Around 2:30 in the afternoon of July 3, 1991, Tim O’Brien walked into the Westside 15th in Victorville California. He sat down at the bar and ordered himself a beer.
Tim had just recovered from a bad relationship, which was preceded by a long line of bad relationships. During Tim’s conversation with the bartender he mentioned that this time he really needed to find a nice guy. The bartender pointed across the bar and asked, “like that guy over there”? Being that the Westside 15th was the only gay bar in the high desert, Tim had seen that guy a few times before. He was interested.
Yes, the interesting nice guy was Jay Martinez. Tim and Jay have been together ever since.
I could not decide whether to interview Jay or Tim as the subject for this month’s article. I thought about putting it all on them to decide who had to do the interview, let them fight it out. Yet, I didn’t want to be responsible for inciting one of their famous quarrels, even though it would have been entertaining and I would have made a mint by charging admission.
In many ways Tim and Jay are, as a couple, glue that holds the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley together. Congregants often switch their names around, calling Jay Tim, or Tim Jay. And their presence is seen and felt everywhere. Do they have superpowers allowing them to be in more than one place at a time?
Tim is the treasurer on the Board of Trustees, Jay is a member of the TLC (the Team Leaders Circle). Historically, between the two of them there are very few committees or teams that haven’t experienced their helping hand. From planning to heavy lifting (the oddest being dismantling and selling a conveyor belt system that needed to be removed during the remodeling phase of our current building), there aren’t many tasks that one or the other of them hasn’t done.
If not for Jay and Tim’s hard work and creativity, the past decade and a half of UUCGV Service Auctions would not have been as successful, or fun, and a couple of them might not have happened at all. Also, those who have been fortunate to win the bidding know about their delicious auction dinner parties (the food is also excellent). And their abiding, super fun auction Super Bowl party.
Anywise, back to the story – how Tim and Jay found their way to the UUCGV (then named the Uncompahgre Unitarian Universalist Society).
(Gospel according to Jay) after several dates it became clear that Tim was mostly living at his shop, sleeping in a small camper out back. So Jay talked him into shacking up; attempted to civilize the wild man. In the beginning Tim’s palette couldn’t handle the spicy food, so Jay fixed a separate plate for him. At the time, Jay was supporting his parents, so he was cooking for four.
It wasn’t long before Jay’s parents figured things out. They asked Tim and Jay if they were a couple. Picture Jay and Tim sitting rigidly, with big eyes, with that nervous uh-oh is all hell going to break loose look. But Jay’s parents were thrilled! They said they’d worried that Jay would never find anyone. How’s that for a coming out party?
Later, when Tim and Jay were in school, Tim studying graphic engineering and Jay computer science, Jay suddenly had an aortic dissection. It was touch and go for a while. He spent a month in the ICU.
When Tim’s parents moved to Colorado (Grand Junction) Jay and Tim moved into their vacated house in Apple Valley. The house survived fire and flood, yet they began wondering if it might be a sign that it’s time to move on.
And then, after Tim’s dad died, they decided to move to Grand Junction to be near Tim’s mother, Shirley. (Shirley is also a UUCGV member.) They found a cute place Downtown on Colorado Ave., and have been fixing it up over the years.
A couple years later, Jay and Tim met Shari Daly-Miller while they were all volunteering at Western Equality, and Shari introduced them to the UU’s. They spend a lot of their time running Tim’s shop, spending time with family, and hanging out within the UU community.
And life goes on... In endless song...