How I Met Adam, Part 12

Adam picked me up at the airport and we drove to the Chinese restaurant where his family was waiting. We were excited about being together but I could tell that he was pretty nervous about coming out to his entire family all at once in just a few minutes. I gotta say I was pretty jazzed up too. The two grandmothers had handled the news fine, one more than the other but both of me shot me reassuring smiles across the room. When it came time to order, one of Adam’s uncles announced “Adam’s friend is a vegetarian so let’s make sure we order something he can eat.” Nice as the sentiment was, the last thing I wanted in that moment was to be singled out in any other way that I was about to be. At each place at the table was a little Nutcracker doll. Adam promptly began to dismantle his. The anticipation was killing me. Finally I kneed him under the table as if to say, “Will you get on with it already?!” Adam, being a man of few words, rung his water glass with a chop stick and stood up. “So I guess you all are wondering who this is.” (meaning me) “This is Jeff. I’m as queer as a three dollar bill and we’re getting married.” …and then he sat down. Like I said… “man of few words.” Then they all just looked at me like it was my turn! God bless his father. From the end of the table, I just heard this single pair of hands start to clap. Then the rest of the family joined in and someone made a toast. To my right, the entire end of the table was full of the “less-than-thirties.” I figured I could count on them as confederates. This coming generation, as a whole is more progressive when it comes to the gay thing than the last. They all got up en masse and went outside to smoke cigarettes and discuss this new information amongst themselves. I just attacked my Kung Pao tofu and pretended I was hungry. The kids came back and promptly engaged me in small talk having nothing to do with what they had just heard except to let me know that they were happy to meet me and that I was welcome. In fact, before we left the restaurant, most everyone there had come up to me to welcome me to the family. The only one who didn’t was the incredibly senile great aunt and I’m not sure she knew where she was or who all these people were anyway. Beyond just being nice, I have to say that Adam’s family were very welcoming to me from the beginning and have said the sweetest things. That night we slept at his grandmother, Nana Peg’s house. Her marriage to her late husband is near legion in the Nelson family. Everyone knows how much they loved each other. When he died, she moved into the den and hasn’t slept in their marriage bed since. That night, my first night in Salt Lake, she made up their old bedroom for us with fresh sheets and a candle. She all but put out the massage oil and put on the Mel Torme. “I know you two boys want to be alone. I’ll see you in the morning.” The next morning I got up before Adam and went down to have coffee with Nana. We have had some wonderful visits over coffee since that time and she and my other new grandmother, Nana Betty have become like family to me. In fact, the whole family has. I know I have taken a lot of blessings for granted in my life but this one is not lost on me; that, even though Adam and I come from the two most conservative states in the nation, Utah and Alabama, both our families have been wonderful to us and we appreciate it more than I can say. I can’t understand how people turn out their own children when they find out that they’re gay. It breaks my heart. I’m so very glad that that is not our story. On our next visit to Salt Lake, when it was time for us to leave headed back to Los Angeles, Adam’s mother Mimi hugged me tightly goodbye. Remember I had told you that Adam’s only brother Reuben had been killed in a skateboard accident. When Mimi said goodbye to me that day, she whispered in my ear, “It’s nice to have to boys again.” There are not words to express what that meant to me.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the wedding.

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