“We really didn’t care except for tax purposes… I mean, everyone kept saying, ‘When are you going to get married?’And so in 2014, at the spur of the moment, I said, ‘Everybody says we should get married. Let’s go get married.’ So we did that within a week, and everybody was really happy with that. Didn’t make any difference to us. It’s just a piece of paper.”
Bill Scogland, Feb. 13, 2016, to Christi Warren of The Press Democrat
It was my pleasure to virtually meet Bill Scogland in the spring of 2015. Sitting in front of our computer screens, we volleyed words back and forth while Doug rested in another room (He did surface at one point to water some plants on the patio before meeting me). Now, much has been written about this couple already – of when and how they met, their philanthropy, and their marriage, of course. But what my experience with them taught was something transcending such articles. They showed me that the values of loyalty and friendship are “the cake” required before marriage, and that marriage itself is only icing.
Bill’s point of view is reflected by many couples. One pair met while in college, carrying out their affair on a particular fire escape near campus. In time, the younger man rescued his older partner from the dissolution of his marriage, and the two matured over time to become the fathers of theater in their urban community. Although gay marriage was not recognized in their state when we met, they entertained it casually, envisioning a day when they would wake up and simply say, “Want to get married today?” (They just celebrated their first anniversary, although they have been together for forty-two years). Again, they reflected Mr. Scogland’s view after enjoying four decades together, enduring difficult times, certainly, but managing to love each other throughout.
To end, I will quote my own parents, whose fifty-two year marriage fits neatly between the two mentioned here. A great lesson is found in this shared belief, one whose existence I question to be in many McMarriages:
“You don’t like each other all of the time. But you love each other all of the time.”
Any marriage is a public affirmation of love. Such a monumental occasion! The planning, venue visitations, and countless cake tastings are careful work belonging to any pair looking to share their lives together. What is beyond that day, however, is a living-out of that commitment, day to day, month to month, year to year, and (with care and attention) decade to decade. To many, however, the notion of such union is still novel, important, mind you, but extraneous. Their special day is a bit more usual. Their celebration does not take place in a church, ballroom, or romantic restaurant. What they understand, though, is that they are already united, bound together by sentimental memories, special occasions, and more pieces of cake shared after noteworthy dinners.