard removed my handcuffs and left the room. I sat down on the opposite side of the table from Artie.

“How are you doing?” he asked, looking into my eyes.

I shrugged. “Well, it’s not a picnic, but so far, I’m doing okay.”

“Well, that’s probably as good as one can hope for right now.”

He opened his brown briefcase and took out my worn black leather Bible.

“Jane brought this over before I left the office this morning.”

I grabbed the Bible and fanned the pages.

“Thank you, just what I need right now.”

“Here are some legal pads and jail approved pencils, too.”

I nodded my head.

Artie blew out a deep breath before explaining the prosecutor’s offer of leniency in exchange for my admittance of guilt and apology.

“No, not interested in that deal.”

He then mentioned how the City Attorney’s office would throw the book at me if I refused the offer, which could result in a log prison sentence for me. Even if the decision were appealed, I might end up being locked up for months or years before the case was settled.

“Still not interested. Sink or swim, live or die, I’m determined to trust the Lord all the way to the end of this.”

Artie stood up and picked up his briefcase. “I will be back in eleven days to ready you for your preliminary hearing. Jane will visit you tomorrow and Sunday.” He paused a moment. “My wife and I are praying for you…just want you to know that.”

We shook hands before the guard returned to take me back to Cell 27.

(Continued in Part 17…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 14)

Jane

J. C. and Shira sat in the front seats of their BMW while I sat in the backset. Our conversation died off within the first few blocks of driving toward their home on Nob Hill, which suited me just fine because I was arguing with God.

Most people who have met Dylan and me would assume that we must have been cut from the same small town cloth, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Dylan’s parents were two of the sweetest people who have ever lived. Love and peace permeated every corner of their home. Meal times for Dylan and his sister Darla were filled with lively conversations about what happened during their day. All who sat around the table, even guests, were encouraged to contribute. Family problems were handled in love, rather than anger. Both parents attended Dylan and Darla’s school events, cheering them on from their seats. Because of the loving atmosphere provided by his parents, Dylan grew up to be a confident, loving adult.

By comparison, fear filled our home because of my dad. Although he was a successful real estate broker, he hated his career, his life, and himself. He took out his anguish on my mother, brother, sister, and me. We never knew what would trip his trigger, but when it happened he would turn into a ranting madman slinging four-letter words and accusations at everyone. It usually climaxed with him slapping us around.

Mealtimes? Oh my! These were tortuous occasions for the family because Dad demanded absolute quiet from us while he ate his meal. If for any reason, we children made a chewing noise or squirmed a bit in our chairs, he might smack us and send us to bed, berating us as we left the room. If he did speak and asked a question and then didn’t like our answers, he might slap us across the face right there at the table. Mom always sat in her chair with her head down like a timid titmouse, too afraid to confront Dad or defend her children. Her only solace was a bottle of Jack Daniels hidden behind the cereal boxes in the pantry.

Not only that, my dad attempted to molest me soon after my thirteenth birthday. I fought him off and ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. He never attempted to touch me again, but being alone in the house with him caused panic attacks to strike me so that I trembled and struggled to breathe. All I could think about during those times was the day his hands fondled my breasts.

What few friends or boyfriends I had were never invited into my home nor did I ever share the shame and pain I felt in my heart with anyone. Never once! Looking back, I now realize how fortunate it was for me to be a straight-A student because it kept prying eyes away from my life and our home.

My most awkward moment occurred on October 12th of my freshman year at the University of San Diego. My phone rang at 6:35 in the evening while I was writing an English essay at my dorm room’s desk. I answered, “Hello.”

“Hi honey.”

“Oh, hi mom.”

“I have some bad news.”

“Okay, let’s have it.”

“Your dad suffered a heart attack this afternoon and died before the paramedics arrived at his office.”

I did not say a word nor did mom. The dead air space continued between us for more than ninety seconds before I finally said, “Oh.”

Mom closed by saying the funeral arrangements would be made the next morning.

“Okay, mom.”

I hung up, shed no tears, and felt no grief.

Is it wrong to feel like this, I wondered. Then, I continued writing my essay.

Meeting Dylan and Jesus changed me into the woman I eventually have become, but still, I froze up and could not speak in front of audiences. All of my childhood pain and shame came roaring back into my mind. I just couldn’t do it!

So, when the Lord spoke to my heart in the backseat of the BMW, saying, “I want you to speak on TV, radio, in churches, and wherever I open the door, defending Dylan’s stand and pleading his cause,” I shook my head.

“No, Lord, I can’t do that,” I whispered.

Have you ever argued with the Lord? Did you win?

Of course not and neither did I.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 15…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 7)

“Hi Jane, I’ve been expecting your call,” said J. C. as he answered my phone call.

“Hi J. C., I figured you would.”

“You probably want to know what happened?”

“Right! Dylan said that it was no big deal, but he’s the master of understatement. So, fill in the gaps between hate crime, no big deal, and a broken nose.”

J.C. laughed.

“Well, as you know Dylan spoke and gave his testimony at our businessmen’s noontime luncheon down in China town. There were about thirty men there. All enjoyed his inspiring words. I’d say it was a great success.”

J. C. was the owner of Bates Properties, a commercial real estate firm in San Francisco. His success caused him to seek ways on how he could give back to the city he loved. He ended up being involved in Business Men’s Fellowship and became the chapter president.

“After the luncheon, I was driving him to Mission Terrace to spend some time together before I dropped him off at the airport. We were heading down Market Street, past the Castro District, when we saw a Pride parade. He asked to stop and watch. I pulled over and walked across the street with him.”

“So far,” I said, “everything seems okay.”

“Yeah, nothing happened until Dylan stepped off the curb and began preaching in a loud voice, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

J. C. paused for a moment.

“Then everything hit the fan. A couple of guys pushed and shoved him. Another hit him in the face, knocking his glasses off. He fell to the ground and quite a few kicked him. Two police officers came over and inquired what was happening. A man said that Dylan was preaching hate. One officer asked Dylan what he was doing and he replied he was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God. They cuffed him and threw into a police cruiser and took him off to jail.”

“That’s all my sweet hubby did.”

“Yep and he even forgave the crowd before he was ushered away.”

We talked a few minutes more before J. C. offered to pick me up at the airport. He proposed that I stay in his home with his wife and him.

I agreed to his offers, but I still had an unanswered question gnawing at me.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 8…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 6)

Jane

My wife, Jane, can best explain what was going through her mind from the time of my phone call until the arraignment:

The first thought to cross my mind when Dylan phoned was to give him a big piece of my mind. We had planned our forty-eighth anniversary trip to Tahoe for months and even paid a nonrefundable deposit on a five-bedroom home on the beach. Our three children, their mates, and our eight grandchildren were going to be there, too. All of us in one home on the lake for seven days. It was a dream vacation and how many more of these could we expect to have in the years ahead? I could have chewed nails when I hung up, especially after him saying that it was no big deal!

I slammed the phone down and screamed.

That’s when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “Quit acting like a baby. Call the lawyer. Get on a plane and fly to San Francisco. Dylan needs you.”

I fell to my knees and wept.

“Forgive me, Lord.”

But without missing a beat, I jumped up, phoned Jacob, our lawyer, and made a standby reservation for a flight on Virgin Airlines out of San Diego International Airport to San Francisco. My flight’s departure was scheduled for 6:15 a.m., which gave me just enough time to pack and make the sixty-mile drive from Temecula to the airport.

Bluetooth allowed me to make four important phone calls on my trip. The first three were to our children, telling them about Dylan’s situation. The words “hate crime” never ricocheted off my tongue, but instead I termed it a slight misunderstanding, one that a lawyer could easily handle. We would see them on Saturday and have a big laugh over Dylan’s latest faith escapade. The three had questions, but I pooh-poohed their fears with a couple of quick Bible verses.

When I finished calling the three, I looked down at the speedometer. Ninety miles per hour! Jane Matthews: beloved wife, caring mother, doting grandmother, and committed believer of Jesus was acting like Mario Andretti at the Indianapolis Five Hundred, passing every car in sight. I tapped on the brakes and slowed down to seventy-five miles per hour. A police car with a radar gun sat at the next exit.

“Thank you Jesus,” I muttered.

Then, I phoned J.C. Bates. Someone needed to fill me in on the details about Dylan’s arrest and J. C. was the man who could do just that.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 7…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 5)

“The People of San Francisco against Dylan Matthews,” announced the heavy-set bailiff in a booming voice. He walked over and handed the case file to a clerk.

Almost with a snap of a finger, I stood to the right of Artie Chin while a junior prosecutor with sad eyes stood on the other side of Chin. Judge Esther Strong sat directly in front of us. The fifty or so year old judge looked down at the file in front of her and then over at me. A slight smile crossed her deep red lips for a nano-second before she resumed her judicial posture.

The prosecutor opened with a legal sounding statement. Chin countered with his defense lawyerly jargon. Back and forth the two fired legalese-laced salvos until Chin ended by saying, “My client enters a not-guilty plea.”

Judge Strong closed the file and turned to dismiss us, but then she stopped. She leaned forward and stared into my eyes.

“I’m inclined to allow Mr. Matthews to be released on his own recognizance, without bail, but I do want to ask him a couple of questions first,” she said, pausing to collect her thoughts. “What will you do if I set you free this morning? Will you go back to Temecula and return for your hearing in two weeks?”

Three possible answers crossed my mind at that moment: forty-eighth anniversary trip to Tahoe, playing with my grandchildren, or enjoying a few rounds of golf with some buddies. All would have pleased the judge so I could have walked out the door into the sunlight once again, but they all evaporated into nothingness. What then came out of my mouth caused a reaction like dropping a live grenade into the courtroom.

“I will walk out the door and go directly to the Castro District and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to that community. They deserve to be set free from the kingdom of darkness by the love of Jesus.”

Judge Strong jumped to her feet. A finger jutted out of her black robe and pointed at me. Anger stripped the judge of her judicial mask, revealing her true inner feelings.

“Mr. Matthews, you have no right to impose your self-righteous religious beliefs on our gay and lesbian communities. I will make sure your bigoted beliefs cost you dearly by setting your bail at one hundred thousand dollars and remanding you to the county jail. What do you think of that, Mr. Matthews?” she proclaimed loud enough for everyone in the building to hear her.

I shrugged.

“I shall not pay one dime nor allow anyone to raise money to set me free nor will I eat another bite of food until I am set free from this jail. Whether I walk out the door or am carried out in a casket is up to the Lord, I shall trust Him to set me free,” I replied.

“Well, we’ll see about your so-called God and how your arrogance holds up two weeks from now at your preliminary hearing. Next case.”

My lawyer resumed his normal breathing as he escorted me back to the small holding pen.

“Maybe you would have answered differently if I would have warned you ahead of time that Judge Strong is a lesbian and staunch leader in the LGBT movement,” he whispered.

I laughed.

“Probably not.”

Then, a voice from the courtroom cut my heart.

“Dylan, Dylan, I love you…”

I turned to see Jane waving at me. She looked great in her yellow dress, one of my favorites, but all I could do was nod my head and wonder about what she was thinking.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 6…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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