But you'd be remiss if you stopped there, because there's a whole lot more to them. Here's what I see:
I see my cousin (the one in the front). He is one of three cousins I have who were all born the same year. All guys, all Lindsleys. Bruce, Rocky, myself and Scott. We should've come up with a cool name for the four of us, but we never did. Anyway, this is Scott. He grew up in Charlotte with his mom, but his Dad (my dad's brother) lives in Durham, close to my hometown of Raleigh. So whenever he came up I-85 to see his Dad as a kid, we got to hang out. I have some great memories of Scott. For a while, his Dad lived on a farm of sorts, complete with an actual barn. Rickety wood, hay, random farm tools, hornets nest, the works. We thought that barn was the coolest thing and would play in and around it for hours. Later in our pre-teen years, his Dad owned a bar and would play music there. Scott and my brother and I got to go there late afternoon before things got too bar-ish. We thought getting to do that was almost as cool as playing in the barn.
I see someone whom I lost touch with in early adulthood, as life took us in different directions for a spell. And then this marvelous thing came along called Facebook, and suddenly we were reconnected again. Sometime around four or five years ago, I sent a Facebook message asking if he could help my family score some Panthers tickets. Absolutely, he said, and then invited us to come down an hour early for a big pre-game brunch at his place, which is where we started to reconnect.
I see a realtor - which came in handy back in the summer of 2013, as my family and I prepared to move to Charlotte and needed a place to live. Scott worked his realtor ninja magic in just two house hunting trips. I remember him sitting across from me at the attorney's desk as my wife and I signed all the papers, after which he tossed me the keys with a big smile on his face. And I thought, how cool is this, my cousin is handing me the keys to our new home.
I see someone else in this picture - his name is Joey, and he and Scott have been together for twelve years now. Joey is from Atlanta and found his way to the Queen City, where he met Scott. He cuts hair in a salon that resides in the front right room of their house. I met Joey for the first time at that pre-Panthers game brunch; and from the get-go he felt like the family he was. I see someone who is not bashful about sharing his convictions, and it's one of many things I admire about him.
I see two guys who are huge Panthers fans and go to every home game; who have season Hornets tickets and have graciously shared them with us on occasion. I see owners of a killer house in NoDa, right on 36th Street, the hippest place in town. They turned their backyard, formerly a parking lot, into one of the most amazing testimonies to urban gardening you'll ever see. I see huge animal lovers, providing a home for a number of stray dogs as they volunteer their time for animal rescue organizations. I see two guys with major tattoos who've given me references when I'm ready for my second (not gonna happen). And I see serious cooks, for which I fully acknowledge my envy at the nightly dinner items they proudly post on Instagram (most of which comes right from their garden).
I see two men who my boys adore, as they ask a couple of times a month: Can we go see Scott and Joey? Can we go see Scott and Joey? Back in the summer we stopped in on them at their place, surprised them I'm pretty sure, and they were gracious hosts. My oldest son and Joey talked music for a solid half-hour. Our youngest played with the dogs. They love these guys.
I see two men who've been waiting for over a decade to get married. My wife and I only had to wait long enough to get a ceremony planned. We could've gotten married sooner, or we could've waited longer. The choice was totally ours. But Scott and Joey have been waiting much longer than that, and not because they wanted to. Because they had no choice.
I see two guys who were disappointed but not devastated when Amendment One was adopted. They saw what would soon come; that believed it was nothing more than a temporary setback. They had faith - amazing faith. And they handled it all with tremendous grace, in spite of the harsh political and religious rhetoric tossed their way by people who didn't know them like I did, who only saw two gay guys and not all that I saw.
I see two guys who spent the last three days of this week waiting outside the Mecklenburg Register of Deeds in Uptown Charlotte, because word was that Amendment One would be struck down in North Carolina, as similar overtures had in other states, and they wanted to be there when it happened. For three solid days they waited there - and, in the process, became rock stars of sorts, appearing on every local news network (at least twice) and the front page of the Charlotte Observer. I mean, seriously, every time I checked my Twitter feed or turned the TV on, there they were. Not because they were looking for attention, but because others were looking for something, and there they were.
And then late Friday afternoon, when the news finally came, I saw this:
If so, that's a shame. Because I see so much more. I see two great guys with great lives who are elated that they'll finally get to fully share those lives together. I see Scott and Joey. And the way I see it, that's all any of us should see.
(POSTSCRIPT - I had a gig that same night and made sure to play this song in the set. Seemed fitting. Snagged a recording of it from ye old iPhone. Click HERE if you don't see the player below.)