Saturday was full of excitement at Balcom’s Cove, the condo complex that we live in. John, one of our neighbors, was parked by the marina and accidentally drove his SUV into Muskegon Lake. Our brother-in-law Luz was sitting on our balcony and heard the car go into the water. Mark and Luz immediately ran out to help while Kelly yelled to her husband Chris who luckily was already out by the lake. Chris immediately began sprinting toward the scene and jumped into the water once he was able to see what had happened. By the time Mark and Luz got down to the water Chris and Bryan were already in the lake trying to help John get out of his car. Chris said when he first reached the car the driver’s side window was open and there wasn’t very much water in the car. John had one leg out the window and was trying to get out so Chris and Bryan both tried to pull him out but it wasn’t working. As the car started to sink deeper into the water Chris went to try and gain entry through the back passenger window to free John from the other side while Bryan reached in and grabbed John’s other leg, braced his feet against the outside of the car and pulled John out of the car to safety just as John’s head became completely submerged in the water. Once the water started rushing in everything happened fast. Once John was out of the car Bryan and John held on to the roof of the car in order to catch their breath before swimming to shore, at which time the neighbors of Balcom’s Cove were able to help John back up to dry land.
After the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling last week Corey wrote a post on his blog about what it was like to grow up gay and it made me feel the same overwhelming sense of sadness that I felt five and a half years ago when he first told us. I felt so sad because he thought that he needed to keep this secret to himself for most of his life for fear that no one would understand. I’m so glad he’s happy now but I still wish no child ever had to feel the way that Corey did.
This morning in a place where laws are made a handful of people in robes decided that men can marry men and women can marry women in every single part of this big and beautiful country that I live in and my Facebook and Instagram and Twitter feeds exploded with rainbow-colored messages of hope and love and pride and I was happy and I liked a lot of things and I favorited a lot of things and as I got under the covers tonight in the guest bedroom of my parents’ house in the small town that I grew up in I thought about how, for a great long time starting when I was very young, I was at war with myself because I knew that I was different and I didn’t know anyone else who was the same kind of different and I didn’t want to be different in this way and so I hid it for years and years and years and then one day too many years down the road I decided that I couldn’t hide it anymore and I told someone and then I told another someone and another and another and another and soon every someone that I loved knew this thing about me that made me different and every someone that I loved still loved me back and suddenly I wasn’t at war with myself anymore and I felt lighter and a great many things felt easier and I started to think about my future in ways that weren’t sad or scary but happy and hopeful and so now, on days like this one, when anything and everything seems possible, I’m reminded of that sad little boy who carried so much hopelessness around in his heart and I get overwhelmed for a moment as I recall the dread and the fear and the tears and the wasted time and the worry and then I take a breath and remember that because of days like today some other little boy from a town just like mine will grow up never hating a great big part of himself so much that he’s scared to tell even the people who love him most and my heart glows for that little boy and for the little boy that I was and I guess all I’m trying to say is I’m very lucky to live in a place where I can be different and gosh today was a really good day.
In October of 2002 Mark’s mom Doddie turned seventy-five years old so Mark’s siblings decided to all meet in Florida where his parents lived to surprise her. Debbie, Wes, Mark and I flew in on the day of the party where we met up with Vicki, Bruce, Patti and Luz at Vicki’s house. Shortly thereafter a limousine arrived and drove all eight of us plus Vicki’s kids, Christopher and Monica, to Doddie’s house for the surprise. Upon arriving the six out-of-towners stayed in the limo while Vicki and her family went into the house to escort Doddie and Louie outside. Up to this point Doddie and Louie don’t know that their Michigan children were in town or that there was a limousine parked out in front of their house. As they walked toward us we could hear the excitement in Doddie’s voice and Luz was patiently waiting with his video camera to capture this memorable occasion on film.
After the surprise everyone except the kids rode around West Palm Beach in style drinking champagne. We stopped at the ocean for a photo shoot and our evening ended back at Vicki’s house for a beautiful candlelit seafood dinner served by Christopher and Monica. This day was definately one we will always remember.
I would like to thank David and Kate Bower at Old to New Media for getting this video online.