· The arc of CJ’s story was so extraordinary moving. I loved reading as each individual grew into a full dimensional character, as a result of your incredible storytelling!
· At the end of chapter 27, I sat and cried. I have lived, loved, hoped and cried with CJ and everyone else ever since I first discovered you, and him, at another site. I eventually followed you both here and you are the reason why I joined Gay Authors as a paying member. Once I finished chapter 27, I went back and reread the entire saga (again). I loved reading as each character was presented, developed and fleshed out. I am in awe of how you told this story. To witness CJ as he grew from a teenager to an adult was simply amazing. An example was when he discussed buying palm trees for the Georgtown home – one minute a typical teenager and the next one a suggestion of him growing into adulthood. I loved the whole evolution of CJ as a strong, caring and loving man. The sense of family that you created with CJ and his dads' and brother and between the Elite 8 and the Squadron was beautiful to be a part of (and that is exactly how I felt reading this story…that I was actively living with CJ, et al.).
· To begin. I would like to say thank you!! Thank you for the excellent grammar and continuity in CJ’s story - both of which are important to me.
· I have a fantasy dream, which is to go on a CJ tour in Washington, DC and visit every place mentioned in the story. Would you conduct such a tour?? I’d pay good money to take it! When reading this story, I had Google.com open to check out each place you referenced (I would love to see the all the places mentioned – from Dog Tag Bakery to the Exorcist steps).
· A few examples of the life lessons you beautifully “taught” us, the listeners, that really resonated with me include:
The sermon at the church in Australia on Christmas Day, 2003, brought tears to my eyes, I was so moved. Likewise Father Chance’s description on CJ as the embodiment of a “Christian”. I am a cradle Episcopalian , so both of those were beautiful to read (and both examples got me thinking about my faith and how it relates to the modern world.
Along the same lines, Brett’s grandfather’s quote “what have you done today to make the world a better place”, made an incredible impact on me. I think that taking this quote to heart and practicing it in my daily life is going to be a guiding principle of my life going forward.
And then there’s the election of 2016. YIKES!!! I lived viaciously though CJ as he navigated that whole debacle. I was raised to believe that if you don’t vote, you have no right to criticize. CJ took that philosophy to a whole new level.
You taught us about death and how to deal with it when you wrote about CJ and Ritchie’s mother and grandfather, Abo and Owen’s sister, Liz’s passing.
You beautifully gave the readers life lessons, too. Examples include:
Trip recounting his battles with addiction were heart rending in their raw power, aw well as CJ gently telling his brother about the most important qualities a man should possess. So simply put and so, so moving!
You beautifully brought to life your respect and admiration for the men and women in our armed forces and what they experience while serving, an example of which is/was Brett’s description of what it means to be an American when he meets with Sgt. Burke. And Brad’s harrowing description of what he experienced in Afghanistan, along with Alex Minsky and Senator Tammy Duckworth’s accomplishments post battle injuries were so damn poignant that I had to stop reading for a minute and regain control.
“Found Tonight”. I cry every time I watch that video!
To close out this love letter to you and CJ, thank you for your ability to create a vivid image through nothing more that your words. Examples include:
Carson’s revulsion when he and CJ explore the Georgetown University tunnels.
Pride 2019!!! This chapter was written in March, yet it was presented as if it just happened yesterday.
I am really going to miss CJ and his gang. I have learned many life lessons and thank you for each and every one of them.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
P.S. And every time I read the line "What's a Rolodex", I literally laughed out loud! Too damn funny. Just one more example of your phenomenonal ability to create vivid mental images with just your words. I am in total awe!