One of the more beautiful things about getting older is that you really stop worrying about what other people think. Maybe it comes from wisdom, or maybe it comes from fatigue. Realistically, it probably comes from a little of both. These days, I have to confess that I don’t care much at all about what y’all think. And that right there takes me right to the edge of bliss. Truly, it does. It’s delightful to see others get there, too, to see them get that taste of freedom. Because when you bask in the glow of not giving a rat’s ass, your true self can really shine through. And nothing is lovelier than you being authentically you. Nothing, I tell you.
This weekend was an historic weekend in the State of Wisconsin. After months of eager anticipation, the ban on gay marriage was lifted. We weren’t even the last state to do it, though there were days I wondered if we would be. And it’s about damn time. Because really, and I promise you will not convince me otherwise so don’t even try, love is love. This day was long overdue.
So on Friday when the judge’s ruling was announced, two men I love very much – like so much I would lay down my life for them – made a mad, crazy dash to the courthouse and were the first same sex couple to get a Wisconsin marriage license. They then stood right there at the courthouse, with their very good friend officiating, said their vows and made the whole dang thing official. They became the first gay couple to be legally wed in Wisconsin, and since then the whole story has gone viral. (Seroiusly, I feel like I am going to have to have my people call their people going forward if I want to get together for dinner.) Their picture on the front page of our local newspaper on Saturday says it all. The picture, which I think is stunning, captures the joy of the occasion and the sorrow of the long and twisted road it took to get there. I saw the picture in my Facebook feed on Saturday morning, and I could not hold back my tears. Even though I was on the other side of the state visiting with my lifelong friend Mindy, I could feel the arc of justice and love reverberating all the way to me.
On Saturday afternoon, Mindy and I decided to take a little jaunt down the road and we did a surprise “pop-in” visit to my friend Vance on his southwestern Wisconsin prairie estate. He had no idea we were coming or that I was even on that side of the state. So when we pulled up next to him on the long, windy road leading to his cabin “down in the holler,” he was plenty surprised. He was busy cutting invasive plants out of his carefully tended natural prairie, and yelled at us to give him another 20 minutes before the impending rain arrived. We happily obliged, and sat on the front porch of his cabin drinking beers and listening to the thunder in the distance.
Vance didn’t beat the rainstorm back to the cabin so by the time he got to us he was soaking wet. This wasn’t some gentle little drizzle, it was rain coming down in sideways sheets. He went inside to get changed into some dry clothes, and by the time he did so Mindy and I weren’t far behind. It was a monsoon out there.
About 30 seconds into our indoor exchange, where I finally had a chance to formally introduce Mindy to Vance for the first time, Vance realized that the door to his shed was open and that this sideways rain was going to ruin all of his chicken feed. He quickly announced a plan to take his clothes off and run outside to shut the shed door. Now we thought he meant he was going to put his wet clothes back on to achieve this feat, but no, that is not what he meant. In short order, we saw this beautiful friend of mine running toward his shed in only his underwear. A couple minutes after that, we saw him running back in the other direction toward the cabin, now only in a pair of very wet underwear. As you can imagine, disbelief and considerable laughter ensued. That man is nuts, I thought, and I love every fiber of his being. He doesn’t care if a woman he just met 30 seconds ago sees him running through his yard in his blue cotton briefs.
And so, this was the theme of the weekend, a weekend for the record books, and perhaps one of my favorite weekends of all time. It was a weekend I decided I would name Jimmy Crack Corn, because really and truly, I don’t care. From the big decisions, like being the first gay couple to marry in your state and having your love declared on the front page of the Saturday edition of the newspaper – to the small decisions, like doing whatever you need to do to save your chicken feed, you might as well just be you. Brilliant, passionate, loving, caution-to-the-wind throwing, life-embracing you. It is the best and most beautiful thing that anyone could ever be.