Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Marrying Gina




My first sturdy memory of Gina was from a softball game. She wasn't any bigger than I was--in fact we were built on just about the same general template--but unlike me, she had skills. We'd worked in the same post office for a year by then, and we'd gone to a game with another station that pretended to be casual but, in fact, was not: a keg of beer was at stake. A towering fly ball was hit to the outfield and Gina began streaking across the field yelling I got it I got it I got it and she was darn close, too. Then there was a terribly loud thudding sound that none of us could make any sense of, because we had never heard a collision between a swiftly moving bosom and a light pole before. Gina was on the ground. I hope she had the ball in her mitt, but I can't remember. Nobody could figure out what the hell a light pole was doing in center field. She shook it off and was soon diagnosed as good enough for postal work, but really she was always a lot better than that.

Years followed in which Gina and I held ostensibly the same job (letter carrier), but she was a fixture in the downtown business core, and I hoofed around up in the residential area in the hills.  Our postal paths never crossed. But they might as well have, because we were constantly being mistaken for each other. We both had dark honey-colored hair, we were short, we were female. At the time female letter carriers were a novelty. Any time our customers saw us out of context, they would start chatting away.
If I didn't recognize the person talking to me, I'd be a little off-balance at first and then relax. "He thinks he's talking to Gina," I'd surmise. She had the same experience. Since we knew each other's life stories, it was just as easy to play along as if we were the other person rather than to correct and possibly embarrass the person we were talking to. "Talked to one of your fans today," we'd say to each other. This went on for thirty years. I didn't mind being mistaken for Gina, because she was an ace. I hope she felt the same about me.

Gina became a mother, a really good one, and then went for two because the first one turned out so nice, and much later she divorced. If you had told me, in 1979, that I would marry Gina, I would have thought you were nuts. I was plenty on board for the possibility of gay marriage some day, but as much as we resembled each other, we weren't each other's type. Our types mostly have penises. Nevertheless it happened. Gina reconnected with a fine man she had dated early on, and Kevin and she were married last week, with the Reverend Murr officiating.

I picked up my official status as the Marrying Kind last year when my friends Beth and Dean requested my assistance. It was a matter of an exchange of emails to obtain my license as a minister of the Universal Life Church (creed: "whatever"). It's an odd thing. The state of Oregon sort of cares who officiates, and sort of doesn't. You can be a judge, or you can be a mail-order minister. I'm not sure why you can't just be a librarian, or a letter carrier. People tend to go on and on about the holiness of the state of matrimony, but ultimately it's just a legal arrangement. It confers upon the couple a defined set of benefits that serves as a short way
around what would otherwise be a daunting legal maze. Some of them are major. You can receive each other's Social Security benefits. Pensions. Health benefits. The holiness of the marriage is something
else altogether. Whatever love has to do with it, it would do with or without the legal sanction. We are thrilled to celebrate the triumph of affection and the willingness of two people to care for each other. But they don't need us for that.

They can have that in any case. It's up to them. But the benefits--they need my decidedly secular signature on the marriage certificate for that. I have other friends whose love is neither negotiable nor subject to anyone else's approval.They got it, they got it, they got it. But right now in the state of Oregon they cannot be legally wed. Something is stopping them from that, something that makes as much sense as a light pole in the middle of center field. Next year, in 2014, we're going to take down that pole. I'm sure of it. I'll still have my license, if anyone needs it.

60 comments:

  1. I hope you are right. I am pretty certain that our light pole will be re-inforced and armed, rather than removed over the next couple of years. Which is sad and bad.
    And one has to jump through rather a lot of hoops and attend a meeting or six (mostly not with like-minded people) to get that licence here. Which is also sad. Not, mind you, as sad as re-inforcing that ugly light pole... Which illuminates nothing.

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  2. I'm of the opinion that if any two persons care for each enough to set up house together then no politician has any business in that decision.
    If someone stoopid legal loophole exists to prevent their accessing some genuine benefits...CALL MURR. Or any other celebrant in the phone book.
    Than k you,M., for being available for those in need.

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    1. Ha ha! You said "in the phone book!" You OLD!

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  3. Hopefully, I won't need the services of a preacher of any sort for some time to come. It seems all they have ever done is get me into entanglements nearly impossible from which to escape. I have never quite figured out this whole legal wedding thing and all of the laws and sacrosanctity surrounding marriage except that finally, it all boils down to government manipulation to keep us docile, beholding and in debt to the system. Makes for nice worker bees don't you know.

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    1. THEY got you into entanglements? Oh sugar lamb! It's time to take control! :)

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  4. I was proud to be one of the people who voted for gay marriage in Washington state and see it passed. I never thought we would beat Oregon in any hippy-dippy way, but we sure did. And you are just filled with amazing talents that I never knew about! Congratulations to Gina and her fella. :-)

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    1. You all can smoke pot at your Satan's weddings, too.

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  5. Goodness, he's tall!
    ". . .makes as much sense as a light pole in the middle of center field" is as perfect a description as I've ever seen.
    Congratulations, I guess, on your ministry. Canada had something like that when my daughter and her partner married there in 2004. The woman who conducted their ceremony kept it simple and beautiful. I was impressed.

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    1. He's tall, but he's not THAT tall. Gina and I share an economy of scale.

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  6. Loveliest wedding I've attended in years was officiated by two Universal Life Church certificants. Part of the reason, I think, is that they both knew the bride and groom very well, and could make the ceremony personal. Without church affiliations, when my husband and I got married, we had to hunt around for a preacher willing to marry us in my parents' home (next door to the parsonage of the church we didn't go to). They all seemed to be afraid of "stepping on toes" or accused us of un-Christian feeling for believing that the fellow next door was better suited to running dogfights than to blessing a loving union of two relatively innocent kids. No judges or ship captains were available.

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    1. Ship captains are the way to go. I think you can even enlist a pirate. And get many yars of happiness.

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    2. You're a day early...Talk Like A Pirate Day is TOMORROW.

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  7. The Great State of Minnesota passed an amendment allowing for the marriage of same-sex peoples.

    And Ah hepped.

    Pearl

    p.s. LOVED the "they got it they got it they got it"/center pole wrap-up. You tell a wonderful story, Murr.

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    1. I am fascinated by the Great State of Minnesota. So many contradictions. Such a big mall.

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  8. Beautifully written and wonderfully told.

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  9. Congratulations! And I hope you're right about gay marriage. I still remember those few months back in 2004 when Multnomah county legalized it, only to be reversed by a state-wide referendum. It's past time we rectified the embarrassment. How long do we want Oregon to lag behind South Africa on a civil-rights issue?

    And that's a great idea, letting letter carriers marry people. The Post Office could use another source of revenue, and it would give the Republicans yet one more thing to get in a snit about.

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    1. And every now and then, one of them will accidentally declare the bride and best man married.

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  10. how awesome for your lifelong friendship. and bless you.

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    1. It HAS been a lot of years, and yet we thought we were grownups when we met. Huh.

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  11. Hey Murr! I had no idea. Should I bow and scrape in future, Your Reverence? But hey, what an amazing superpower; I must look into it =) *retreats, head down* Roth x

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    1. I do like the bow and scrape idea. And I think I need to look up what the scraping part is all about. It's a little too vivid.

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  12. Wish we had known you twenty years ago. The judge who did our ceremony was a long-winded creep who only came for the free food and booze, and took the opportunity to hit on all the pretty girls while he was there. Still, we ARE married, and that's what counts! But you would have been SO much funner!

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    1. No doubt true, but I would have gone for the free food and booze, too.

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  13. What a great parallel. You weave a fine picture with your words, Murr.

    Happiness aplenty for your friends! And may your state soon switch sides :)

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    1. We'll do it. Can't believe we haven't yet.

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  14. Take down the light pole...I like that.

    I guess even a legal contract does can not carry all the rights of a "marriage." It is very silly, I think it is the word "Marriage" that has the bible thumpers in a tizzy. States should remove that word and substitute "Legal union of two people who care for each other."

    If you have a church ceremony you must first get a "Legal union of two people who care for each other" license from the state for the "Marriage" to be legal.

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    1. Yeah, I've thought for a while that the term "marriage" should not be a legal one. Then we could have forms to fill out to check "single" or "contracted."

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  15. I am sure that Oregon, liberal bastion of former hippies, will indeed change next year...our state gave marriage recognition to everyone this year!

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    1. I also think the Feds will cave faster than some of the individual states. And some of the individual states will cave just to get the hospitality revenue.

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  16. I like the way you make connections. Congrats to your friend Gina and to you for attaining the status to marry them. How cool is that!

    I hope yours and all remaining states update their electrical devices soon. Thankfully, there are no such light poles left in Canada. The U.S. can't be too far behind with that claim.. let's hope.

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    1. I think anyone here who is terribly unhappy about the trajectory of this thing should move to Russia.

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  17. I love how you always manage to both entertain and enlightened, my friend.

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  18. Here in Washington State, we got it we got it we got it. I went to the marriage of my friends Beth and Sue in May. Just like all the other weddings, I cried all the way through. It was beautiful.

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    1. I knew I was old the first time I cried at a wedding. Dave started crying at weddings before I did. Of course, he's older.

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  19. I've lived in Minnesota most of my life and visited Oregon several times. I would never, ever have bet money that we would beat OR to recognize everyone's right to marry the person of their choice. But then IA beat us, and that was also a shocker. So far, the world here has not ended, the devil is not dancing on the fires of hell, and not one person has applied to marry a pig. Huh. If we can do it, Oregon can do it.

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    1. Can you? CAN YOU MARRY A PIG? Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon.

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    2. As long as the "makin' bacon" is done in the privacy of your own home and both parties consent.....
      BTW, our eldest is getting married next summer. Want a gig here in the Northstar state? It's beautiful here---in the summer. And you could visit Pearl, too!

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    3. That's a draw all right! Really? The Northstar State? How is it I haven't heard of it? I should look up state nicknames. All I can think of here are Pacific Wonderland and The Beaver State, but that's pretty good. I do have good feelings about Minnesota, mostly because it feels like a sister to North Dakota, which I'm more familiar with (fambly).

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  20. I fear here in Michigan we will be right behind Alabama and Mississippi in this issue. Outstate, we are Republican, in the big cities, we are African-American mostly...neither community typically friendly to the idea as a whole.

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    1. I will admit that doesn't sound promising. The feds will take care of it before you do.

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  21. You're such a good storyteller. I really did not know what to expect when I started reading this. I was afraid Gina was no more, actually. You pulled me right in. Maybe I'll engage the Right Reverend Murr someday, for something. Love you.
    JZ

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    1. Actually, I don't think you can kill off Gina. Not that anyone's tried. I'm available for all sanctioned services. My friend Chuck who has a Universal Life ministry hands out cards that say "third marriage free."

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  22. Aww. Fine story, happy ending and all. Kind of surprised we up here in Washington beat you to the punch with legalizing all marriages, but there it is. Still some folks fussin' and fumin' about it but they just need to unwind their underwear and find something important to worry about.

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    1. Seriously. We here swatted down Measure 9 easily enough in '92--of course that was just prohibiting the government from spending money to promote homosexuality, pedophilia, sadism, and masochism. No, we stood staunchly for promoting those, because there was no mention of pig-fucking, which we believe might constitute animal abuse. After that, we sort of petered out.

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  23. Oh Jesus, Murr, where were you when Paul and I got married? We would have had laughter through tears and vice versa had you been there. But, we also had an ace of a justice of the peace, but that's another story. Yes, yes,yes take down that light pole, because it makes no sense whatever. If Paul and I have a happy marriage it only makes yours that much more valuable.

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    1. We've got our pole-whackers all lined up and ready to go, just waiting for the starter's pistol. And yes. When Beth and Dean wrote out their wedding script, the second instruction was "Murr makes some smart-ass remark."

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  24. So you could marry me? I'll keep that in mind if I ever want to tie the knot again. (highly unlikely)
    But I live in Australia, could you do it long distance?
    Gina looks like a nice person.

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    1. You know, I'm not even sure if my signature would be legal in all of the states. You flying me?

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  25. Beautifully told, Rev. Murr. I LOVE the way you write and the zany way your mind works. Wish all ministers saw the world with such humor. And yes, that light pole is doomed to come down, hopefully very soon. I am also of the opinion that the word marriage should be discarded since it seems to have set-in-stone religious connotations, at least to so many in the closed-minded crowd. "Contracted" is inspired as a new legal description! Am imagining the introductions: "I'd like you to meet my contracted, Alex (or Alexa)" Am sure you can come up with some doozies.

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    1. Actually, "you are now contracted" makes it sound like everyone's bending over. We'll keep working on it.

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  26. I was forty my wife was mid twenties - we skipped out between college classes and went down to the local justice of the peace for the ceremony. He asked us who our witnesses were and we didn't know we needed any. He walked out onto the sidewalk in front of his office and grabbed the first two people walking down the street. They witnessed and we were married - then back to class. We wouldn't change that memory.
    the Ol'Bizzard

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    1. I'll bet your witnesses wouldn't either. But just so you know--you CAN change memories. I've seen it done!

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  27. Dang, I need to get me one of those certificates, but I live in Alabama. It will be a while before same-sex unions are legal here.

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    1. All the cracks I could be making now are disrespectful to fine Alabamans. I'm editing myself.

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  28. Well, here in Canada, the light pole has been gone for a number of years, and I have presided at marriages of couples who could not have wed previously. Just like any other couples, they are. Happy, and excited! Something seems very right about marrying them.

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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    1. Oh man! I haven't had a good Bear hug for a while. Thanks!

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  29. I've never understood states having a rule about who can officiate at a wedding and then allowing on-line ministry certificate. WHy not just admit that it doesn't matter and it's none of their business?

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