My favorite Captain, “Mary who’s cooking. I don’t want to eat anything those boys are cooking. Probably end up being poisoned.”
Mary laughed, “You’re too ornery to be poisoned.”
David brought the cart and picked up the soup bowls. He picked up the Captains as well. “Sir, you didn’t eat your soup. You know it’s a sin to throw good food away.”
We all stop and watched what would happen next. Gus picked up the bowl and drank from it till it was empty. David smiled, “Thank you. Captain sir.”
Jim had to add to it, “Darn good soup if you asked me.”
“Who’s asking you.”
Next came plates with cream chicken over hot biscuits with sides of fresh vegetables, which appeared steamed. “Mary, did you cook this? You usually fry or bake your chicken.”
“No, I didn’t make this. Scott is back there with Andy and this new boy, Steve. Steve said he worked in a kitchen as a dishwasher and learned a few cooking habits. He said the chef would teach him when they were slow.”
“Why don’t you hire him? You could take it a little easy, he could help with the cooking, bus tables and clean up before you close.”
“Oh, I don’t know. What would I pay him? We can’t afford much.”
“How about five dollars an hour and I’ll do the book keeping for you free.You just give me the hours he works, and I’ll figure out the cash which you can give him. He needs a job, Bob brought over a few street boys, he was one of them. I think he’s a nice kid. If you don’t want him, I’ll hire him as my chef.”
“Where does he live, if he’s a street person.”
“With Glen and I and all of these boys”
I heard Barney, “Do it Mary, maybe we can have an early night once in a while.” I looked at her, she smiled and nodded yes.
“You can tell him and he can start tomorrow, suggest starting time at ten am. I know these guys don’t get up till eleven except for Jim.”
Dinner really was good, Barney came over and whispered in her ear. “We might get a night off.”
“Maybe I could go and see my sister for a small vacation.”
“There you go, why not and Barney, I can handle that bar for you so you can go also.”
Glen was all smiles. Later that evening, “You know you’re very smooth. I didn’t know that about you. Maybe you smooth talked me into marrying you.”
“If I could have done that, I’d have done it a lot sooner.”
“You’re going to pay him more than five dollars aren’t you.”
“Minimum wage is seven, so I’ll bump it up. Mary and Barney have been great to Uncle. I know Barney is not charging all of Uncle’s drinks. So this will help a little. Did you see how excited they were at the possibility of taking a vacation. It makes you feel good when you do something for someone. Which reminds me, I need to make a phone call”
“Hello, this is Kevin Jaxson, is Doctor Weaver still there?Okay I’ll wait….He left… Okay, has he decided a discharge date?Yes, I’ll arrange to pick him up tomorrow afternoon. Great, thanks.”
“Frankie is doing fine, every thing is working okay, he needs to be kept quiet, a soft diet and plenty of water. I’ll put him in the room across from Tommy, Nicky’s room.”
The next afternoon, Glen and I went to the hospital to pick up Frankie. I took one look, “Don, we need an ambulance to take him home. I have him on the second floor close to a bathroom.Are there any special instructions beside the soft food?”
“Yes, I have some cream that need to be applied twice a day to his back.Once every thing is healed we can remove the scars.”
“Okay son, ready to go home.”
I saw the look of fright on his face. “We’re going to my home.” He relaxed as they came in with the stretcher
We got him situated in bed and then the boys came to say hello and chat. Glen came and packed a suitcase. “Where are you going?”
“Did you forget, tomorrow we’re going to be married. I told you I’d spend tonight at home.”
“Well, then you better give me enough kisses to last till tomorrow.” And he valiantly tried.
In the morning, I did my usual, brush my teeth, worked out, showered and shaved. I dressed in my sweats and flip flops, began breakfast. I realized it was quiet and then it dawned on me the boys are setting up the chairs on the dock. I fixed a breakfast tray for Frankie and me, headed to his room.
“Good morning, how do you feel?”
“I’m still a little sore.”
“Are you ready for breakfast? I have hot chocolate and soft boiled eggs. In a little while I’ll bring you some more.”
I ate with him, and we chatted about his problem with his dad. His dad isn’t his biological dad, his mother remarried. “I don’t think he ever really like me. I didn’t smoke or drink beer, to him I wasn’t a man. That was when he started to push me out on thestreet. If I didn’t bring home enough to cover his booze, he would beat me. What has happened to him?”
“He was arrested and charged with endangerment of a minor, among a few other things. He has a criminal record and has spent time in jail. I don’t think you’ll see him for a long time, if you do. Prison isn’t a nice place for child molesters.”
“He didn’t molest me”
“Under the law, the beatings and forcing you on the street, count. What about your mom? Where is she?”
Frankie started to cry. “He killed her and buried her in the back yard. It was after one of my beatings, I heard them argue. He yelled shut up or I’ll kill you as well. That's all I remember. In the past, he had threaten to kill me and bury me in the back where no one would find me.Mom had no living relatives or that is where I would’ve been sent.”
I held him while he cried. “Kevin, where are you?”
“It’s all arrange, who is this?”
“Frankie, this is Glen’s brother Nicky. This is his room when he stays here. We just brought him home last night. How are the arrangements coming?”
“All set, how are we going to get Frankie there?Can you sit up?”
“Yes, but I need a soft seat.”
“Kev, we can rig up a chair with a cushion and carry him down. What do you think?”
“Would you like to go and see two men get married.” Nicky left to get Jamie. I brought my desk chair from my office, which had wheels and arm rests.
With Jamie’s help they dressed Frankie in Jamie’s clothes. They had a diaper on him from the hospital, I took an old pair of my whities, padded the seat with cotton, and slipped them on him. Jamie and Nicky helped him into the chair, I got a blanket and wrapped it around him. “How do you feel?”
“Kev, are you going like that?”
I laughed, shaved and dressed, I was ready to go. “Dad said to give you this.” It was the ring.
“Here, this is for the entertainment. It’s going to be great right?”
So we walked to the docks. The Peter Charles was moored between two docks so that the stern was very visible from the chairs on the dock. They had an arch against the galley wall, it looked quite festive. The judge came over with papers for us to sign. I thought only one was needed but we signed quite a few. “You understand you’re the first same sex couple to be married in this State. Not the first living here, many were married in other States. So we need to commemorate this occasion.”
The judge left and then we heard the conch. Sammy and Peter led followed by Nicky and Charles and then we followed them. It was a beautiful day. On the way to the stern, I heard ‘that’s my Pappy and Daddy.’ I looked, I shouldn’t have, when he saw me looking, he was off his chair and running toward me. I knelt down and caught him. He was smiling, a six year old smile.
I carried him right along with us till David came and took him. But the boys stayed with us, and that was okay. Just before we‘d have said ‘I do’ the conch sounded again. Jamie was on the bridge, he waved out at the ocean and blew the conch again. Then the mermaids arrived at the side of the boat with a merman. I thought Adam was going to run and join them. “Glen, Kevin, they have a blessing for you.”
So Glen and I went and knelt down, the mermaids came and gave us a kiss and took a hand full of water and sprinkled it on our head. The merman came and did the same thing. Nicky really did this up well. They were perfectly dressed. If you didn't believe before you believed now.
Nicky had small hand towels for us, and Judge Bronson, looked at us, I winked and he pronounced us husbands. We kissed but not like last night. Scott announced that the party is to move into the Wharf where refreshments could be had.
“Care to explain?”
“Judge, you don’t believe, after seeing that?We fish further out than the other boats and generally come in full, our holds are full. The other captains wanted to know what we were doing to get full loads. My Uncle told them the mermaids fell in love with Nicky. So we built on that, every time when we go out, Nicky and a couple of the guys do what Glen and I did. Then we’d sail.”
“And they buy that.”
“Judge, fishermen are the most superstitious people in the world. They believe the weirdest things, some of it is based on truth, particularly weather issues.”
He shook his head as we walked to the Wharf. Charles met us with glasses of beer. The judge looked at me, we laughed. “Now what?”
“Charles, get JudgeBronson a beer.”
“Kevin, I don’t drink.”
“Neither do we.”
“But you’re drinking beer.”
“Here, and now you are drinking beer also.”
Judge smelled it and then took a sip. “Is there anything here real, root beer, mermaids. What’s for lunch crab claws?”
Now Glen and I were really laughing, “Yes crab claws but not like you think.” Mary had made some appetizers that you eat with crab claws, they are like a one prong fork.
Walking into the Wharf everyone was having a good time. They came to us, giving us hugs and kisses, asking us about the mermaids. Now Glen was getting into it. “We owe our fishing successes to our mermaids and mermen friends. They have even corralled fish for us every time when it is slow.” I heard bah humbug, in the background, Captain Gus.
We spoke to Andy’s parents, his dad was going with us tomorrow when we leave for a long fishing trip or until the holds are full. I saw Diana, but not Harry, I assume he didn’t come with her. All of our customers were there, including Marge and her husband, Stella and her husband and Amy and her boyfriend Terry. Glen and I spoke to them. Hugs and kisses all around. I saw Nicky sneak in with our performers.
Mary came and told us to take our seats, Glen and I sat down, that was the sign that lunch was going to be served. The boys sat long enough to bless the food and our wedding, then they got up to help serve the food. The cart was in full use.
This was a seafood extravaganza. Crab bisque, followed by a lobster cocktail and that was followed by baked fish filet, Scott did this. Sides were a baked vegetable dish, I'm assuming Scott did this as well.Dessert was sea foam cake. It was angel food cake but tinted for various shades of blue and green. An ice cream sauce was served over it.
Then there were the speeches, Nicky as best man told how he met me.He told about the rec room and the sign, how disappointed he was when his first party was a bomb until eight girls showed up. “I thought that wasn’t a bad ratio.” Everyone laughed when he said that.
Then Charles stood up, he spoke about our first meeting on the dock getting fish from Uncle. He spoke from the heart and was very serious. He told how they had lost his parents and his grandfather. “Then Glen and Kev showed up one nightto take my measurement for my uniform to work on our first boat, the Scuffy. That night Peter and I got a free bag of popcorn and a Dad and Pap. We love you Dad, Pap.”
The other boys stood and told their stories, Scott told his, Sammy told his. David stood and told how his and his four bothers lives have changed. “Christ loved fishing and fishermen, I now know why. Because I love fishing and two fishermen.”
My eyes were getting full of tears, Adam reached over and wiped my eyes with his napkin. I gave him a kiss on his head. Jamie talked about being totally accepted by Glen and Kev, “They are my second set of parents.”
Johnny talked about how much more confident he has become since working on the boat, “They believed in me and soon I believe in them and myself.”
Andy spoke, now he knows it’s possible to be gay and live a happy, fruitful life, thanks to the examples set by Glen and Kevin.
Travis spoke about the encouragement he got and the belief that he could do these manly things. “Mothers believe in you and as their son, you come to expect it, but for me, it was when two men believed in me, that boosted my self confidence.”
I looked at Adam, “Don’t you want to say anything?” He buried his face in my chest.
“I have something to say. I have come to know Glen and Kevin though adoptions and legal issues. I learned what people think of them through the children I have spoken to in the privacy of my office. There are people out there in this world, who wouldhave them locked up, I get them in my court room. There are christians who hate what these men are. But not one of them, has the depth of love for these children as these two men. To open your home to not only strangers but then adopt them, takes a great heart and the conviction to help. Glen, Kevin, I have a gift for you. Boys want to stand.” I watched as the orphanage boys stood, “Kevin, Glen let me introduce you to Jonathan Schumer Jaxson, Joseph Schumer Jaxson,David Schumer Jaxson, Tommy Schumer Jaxson, Adam Schumer Jaxson. Congratulations Glen and Kevin”
I got up and left, I was crying too hard. Mary came out, “Are you okay?
“Mary, this is a lot. I have been praying for these boys and now they are our sons. It’s a lot to take in on your wedding day.”
“Here, dry you eyes and come back in. There are more stories to tell.”
And there were, some were sad and others were funny. “Before we break up, Child Services is not done with Glen and Kevin. I found out they have three empty bedrooms, therefore, you are approved as foster parents for Robby, Steve and Frank.”
Tony came and pick up his gift and was leaving. “Tony, what’s wrong?”
“With that group I need to order the ultra big unit.” Everyone laughed as he came and set the gift on the table in front of me. “Kev, Glen, if you have time I can set this up for you.”
He opened the package, it was a griddle. “Dad, I’ll go and help him to set it up.”
They took off, “Want to bet Scott scoped that out.”
We sat and talked, Stella said they had to leave, we got a hug and kiss from her, a handshake from her husband. Amy gave us a hug, she was very happy, Terry gave us a hug, he was very happy. Marge always, gave us hugs, she introduced her husband.
“Boys, I came with Marge, you don’t mind if I share the mermaid bit.”
“No, Judge, just make sure they are drunk or they may make you take for an insanity test.”
We watch them all go, leaving Diana, Andy’s parents, the captains, Mary, Barney, Gram, Mom and Dad plus the boys. Before Bob left, he told me he’d keep in touch.