“Mom,” Sean said in a phone call three weeks ago, “Mike White and his dad will be on The Amazing Race next Sunday! Be sure to watch.”
“Mike and Mel White?”
“That’s right, farther and son.”
“I’ll watch every episode.” I said. “I love that show, and I love Mike and Mel, too.”
Coincidence? Synchronicity? Hang on.
I met Mel in the 80’s when he worked on a TV project for Children As The Peacemakers Foundation. Although he lived in LA and I lived in San Francisco, he spent a lot of time in my bailiwick. At that time Mel was in demand as a ghost-writer for evangelical pastors such as Jerry Fallwell. I asked how he could write books expressing such harsh views? Well, he said, I’m religious, too, that’s one reason it’s painful to be getting a divorce. I was drawn to Mel by his quirky sense of humor and his romantic side. And he was romantic. Which is why it was such a shock when at a café one day, Mel said he had something to tell me. “I’m gay,” he said. Well, I nearly fell off my chair. How could I ever have guessed that this man with whom I had been intimate, was gay? I swallowed the lump in my throat, and said something inane, but I was in a daze. Earlier, before the bomb of his news, Mel had suggested that his son Mike would be an asset on my next peace trip. I thought so too and arranged for Mike to accompany me and fourteen other kids, along with a documentary crew from a CBS, on a frigid train trip across the frozen fields of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and, eventually, to Moscow.
I have touching video of eleven-year-old Mike being blessed by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, making friends with a girl in Poland, dancing at a New Years Eve party in a cavernous building in Romania, and speaking out to Moscow’s power elite within Kremlin walls.
Mike is now an accomplished actor, writer, and filmmaker with dozens of credits to his name, such as The School of Rock, Chuck and Buck, The good Girl, and on and on.
The synchronicity? When Sean’s bestselling book Oh The Glory Of It All was published, Mike bought the film rights and is writing the script.
And Mel? Mel and his partner, Gary Nixon, founded Soulforce, a social justice and civil rights organization that resists the religious and political oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people through dialogue and creative forms of nonviolent direct action and is based on the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance as taught and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life is, indeed, an amazing Race.
Causes Pat Montandon Supports
PETA, Women for Women, Amnesty International, Children as the Peacemakers, Peace to The Planet