24 April 2006

Springtime In Colorado

Spring arrived a weak ago, but this weekend it finally really felt like it.

Crocs have replaced Mary Janes. I put in the first round of fertilizer of the year. The hail came down. The allergies are acting up. Every tree is green. Bulbs and wild flowers are blooming everywhere. The brown grass of winter is retreating, at least from our lawn. The annual 4-20 rally downtown went off without a hitch in its haze of smoke downtown, sandwiched between protests over the closing of Manual High School and the desires of the Tancredo crowd to deport eleve million people immediately. The newspapers are reving up their campaign against alcohol in anticipation of prom season. (Not without justification, although the latest after prom traffic death does not appear to be drug or alcohol related.)

Wedding season has also arrived. The Shane Company is busy warning us about the banality of buying an engagement ring in the presence of sock and sticky bun stores, rather than the dignity of a stand alone outfit, which honestly smells about the same, as they have goodies that they cook up themselves. And the fertility associated with spring isn't entirely restricted to animals. We have just welcomed cousin T.J. into the world, who comes quick on the heels of cousin Henry, and the new born children of several friends of the family.

David Harsanyi illustrates the powerful force of cultural change by quoting P.J. O'Rourke who noted that if gays:

want to get married, have children, and go to church, next they'll be advocating school vouchers, boycotting HBO and voting Republican.

While meant as absurd, as Harsanyi spins out, O'Rourke's tounge in cheek strategy is seen by a growing minority of Republicans as the only sensible approach. He notes that after talking to a lesbian couple who have shared their lives for decades that:

In fact, after talking to these 70-something women, I never once sensed that they were out to destroy my marriage, Western civilization or Christianity.

Indeed, while the history is patchy and full of bright spots, Western civilian is also home to some of the brightest spots in gay history (Classics scholars aren't alone in exaulting classical Greek values). At least three of the churches in my part of town, the Metropolitan community church, the United Christian Church, and the Unitarian Universalist church make a point of being welcoming to gay and lesbian Christian families, and even more moderate Christian churches (such as Denver's Central Presbyterian Church, which is on the right side of a fight within its denomination on gay rights issues) tend to be welcoming in this part of the woods. And, as a parent of young children, I can assure you that sharing burden of volunteer parental involvement with two lesbian parents of one of my children's schoolmates, instead of a single harried one, is a decided help to our marriage, as that one extra parent helping out allows me and my wife to put in merely 107% to do what we need to do at work, home and school, instead of 111%.

Speaking of school, did you know that even 1st graders have final exams! Yipes! The one hundred final exam spelling words are now piled up in a stack in our living room offering us delightful breakfast parent-child bonding study time for weeks to come. Although, it is certainly a delight to see your eldest child pick up your youngest child's latest story book and kindly read it cover to cover, stumbling over only three or four words, when our soon to be first grade graduate wouldn't have been able to make out even the title a year ago, although this also means that the adult to adult secret spelling code has now been limited to multisyllable allocutions.

It is also petition time in Colorado. Spring is the time ordained by our state statutes for young people making a little over the minimum wage and a desire to bring about social change to stand in front of grocery stores and in other outdoor gathering places trying to collect signatures for every candidate and issue under the sun, which there happen to be a great many of this year. By summer's end, they will be gone, bound for college or internships with public interest groups, or Alaskan canning factories, or jobs teaching English in Mongolia. In the meantime, I wish them the very worst of luck, so that our ballot won't weigh as much an an infantryman's rucksack by the time we get to election day.

So, whether you have rain, or snow, or fog, or slush, have a fine April shower morning in Colorado.

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