A little change-up here as I give thanks to the people in my life. Yeah…it’s corny. But yeah…it’s important. I also touch on my trip cross-country with my Dudette and my complete lack of preparation. Happy Thanksgiving folks!!
We had some luck in Colorado. We had pretty much no luck in Nebraska and I mean 6 hours in Nebraska and not one place to eat. So by the time we pulled into Cleveland, I believe that was our second stop. Our first stop was Colorado. Our second stop was Cleveland. What do the kids call it? They call it Hangry. We were beyond hangry, and I was sort of pissed at myself too for not planning better. So we found a cool place on the Gluten Dude app called Dirt Burger that was about to close in a half an hour. So we got there just in time and we ate in silence because we were so frigging hungry and cranky. I had a great meal, got lucky.
So the next morning we woke up and did some food shopping. I’m just kidding. We didn’t do that the next morning either because I’m a bonehead. So the next day’s destination was supposed to be Pittsburgh, but the weather was pretty rough. It was actually snowing part of the time. So we made it as far as Cleveland. I think we were able to stop in one place for lunch and if we were desperate, we stopped in one of the many come and go quickie marts in the Midwest. Don’t get me started on that name and just got some junk to tie this over if we had to. And the pickup sushi on the night in Cleveland, bought it back to hotel, had a great meal, passed out early and the next day we were destination was New Jersey as we park, which is my home now and it was about a nine hour drive in front of us and woke up. Went food shopping. Of course. Just kidding. I got on the road, found some places on my app in Pittsburgh, but they were not along the route we were going. So about 6 hours in, found a grocery store and stopped off and got some prepared food that was both good and dairy free and ate cold chicken in the car, basically.
So a couple of lessons here. Don’t ever travel long distance with me. And if you’re driving to Nebraska. Oh, my God. Pack food and you should pack food. Anyway, I was just an idiot, but Nebraska was just brutal. Anyway, glad I’m home safe and sound. Glad to have Maddie home, which is now in England and Ireland right now for two weeks. She’s a traveler.
And Secondly, I would like to just say thanks for a couple of people out there. And yes, I know this is beyond corny. It’s Thanksgiving and giving thanks. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But I think it’s important. I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life, and I think it’s important that people know that we’re grateful for them, not just in Thanksgiving, but ideally, 365 days out of the year. But we all know that doesn’t happen.
So on this Thanksgiving, I would give a shout out first to my amazing wife, Deborah. You may know her as Mrs. Dude. She has been my rock, my friend, my support system, my better half for over. How many years is it now? Met 92. A lot of years. Got married in 93 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007. I had never heard the word Celiac before. I have never heard of the word gluten before. Neither had she. So if I was by myself or with a lesser person, I’m not sure what my reaction would have been. And I’m being honest here, would I have gone 100% gluten free right away? Because I can be a stubborn and stubborn guy. And it took me a year to go to the doctor after I was pretty sick for a while, so she took control. She cleaned the house head to toe. We got rid of all the pot where the utensils that could have been contaminated made my own counter. Got a space in the pantry just for me, a shelf in the fridge. Without her, this journey would have been so much more difficult. And I wake up every day. I look at her next to me in the bed, and I think two things. Number one, why the hell did you marry me? Because you are so far above and beyond what I deserve. And I’m not saying that self-deprecating. She’s just the best human being in the world, and I’m just blessed to have her.
And number two, how did I get so lucky? It was just a fluke that we met in 1992, and I always wonder if we didn’t meet that night, not only what my life would be like, but what my life with Celiac disease would be like, because we all know the journey can be just brutal. But Debbie, you have made my journey with Celiac disease more than bearable. And you’ve made my journey through life more than complete. And I love you more than words can say.
Next on to my lovely daughters Courtney and Madison. You may know them as the Dudettes. As a father, you do your best raising your kids. Lord knows I made some mistakes along the way. But one of my favorite quotes is, Kids don’t do what parents say. Kids do what parents do. For the most part, I always try to lead by example. I can’t say I always was 100% successful in that, but I did my absolute best. As my kids became adults, I don’t see not how they would turn out but what their journey would be and what their adult personalities would be and how they would function in life.
And both of my kids have had some serious health issues. I will not go into them, but they both heal themselves through food. One of my daughters was on medication for years and years and years and years and years. And her doctor finally said, We’re going to give you a dose that is over the legal limit, but it’s okay and we think you need it. And that day, my daughter said, no, we’re not going to do this anymore. And that’s the day she changed her life. She completely overhauled her diet. She started exercising daily, she meditated, her entire mindset changed and I’m still in awe of how she did it and the way she did it.
And then she moved to Tampa. And I say that with pride because we were close to the family and all of a sudden one of them is going to Tampa to sort of branch out on our own. And as a parent, what you want to do is you want to give your kids wings; if they want to stay home. Great. If they need to stay home. Not so great. She wanted to explore. And she also didn’t want to move to New York City with us, which is probably part of it, too. But she is doing amazingly well down south. She found herself a great guy. Hopefully. Well, I won’t. Hex anything, but hopefully he’ll be in the picture for a long, long time.
And my other daughter, who is three years younger, who is now 22 years old. She has just been a good person, as my other daughter has been. Both of them are just and I say this as a proud father, sure, but I really mean this. They’re both good, decent, caring, compassionate human beings. And what else can you ask from your kids? My younger daughter’s health was really bad in College, got sick consistently was down to 88 pounds. Doctors could not figure out why. And so she also took matters into her own hands and gave up dairy and gluten. And I’m happy to report that she is now an incredibly healthy 108 pounds and on top of the world.
And I just want to say to both you kids, you make my heart smile and dance every single day and just thank you for being you. I love you.
And now on to my family and friends. You know, you’re out there, my brothers, my sister in laws, my in laws, my aunt and my friends. I thank you not just for your being in my life and being a big part of my life, but for taking care of me when I visit your house, for feeding me safely and for looking out for me. I just love you all.
And lastly, I will give thanks to you, my lovely community out there. When I started this journey in 2011, yes, it’s my ten year anniversary as Gluten dude. Side Note I had no idea what I was going to call myself and I looked up gluten free dude because that seemed to make sense. And gluten free dude domain was taken. So I just cut out the free and now I’m Gluten dude and Gluten free dude. Sounds stupid, by the way. So when I started this journey in 2011 and I posted my first blog post in October and I had no idea what I was doing, I knew I wanted to be a voice for the community. I knew I had things to say that were not being said in the community. There are some great voices out there and there still are, you know who you are. And I appreciate all you do. But I felt that the community was missing a male voice and be a voice to really call out the bullshit out there that the media and the late night comics and the brilliant marketing companies spew on the gluten free community.
So I did my best calling out the Kardashians and Miley Cyrus and Channing Tatum and the late night comics like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon and all those other idiots who are very funny but just treated gluten free like a punch dough for way too many years. And to me, if you treat gluten free like a punch joke, you are treating Celiac disease like a punch joke and we all know that our disease is anything but a joke. So gradually somehow you folks decided to stick with me and listen to me and argue with me and fight with me, which is awesome. Tell me when I’m wrong, which is great because Lord knows I am wrong probably more times than I am right. But you have made my journey. I always said when I was a kid I was extremely shy, but I had so much to say and everyone would always ask my brother why Scott so quiet, why Scott’s so quiet and I’d be sitting there and saying, all right, so much to say. But I’m afraid of being judged if I say it. And then maybe a great joke to make. But I didn’t think it would be funny. And then someone else makes and they get all the laughs. I’m like I was going to say that joke. God damn it. So maybe it comes to the frustration of not being heard as a kid. I don’t know. But I found her voice here, and I’m happy I found her voice here. I will keep being a voice here. And I sincerely hope you will keep coming along for the ride and staying with me on my journey and sharing your journeys with me.
So on this Thanksgiving Eve 2021 God bless you all. I’m grateful to you all, and let’s make 2022 a kick ass year.