BACKING UP INTO FROSTBITE

backing up, reversing, memoriesNo matter how carefully we back up, we still run into a memory.

Or a car.

That’s what happens to me this week. I stop at the parking lot and run into the post office to buy some stamps.

I race back to my car. The thermometer reads 22 degrees, but with the wind chill, the meteorologist reports that it feels like 5.

The cold snap snaps me back to the winter I cross-country skied with my friend’s husband in Minnesota. Continue reading

Love Shenanigans

http://pacman.wikia.com/wiki/Ms._Pac-ManShenanigans – silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief.

One of my blogging buddies told on himself right before Christmas – his wife likes her holiday decorations just a “certain way,” but this year, while she was working late, he put up the Santa Clauses and angels, the holly and trimmings, his way, before she came home.

Expecting a reprimand when she walked through the door, he was greeted instead with relief and a huge hugging thanks.

A successful shenanigan!

I commented on heylookawriterfeller’s blog that his shenanigan was successful because his wife loved him.

He commented back that “Love is all about putting up with shenanigans.”

I replied, “Love IS shenanigans.”

And then immediately I heard angelic harp music in the background of my brain as goose bumps traveled up my spine, and my soul got hit with an ‘aha’ moment. Continue reading

More Than a Wooden Shoe

http://www.oldtools.com/FAshop.htmlI walk the strangely silent town at 7 a.m. The sun is blazing this time of year, when the egrets rise with the golden orb at 5:30 a.m. 

 walk, egret

Most of the humans, however, are still blearily eyeing their cups of caffeine.

 

So I’m almost alone this morning with the seals and the pelicans and the few pedestrians here and there, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the satisfying strain of muscle, but also trying to fling away the worries swarming my brain like a bunch of bees. Continue reading

With a Little Help from My Friends

Fear not the vast emptiness of the universe for

Right beside you, surrounding you with understanding,

Identifying your needs and wants and supplying

Endless support as you laugh and cry, and even when

Nothing seems focused or centered in your world,

Damn if your friends don’t suddenly

Smile, and your world becomes sunshine.

friendship, shorebirds, sun rises

Yesterday

Yesterday, Beatles, handicapped, cerebral palsyMy friend admits he’s “mildly disabled.”

He’s a quadriplegic, born with cerebral palsy, unable to steady his eyes enough to read, his arms and chest strapped into an electric wheelchair to help him sit up.

Did I mention he’s smarter than a Harvard grad, more intuitive than a psychic, as loyal as your best friend, and wears a smile brighter than a 100-watt bulb?

On a recent visit, I sit on his porch, feeling a fall breeze lightly surround us along with the Beatles music playing in the background.

“Yesterday,” C says in a fond tone, and I burst out laughing.

C and I discovered each other when I was hired to be his special ed tutor at the local high school. I was scared to death of teaching such a physically disabled teenager: his speech was affected by his cerebral palsy, so he sounded like a deep Southerner with a dozen marbles in his mouth; he tended to jostle his wheelchair joystick like a teenager’s foot on a snappy roadster (watch out for your ankles, I was warned when I signed on); and his body moved spasmodically if he got too excited or aggravated.Help, Beatles, tutor, high school

Help!

But I had not been told that he could retain information faster than a lightning bolt, and that his hearing put a dog’s to shame.

We’d roll down the high school hallway, passing Room 15 on our way to Room 17 for math. Suddenly C would state: “What a shame that Mrs. Johnson’s husband is in the hospital. At least her daughter is flying home from Ohio to visit.”

I’d stop mid-stride in the empty hallway (watching out for my ankles) and ask, “How do you know that?”

“Oh, back in Room 15 just now, Mrs. Johnson is talking about her troubles to Ms.Wanda.”

Perhaps C was nosy, but he also felt great empathy for those secrets he heard on his hallway forays.

During our three years of working together as tutor/student, we shared a love of Beatles music. So over lunchtime, when I fed him his turkey sandwich and lemonade (did I mention that C is unable to feed himself?) we’d listen to Twist & Shout and Here Comes the Sun while talking about the Red Sox and the weather, Lord of the Flies and why algebra was (not) important.

Here Comes the Sun, Beatles, high school tutor, cerebral palsy

But then during one lunch, C asked me to sing to him. “You know all the words,” he said. “Please please sing Yesterday (our favorite Beatles tune).”

If a 17-year-old brown-haired, brown-eyed earnest teenager pleaded with you to sing a Beatles tune, could you refuse?

I began as C chewed on his turkey and cheese.

Um, did I mention I can’t carry a tune?

In C’s blessed, blasted teenage fashion, he began to chuckle as I sang. I ignored him and continued, “All my troubles seem so far  away…”

C’s chuckles turned to guffaws.

“Now I need a place to hide away, oh I believe, in…”  

I learned that day that one should never make a wheel-chaired, disabled young man laugh while he’s eating. His giggles became burps which became hiccups which became acute stomach distress.

As I raced for the nurse, I could hear C still laughing uproariously in the distance.

He was rushed to the nurse’s station.

His mother was called.

His doctor, too.

But you know what?

He never told anyone that his stomach distress was caused by the horrendous singing of his high school tutor.

We’ve been fast friends ever since.

C is now 28 years old, still “mildly disabled,” and yes, he still asks me to sing Yesterday every time I come to visit.

I won’t even hum the song.

cerebral palsy, tutor, student, high school

My “Yesterday” friend with one of my grandbabies.