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  • As a kid I was always disappointed that I didn't get to experience the excitement of the 1960's.

    But Steve was always willing to fill me in without the disappointed perspective that my parents always framed the decade in.

    Steve was cool, I knew him from talking about the Beatles after church. He wore round glasses that looked just like John Lennon's. Studied history in college and taught at a community college. Middle aged guy with silver hair. Never married. That was the thing about Steve, he really wanted to be married, but couldn't find anyone.

    Steve's favorite topics: TV shows, nerdy movies, history, trips he took to Germany and the British Isles, progressive politics and how lonely he was. Most adults who went to our church for the night services were interested in the similar topics, so you'd think he'd would have met someone there. But no, aside from my mother, who was married all the women at our church were lesbians. Milwaukee in the 90's was the lesbian capitol of the world, it still may be, I don't know.

    Steve really needed a woman. His voice was slow and mournful. I would make him laugh by saying something sophomoric, kiddish, but soon after he would return to the sorry woeful dejected hopeless aging unloved sack he was convinced he would be doomed to be for the rest of his life.

    He had a lot of standards. He said that he wanted a wife to be a peace activist who liked to travel and was a devout Catholic, near his age, fun and interested in history, pop culture, and him.

    Milwaukee's a big city, but that's a tall order. Especially when you're middle aged.

    I am certain that I was not the only one who put the word "poor" before Steve when thinking about him. I think my Mom must have. I remember him asking my Mom if she had any single friends.

    Eventually Steve gave up and threw himself into his work and Wisconsin politics. He registered the most Democrat voters in the city for the '04 presidential election. Bush snuck back in anyways and continued sending troops to the Middle East.

    And Steve continued to stand at the intersection of Layton and Howell every weekend in protest as he had ever since troops were sent to Afghanistan.

    Sometimes he was the only one out there, especially as the years wore on and the war became normal.

    Every so often when the president was committing something extra stupid the population would get enflamed and a larger protest would be organized. One of these happened in 2007 and Laura showed up.

    Laura was in her thirties and taught 4th grade at her church's grade school, a Catholic grade school. Peacemaking was something she was already dedicated to volunteering for in her community and started coming every week to the rally. Laura was an immediately likable person, a gymnast who bounces and claps with joy as you talk to her. Just the sort of person sad Steve was attracted to, but he didn't want to ask her out because of the twenty-year difference between them.

    Until, one day Steve found out that Laura is actually 53, a year older than he.

    They got married yesterday after both had spent half a century of being single. Before the church service their guests were asked to join them in a stand at the intersection of Howell and Layton against the war.

    When the war began a decade ago very few cars honked in support, I was there for a first months of the war. Many gave me, a sixteen year-old-smiley-kid the finger or the screeching black marks of rubber tires against the road. But it wasn't that way yesterday. Yesterday everyone standing for peace was well dressed, smiling and holding handmade signs. Seeing the crowd gathered most of the cars passing cars honked in support.

    Even my Dad who supports our overblown military and the conservative side, and was not invited to the wedding (nothing personal, Steve just knows me and my Mom much better and there was limited space for the reception) showed up to the stand just to take this picture.
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