Sunday, July 6, 2014

Party Time in Pennsylvania

For months my son Matthew and his partner had been planning a 25th anniversary party. They couldn’t invite everybody—but they decided to invite 50 of their closest friends and family members to come and share on this occasion for two days. They chose an Inn in Hawley, Pennsylvania called The Ledges. I had never heard of the place—but when I got there I could understand why they made that choice. The Inn had once been a silk mill. Beside it was this magnificent waterfall, which cascaded down the rocks. Our two evening dinners would be spent on the three decks overlooking the waterfall. Rocks, green trees everywhere—and this wonderful waterfall. It almost looked like we were in the middle of a beautiful forest.

So last weekend was the party. People came from all over. A friend flew in from California. The Hairdresser who had cut Matthew and Mark’s hair—and several others who came—was there from Chicago. There were old friends from Governor’s School in Greenville and some from college days. Matthew’s art teacher who had taught him all the way from the third grade was there. She came with her
family. We call her his second Mama. The good friend that Mark first confessed to that he thought he was gay was there. Mark was married at that time...and made the decision to break off the marriage in fairness to his wife. But the wonderful thing was they maintained a friendship and she and her husband were at the party. There were other old friends that went all the way back to the early days of Matthew and Mark’s relationship in Chicago. There were brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. They came from places like Atlanta and Madison,
Wisconsin. There were people from Florida and Charleston. There was Mark’s mother and Aunt and brothers and sister were present. My wife and I were there and Matthew's sister and one of our granddaughters.

What did we do for two days? We got acquainted with each other. We told Matthew and Mark stories. We laughed a lot. We ate wonderful food that Chef Matthew had carefully selected. He really is a food-a-holic. We drank a lot of wine. We just enjoyed the reverie of two wonderful days celebrating 25 years of two gay guys being together.

I don’t know how many people said this was the best Anniversary-wedding party they had ever been to. The second night, after we had finished eating we moved to the huge room in the lodge where scenes from Matthew and Mark’s twenty-five years were replayed on and on. They have been everywhere mostly because of their work—and I have no idea how many places and countries they have visited.

Friends and family toasted Matthew and Mark. The man who Mark first told he was gay talked about that painful-truthful moment. A nephew spoke. Mark’s sister spoke. Friends scattered around the room talked
about their ties and how special this couple was. Mark’s gorgeous ex-wife spoke. How many people could have that happen. With a lump in my throat—I stood and tried to talk. I told them I had been on the edge of tears the whole two days.  The ties that, my they were fine and strong and wonderful. I talked about the tributaries that had flowed into the lives of these two very special people. I confessed that when I first heard of this two-day anniversary idea—I thought it was a little crazy. But I also confessed that there I had discovered it was one of the most moving two days of my life.

We scattered the next day. Some there may not ever have heard the words of the writer, Dostoevsky but I think all would agree that what he wrote years ago captured those two days for us all. “And even if we are occupied with important things, even if we attain honor or fall into misfortune, still let us remember how good it was once here when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us better perhaps than we are."

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said! My nephew and his partner have been together for 20 years. I so look forward to the day that we can celebrate with them in the same way you celebrated with Matthew and Mark! North Carolina is not there yet!