Some Mormon missionaries just dropped by the house. I was bemused and excited. Mormons! We hardly get them in these parts of Sacramento. Curious to interact with them outside their native habitat of Utah, I opened the door.
"Hello!"I said, chipper as ever. "I assume you're selling religion?"
The two of them stood there and beamed in their pressed white shirts. Their matching backpacks fitted neatly and neither one wore them carelessly slung over one arm. Their pocket protectors and neatly printed name tags identified them right and proper.
The one of the left, a blonde teen who possessed a nostalgic aura of All-Americanism that was up there with apple pie, smiled back. "Well, not selling. It certainly doesn't cost you any money," he said.
"It's totally free," said the one on the right. His skin was tan from so much bicycling in the sun, in a clear bag he had a bunch of nectarines and a few extra copies of The Book of Mormon.
I smirked at the bag of nectarines. Farmer's Market preaching; Joseph Smith, you clever devil.
They nodded and began their spiel before I could really stop them. I decided to give them a chance to get it all out. They must, I assume, get the door slammed in their face plenty so why the hell not show a bit of sympathy?
To be honest, I have respect for missionaires. Being sent somewhere strange and told to march up and down each and every community preaching faith can't be easy. It requires chutzpah and a type of dedication I'm not sure I can say I've fully ever given to many things, let alone God. The closest thing recently was my thesis, though, when I was young, the desire to know everything there was to know about Power Rangers instilled a certain dedication within me. We all have our priorities.
Still, after two or three minutes I decided to stop him. I didn't want the two getting their hopes up. "You know, I'm sorry, but I'm Lutheran and very, happily, gay. I also know the church isn't too keen on that - the Lutheranism or the homosexuality - so I'm gonna have to pass."
"Oh, no, that's totally not true!" said Apple Pie.
I perked up and wondered if suddenly there was a new form of liberal Mormonism spreading across the land. Had I missed this piece of information somehow?
"Oh so?" I asked. Now, mom always raised me to be polite. Dad, however, taught me the joy of pushing the envelope and having a spot of fun at another's expense. Guess which parent's advice I decided to follow this afternoon?
"So, then," I smiled at Apple Pie, "the church is okay with being gay now? And, you know, Lutherans?"
"Yes, the church welcomes everyone," assured Bicycle Tan. "We help people with those problems."
"I'll have to tell all the other Lutherans!" I beamed.
They laughed. By this point I could tell someone had prepped them for every attack, every snide comment, every argument someone might pitch. Their smiles were stalwart and gave away nothing. My little show was nothing new.
No... it wasn't just that. They truly, wholly, honestly believed in what they had to talk to me about.
"Look," I said, "gay people are born gay. That's just how it is. I can speak with authority on this one."
"We know," Apple Pie said and put his hand up and directed a sage, thoughtful nod my way. "It's okay. People are born gay. People are born with all kinds of problems, like alcoholism."
Strangely, at that moment, I really wanted a bottle of Jack Daniels. Two actually. One to drink and another to smash over his head.
"Wow," I stopped and laughed to collect myself. A deep breath and I decided to attack. "Listen, I'm about to punch you in the throat right now, so you probably best be on your way." I waved, "So long! Go fuck yourselves and die in a car crash!"
With that I slammed the door.
As I see it, if God doesn't like gays then he needs to stop making so many of them.
I went and told BF of the incident. We laughed. We gays are used to this holier-than-thou brouhaha.
Still, there was something to thank them for. I had forgotten it was nectarine season. I would need to pick some up. Maybe sauté them in some white wine and spices for a simple summer sweet.
I guess a little bit of door-to-door religion can be good for you after all.
4 large nectarines, pitted and cut into wedges
1/3 cup honey
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup white wine
1/2 vanilla bean, seeded
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods, crushed
dash of ground cinnamon
juice and zest of a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and marinate for 4-6 hours. Place a large saute pan over high heat for a few minutes. Add all the ingredients at once and cook, about 4 minutes, or until the nectarines become softer and the alcohol burns off. Serve.