By Zachary Moses
Sam Sirko and Lou Smith just got married. Gay married. Something that only a couple of years ago seemed unattainable and likely decades away.
I met Sam and Lou in Key West shortly after I started working at HE Travel. We hit it off as friends, and they joined me on the first tour I ever led for the company. They have joined me on several tours since, including Arizona Biking, Israel Adventure, and Patagonia Adventure, and they will be spending their honeymoon with me in South Africa this November. Needless to say, they become more like best friends than customers, and pictures of these handsome men are found all over our website.
When I got the invitation to attend their wedding reception, I didn’t hesitate to book the plane ticket to Chicago. Sam and Lou have been with me on nearly every wild crazy adventure that I’ve come up with. Willing to fly halfway around the world to spend time with me, so I’d be damned if I was going to miss out on one of their biggest adventures yet!
Since I didn’t have a companion for the wedding reception, I called my nephew Kwesi, who’s currently going to school in Chicago. When Kwesi and I met up, we had to adjust his wardrobe to make him look a little classier. The knucklehead wanted to wear his Air Jordans, for heavens sake. This quickly became a competition to see which of us could dress more flamboyantly for the party. We raided his father’s closet for his clothes and, in the end, I think he beat me on classiness. However, nobody could say my gay cowboy outfit isn’t outlandish.
Once we got to the wedding, Kwesi quickly hit it off with Sam’s niece, and I was suddenly at the reception by myself after all. I wandered around saying hello to people. Most of them unfamiliar to me. I passed out a few business cards, and spent a good amount of time chatting with Sam and Lou and the friends that they introduced me too.
It was touching watching the couple dance together for their first married dance. I loved listening to their toasts. I’ve never seen a reception event for two men before. It triggered the same emotional response in me that I had when watching my sister marry her longtime boyfriend last winter. I was filled with hope, happiness, and longing. I realized that I was witnessing history, an historic event that our children will simply dismiss as an obvious human right.
I turned my attention to the projection that was going on the wall. It depicted a slideshow of all of Sam and Lou’s greatest memories together. The reel was dominated by images of their world travels together, clearly a priority for them both. I was witnessing decades of their adventures around the globe together. I was touched to realize that I had personally taken several of these images. I had been present, and taken part in many of their most memorable moments. I started to cry. I have had the unique privilege of being a part of something special for many people in my short time at HE Travel.
Congratulations Sam and Lou, I am looking forward to being your companion on your most special holiday together. Thank you so much for including me in your most precious memories.
With love and admiration,