Monday, October 21, 2013

Mr. Duckett and Dr. Jones



This man, Mr. Duckett, Lewis as I know him, has been my life saver ever since I was a newly employed 23-year-old making a pitiful $14,000 a year with not a clue about filing taxes. A mutual friend introduced me to Lewis, an accountant with a wicked wit and a heart of gold. He wouldn't even let me pay him for doing my taxes in those early years. "You can pay me when you start making a real income," he would joke. He has stood by me through all the stages of my life, never guilt tripping me when I showed up in September to file my taxes for the previous year. He'd just boot up his computer and see what obtained. He was my stalwart when I got audited those two years running, a calm force of good, a font of humor, a man of faith and peace who forged a pleasant connection with the tax auditor, and coached me on how to present my case to best effect. Even so, he accompanied me to every meeting, sitting in the chair next to me and nodding like an approving parent or big brother as I pleaded my case, stepping in deftly if a little banter or shop talk was needed.

Lewis knew me before I met my husband, before I had children, and I knew him before he and Billy adopted their son at three weeks old. And now Mr. Duckett, aka Lewis, has married the love of his life, Dr. Jones, aka Billy, his partner of 46 years, with whom he is now reveling in grandparenthood. When I go to Lewis's house to do my taxes these days, or to complete forms I have to file with my children's schools, or during the marathon culling and curating of records that was my tax audit, he regales us with photos of his granddaughter, and of his son and daughter-in-law, who were able to marry before he and Billy did, because the laws hadn't yet caught up to love.

I was standing in Lewis's kitchen the night in January 2008 when we looked up at the television set and saw that Barack Obama had won the Iowa caucus. "He's going to win it all," Lewis said calmly. "Watch it happen." It was the moment I began to believe that the country might actually be ready for a Black president, and now, look how far we've come since that night. Lewis and Billy are married! Legally, in the eyes of the law, even though they were married by heart so long ago. They chose each other 46 years ago and have never looked back. We might suffer government shutdowns based on hostility toward our Black president by certain factions determined to see him fail, and yet, and yet, in the midst of the vitriol, we are making progress, slowly and surely and beautifully. Today New Jersey became the newest state to recognize gay marriage. And in New York City, Mr. Duckett and Dr. Jones stood up before their community and said their I do's. Keep your eyes on that.


15 comments:

  1. Angella, all day long I have had tears backed up, some perverse something in my heart not allowing them to flow, not even knowing why my perverse heart wanted to cry but this video, your story, has at least unblocked my eyes. Probably because it reached in and yanked my heart. Yes. There ARE changes. Good changes. Let us not forget that. Let us not forget that love is now more freely expressed and if that is not a force for good in this universe, I don't know what is. Thank you for introducing me to Lewis. And I am grateful to the NYT for posting this.

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  2. Wow. What a privilege -- and I'm so grateful to read your hopeful, celebratory words.

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  3. Hi--I've stumbled onto your blog by sheer accident--I think your name is a hoot. This post is marvelous, really marvelous. I've been waiting for somebody to say something just like that. Mr. Duckett and Mr. Jones are married and we need to keep our eyes on THAT. Thank you. Truly. You've made my day. The recalcitrance and arrogance of our politics had almost spoiled it.

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  4. Oh, man. What sweetness. How beautiful.

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  5. That made me laugh and it made me cry.

    "It was almost as if we were considered...one". That is because they are.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am going to pass it on.

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  6. A wonderful story!! Thanks to Ms Moon for pointing me your way.

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  7. This made me cry. How amazing can true love be. How cruel can laws be. I a d o r e President Obama for he made this possible.

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  8. 46 years, wow! Change takes almost a lifetime but this shows it does happen. Angella, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us. Sweet Jo

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  9. Ms. Moon sent me over here - thank goodness I listened to her! What a lovely story - I'm so happy for them. And a little jealous of your fabulous accountant too :)

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing this story. It's nice to cry a few happy tears now and then and to be reminded that among the chaos, progress is being made.
    xo

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  11. Thank you for this message of hope--which not even Republicans can drive out!

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  12. That video is AWESOME. I teared up as well. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  13. Oh, Angella - how wonderful that you know these two lovely, full-of-grace men. I saw the video on Facebook before reading your post here. . . the whole story, so very moving.

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