The Stillness
Volume 3 Book 6 Part 4 of
Living in the Bonus Round

The Jasons Commitment ceremony.
"Your mother is so glad you have me."

[ Book 3-5 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] - [ Book 3-7 ]
September 18 - 22, 2003.
The Jasons Get Hitched.
What can I say? They are our sons, although it would be more proper to say they adopted us as much as we adopted them.

This past weekend, we went to Ithaca, New York to be a part of a gay commitment ceremony for "the Jasons." Not just attend. They asked Jimmy to conduct the service and they asked me to sing songs.

Jason S.'s mom and step-dad.
L: Jason S.'s mom & step-dad. They all look the same age to me.
You can tell the dad is straight cuz he wears a mullet.
R: Jason H.'s pretty mom.

Wedding tent.
Big tent in the backyard. Dom & Q from YGS.

(When Jimmy started to object to being asked to conduct this service, since he's not a minister, they said it didn't matter. They wanted Jim. So, of course, he promptly went on the net and became a minister of the Universal Life Church "able to perform all clergy functions except a briss.")

The Jasons commitment ceremony with Jim Brochu
Getting underway. My place was at the little keyboard behind the Jasons.
Then Jimmy said, "If Steve will stop taking pictures and get up here..."

There was one song they wanted me to sing -- "Song of Surrender" -- but it's about a couple that's broken up, so they asked me to write a new lyric to it -- which I did in the plane on the way to the ceremony.

Friends, family and supporters came from all over the country.
I raced over the piano after shooting a few pics and began with "Song Of Surrender." When they finally looked into each others' eyes and spoke their heartfelt, frequently humorous, but sincerely touching vows, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Jason H., Jason S. commitment ceremony

Then I sang "Not While I'm Around" by Stephen Sondheim. This song was my choice and when I barely got three words out of my mouth, I looked over at the Jasons who had moved over to the side...

"Nothing's gonna harm you
Not while I'm around.
No one's gonna hurt you, no sir,
Not while I'm around.

Demons are prowling everywhere nowadays.
I'll send them howling, I don't care. I've got ways..."

...and began to choke up. These two guys are the embodiment of what true commitment is. As Jason put it in his vows, they really do complete each other. One is practical. One is a dreamer. One is stoic. One is emotional. They are two halves of a whole.

I feel sorry for religious conservatives who are so obsessed with sin that they cannot see past their own bigotry to recognize love when it happens this way. To them, we are no longer human. We're just big bags of sin. I'm not saying they're all that way. There are members of my own family who have have religious "objection" to "homosexuality" but who totally recognize and respect the love Jimmy and I have for each other, the way we take care of each other. Even through the worst of our one temporary split-up, both of us were more concerned about the other than about ourselves.

"No one's gonna hurt you.
No one's gonna dare.

Others can desert you, not to worry,
Whistle I'll be there..."

I could barely get through the song. All I know is my heart was in my throat and I thought about what a different world it is now. When I was their age, the thought of a "commitment ceremony" was as unreachable as Pluto's moon. Oh, there will always be the hatemongers with their nasty signs and ugly words, but this new generation accepts commitment and love as a fact of life.

The Jasons light the one candle from the two.
Lighting the candle. Making one of two.

They exchanged rings and lit the candle. Then, by their request, I sang "Near You" (from The Big Voice), a song I first sang for them in Cincinnati several years ago when it and they were a new item, a song they pronounced as "their" song. (Me at Martha and Gary's little upright piano, the two of them crouched together on the floor looking up at me and holding each other.)

"God please keep me near you."

Steven, Q & Jimmy goof around on the sofa.

Everyone was having a great time.

The Jasons cut their wedding cake.
The cutting of the cake with Jimmy looking on.

Our friend Maggie said what she loved most was seeing Jimmy and me, an older generation, giving support and love to the newest generation. And in turn, we have pledged that we will give support to the next generations. Some may argue that gay issues aren't the most world-pressing or crucial issues the world faces, but as Gandhi and King would say, freedom denied to a few is freedom denied to all.

After an emotional week of people passing away, it felt good to see what amounts to a new birth. The Jasons stand as role models of love and commitment to everyone who knows them, gay or straight. And no one can take that away.

September 23 - 28, 2003.
Medical Updates.
Time for a quick update on my health. First of all, I went to see Dr. F. who looks and prods at my butt. He was AMAZED. The steady diet of three times daily double dose of Metamucal (they should pay me for the endorsement) has been miraculous. The bleeding ulcer in my colon has completely healed over. Also, all the hemorrhoids are shrunken and gone. The prolapse is still there, however, so I have to maintain the regimen I've been on, but NO SURGERY is called for. I go back in six months (rather than the usual three). I was in and out of there in less than five minutes.
My only gripe about Dr. F. is that his office and waiting room are filled with really hard wooden seats. You'd think a guy who deals with sore butts would have comfy seating in the waiting area. Oh well.

I also saw Dr. M, who looks after my blood sugars. The low-fat, non-sugar / low carb / daily exercise diet/routine has also been very effective in controlling my blood sugars. Another drug I've been taking that's more systemic has also kicked in so we're actually going to cut back on one of my pills, Starlix, which I take just before a meal. She said to only take it if I know I'm eating something high carb.

Next week will be Dr. AIDS who will test my blood fat to see how we're doing on the cholesterol and triglycerides. I keep hearing from lots of other people on the anti-virals that they are also experiencing the same elevations in blood fat. So, it's definitely a side effect of the drugs.

I have been talking to Theatre on the Square in Indianapolis about appearing there as Gideon this coming February for a short run. It began when a college student, Ruth, wrote me earlier this year, asking for advice on TLS, that she really wanted to direct this production and could I give her any clues. We exchanged a flurry of emails and then I would only hear from her intermittently.

I had almost forgotten about it when suddenly she wrote and said that she had indeed been chosen to direct! That led to us talking about me going there -- and the next thing you know, it's almost all set up. As readers of this diary know, I love local community theatre. My goal will be to take the things we learned in Rochester, Omaha, Denver and Baltimore, and apply them to Indianapolis.

As a matter of fact, I remember a very powerful and emotional night at Indiana University near there, where I sang the "Living In The Bonus Round" concert in front of portions of the AIDS quilt.

Speaking of the AIDS quilt, Rev. Neil at the MCC-LA has informed me that we will have portions of it for use in the Nov. 30th "A Joyful Lamentation" concert. I have also invited David Peterson to join me. David was recently seen on the TV show "Six Feet Under" singing Nessun Dorma for a funeral and sings with the LA Gay Mens Chorus. I've also invited Barry Fasman, my perennial best pal, to sing. I just hope that people want to go. Ever since people stopped dying in the numbers they used to, many people are sweeping AIDS under the rug and trying to pretend it doesn't exist.

But we'll see. There is a time for mourning.

[ Book 3-5 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] - [ Book 3-7 ]


© 1996-2003 by Steve Schalchlin.
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