Book Review: Gone Today, Here Tomorrow by Randall Neece
January 10, 2013 - Reviewed by Stephanie Dubov
COVER ART BY MELISSA YOES AND VICTOR MINGOVITS
A story of triumph of the human spirit by the owner of Canyon View Ranch.
Before his book begins, Topangan Randall Neece dedicates it to his husband, To Joe, who always lives for today and believes in the promise of tomorrow. And to Max, a little dog who made big dreams come true.
Neece and Joe Timko own and operate Canyon View Ranch for Dogs.
It is a story of great courage and amazing bravery in the face of certain death, because underscoring those values, it is a story of unconditional love, compassion and commitment, with an occasional dollop of funny and silly and with dogs. Whats not to like?
Neece prefaces his story with his and Joes honeymoon on Kauai. Idyllic until the last day when a sudden overwhelming feeling despair hit me with an invisible fist to my soul . Now that I had tested positive for HIV, I felt as if I had been handed my death sentence and our future was suddenly run through a shredder.
Joe saw that I was somewhere else and put his arm around my shoulders. He didnt say a word. He just took hold of my left hand and touched the wedding band around my finger, reminding me of the words engraved inside: Grow old along with me.
Inside Joes band the inscription read: The best is yet to be.
Neece was an award-winning producer, director and creator of a wide range of television programs and documentaries and educational films. He has won more than twenty national and international awards, including an Emmy for the AIDS drama, Secrets, for Outstanding Achievement: Childrens or Youth Special.
It was 1988. He and Joe were living together in Laurel Canyon, happy and in love.
Randall and his dear friend, Jay Wolpert, were working on a game show theyd created and life wasnt too bad.
Neece decided to upgrade his life insurance policy just in case, so that if anything happened, Joe, who worked freelance designing and servicing aquariums for wealthy clients and was mostly underpaid, would be able to keep their house and still have a decent life-style.
The insurance examiner came to Neeces office and took blood for the usual tests. When the tests came back, they showed abnormalities in his blood tests. The insurance company denied him coverage.
He and Joe had been together in a monogamous relationship for more than two years and felt pretty safe health-wise, but they had been losing friend after friend to HIV/AIDS.
When Neece went to his doctor, the worst was confirmed: he tested positive for AIDS. In 1988, this was a death sentence.
Joe tested negative.
This is a well-written chronicle of Neeces journey from his Quaker childhood where he preferred taking tap dance than play baseball, through discovery of his homosexuality to his life with Joe.
He didnt die.
He is here in Topanga, still in a wonderful relationship, running every dogs Disneyland and sharing an inspirational love story of our times.