Forever ago we bought a futon with a frame. When we purchased it we decided to upgrade to a foam core mattress. I have many regrets in my life, but this decision has not been one of them. The futon has survived moves, break-ups, reunions, and much flopping on by various species of critters. I think about three years ago, it became apparent the mattress had seen better days. A memory foam topper has helped, but sometimes it truly is time to replace things. So off to the Futon and Mattress Outlet to buy the replacement we went. The intents was a quick drive by purchase.
The smiling, sixtyish salesman was waiting for us as soon as we cracked the door. "How can I help you?" he said. Within five minutes he has sold us what we wanted and we were checking out. Plan working well, and then he started talking about his grand dogs. Before I could intervene Natalie had her wallet out with her photos of our dogs on the counter. Next thing I know we are in Cary's (and obviously we are on a first name basis at this point) office looking at not only the grand dogs, but his adult children as well.
With a flourish Cary said, "And that is my son and his partner, they are planning a big wedding next year in Iowa." I must admit I paused, this conversation was not what I expected while mattress shopping. Cary proceeded to tell us all about his son and future son-in-law. It was obvious that he thought the young man was pretty spectacular. He even shared how proud he was that the partner had been promoted to a manager with Sam's Club in mid-Missouri.
Again, I had to pause, my sister works at the store. I had to tell Cary about my sister and we speculated if they might know each other, later sister confirmed that they did. We had a small world moment and continued for some time to converse about the politics of Missouri and our shared hope for approval of same-sex marriage. In all it was an unexpected and heartwarming conversation.
Reluctantly, it became time to gather our mattress and go. After Cary had the box in the car, he said, "I knew you would understand about my son because I saw your sticker." He pointed at my proclaimed "Marriage Equality" on the bumper (http://tempestinapot.blogspot.com/2012/08/source-instagram.html). "Would I prefer my son to not be gay?" he continued. "Yes. It makes it harder for him, but I have known since he was 2 he was gay. He is happy and that is all that matters to me."
We left and it made me smile thinking again about all the hope I have for the future of the LQBTQ community. We are your sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brother, sisters, friends, co-workers, customers, and humans. We are all connected and together we will make a better world. Who knew buying a futon mattress would be such an affirming moment?