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Their families hadn’t wanted to pay for private schools, my mother explained.

She and I were alone a lot after that, since Dad worked in publishing and was away at the office all day. When Dad made his nightly entrance, we were complete.

The humor was adult, usually political, and therefore, miles over my head, but the sound of it thrilled me.

Laughter, I understood from an early age, was courage in the face of pain, hope in hard times: the ultimate measure of survival.

The following was originally published in The Defenders Online as part of the Father’s Day Edition in 2010.

When my father laughed, he’d show his wide, white teeth, wrinkle his broad nose and let loose.

I remember the sound of it, rich and soulful, with music in the background: Motown and jazz that he’d play when my parents threw parties.

I remember the colors of those big nineteen-seventies bashes: bold red and turquoise plaids leaping from scratchy synthetics; paisleys in dizzying shades of orange, pink and purple.

For that reason, I am placing it below as a regular post.

As in: Well, yes we do have issues, just as every other group or combination of groups has issues. I believe that if one couple’s inter-sex marriage is undermined by another couple’s same-sex marriage, then the first marriage wasn’t particularly strong to begin with.

We are also teachers, doctors, lawyers, dancers, writers, husbands, wives, same-sex partners, parents … Same-sex marriages don’t undermine marriage any more than same-race marriages do.

Any time my parents laughed together—which was often—I felt safe and warm; things were good and would stay that way.

My parents’ parties were loud and boisterous, but always wrapped up at a reasonable hour.

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