Journalist Terry Wood appeared in Plan-B Theatre Company’s first AND THE BANNED SLAMMED ON. He lent his voice to the world premiere of EXPOSED and will do so again for “8” on August 4-5.
If you have never been to Mendocino, California, let me describe it for you . . . in one word: idyllic. It is one of the most picturesque coastal villages in North America.
A three hour drive north of San Francisco, through the wine country of Anderson Valley, through giant redwoods near the coast and you arrive at a small 19th century redwood logging village that has barely changed in the 21st century. Less than 900 people live in a town that still sports the water towers built more than 130 years ago. A town with no McDonald’s, no Taco Bell, no fast food. But plenty of good food and a slowed-down lifestyle wrings the city stress out of those who spend a few days here.
It was in the shadow of one of those water towers behind the historic Packard House where my son, Damien Wood, married Andrew Hindman.
March 27, 2007. The sun shone on this Pacific seaside town . . . and the love radiated even more as about 120 people from all over this country and a couple of European countries sipped champagne, listened to the Pacific Boy Choir and got misty-eyed when the minister delivered the sacred vows. I was there with my wife, Susan. Damien’s mother, Cyndee, was there from Ogden with her husband Curt. Andrew’s parents had flown in from the East Coast.
Words cannot describe how proud, how happy and how honored I felt. But I can use the same word used to describe Mendocino: idyllic. It was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen and in the most beautful place. And, yes, I had tears in my eyes, too. That’s okay . . . my father cried at my wedding. Maybe it’s genetic.
There are only a few streets in Mendocino – you can walk everywhere within minutes. And that’s just what the wedding party did after the vows were exchanged. We walked about two blocks to the historic old Crown Hall for the reception. It was decorated in grand fashion and we continued the festivities much as they would have in the 1870′s Mendocino. Oh, of course, the band did have electric amplifiers as a concession to the modern ear.
Now, for those of you who know history and its important dates: March 27, 2007 was before the court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in California. You never would have known it from the trappings of this gorgeous wedding. But when it did become legal, Damien and Andrew, renewed their vows before the same minister. That was August 8, 2008. Three months later, Prop. 8 was passed in California, denying the same access to marriage that Damien and Andrew were so fortunate to experience. But their marriage remains legal . . . and their commitment to love remains just as intense.
Today, they own three B&B’s in Mendocino collectively called The Blue Door Group – Damien is CEO. Andrew is CEO of a San Francisco-based Biotech company dedicated to finding innovative new treatment for AIDS. And I am the proud father and father-in-law. I know someday many other parents will have the same opportunity to experience the wedding of a son or daughter to the person they love.. no matter who that is. I only hope that day comes soon enough for those families to feel what our family has felt.
Plan-B Theatre Company’s Script-In-Hand Series reading of “8″ takes the stage August 4-5. A fundraiser for both Plan-B and the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the event boasts a cast of 20 and a post-show discussion with the playwright, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, and Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts). Tickets and more info available here.