Monday, November 23, 2009


I've always been unhappy with my shoulders. An odd admission, I'm sure. We all like or dislike various parts of our physical being, I like my eyes, I don't like my shoulders - let's just leave the rest out of it for now. When I was a little boy my grandmother, the one that was the more (um) critical, said, 'Awful narrow shoulders for a boy.' And it's true. It would be way more proportionate for a body as big as mine to hang from big manly shoulders. Instead I've got these wee little bumps only a few inches from my neck. Oh, well.

I thought that maybe being in a wheelchair and pushing myself around I might develop shoulders of steel. And maybe I have but they would be buried under mounds of baby fat. So I make my way through the world with shoulders more suited to Mickey rather than Mighty Mouse. Big deal. In fact, I've come to seldom think about my shoulders and wouldn't have except something happened today.

We were checking out of the hotel in Edinburgh and as is our pattern, after breakfast I stopped in the lobby to read as Joe went up to finish packing and then call for the porter to come and help with the bags. This way I'm not in the way, this is good planning because I tend to be in the way. We came upon this practice because one day when Joe was packing to get ready to leave like he always does I gave him a bit of (um) supervision. To which he responded that I'd probably be happier waiting in the lobby reading so I wouldn't be distressed with which bag he put which shirt in. OK, be touchy.

So I was reading my book, completely lost to the world when I heard a startled cry. I looked up to see the elderly man (from yesterday's blog) take a stumble just a little behind and to the side of me. He took a step and wavered another step and it was clear he was going to fall. He reached out for the closest thing and grabbed hard onto my shoulder. There was strength in that old hand. You knew that it, as part of a pair, had worked hard, made a living, raised a family. I braced my back to take his weight, he held on, steadied, held on a little more to be sure, then let go.

He looked embarrassed, I asked him if he was OK as a means of starting conversation and letting him know, by my tone of voice, that all was OK with me. 'I'm not far off a wheelchair,' he said, 'but I've been putting it off.' I smiled and said, 'It's not as bad as you might fear,' He smiled and said, 'Well, I'll face that when I need too, as long as there are strong shoulders around, I won't fear falling.'

I've decided, that for today, I like my shoulders. They may not be broad, they may not be manly or muscular, but they are - as he said - strong.


theknapper said...

ahh Dave what a wonderful gift he gave you to see your strong shoulders! They've certainly been leaned on by alot of included.

Kristin said...

Once again Dave, a truly beautiful story.

Susan said...

I coulda told you that!

Glenda Watson Hyatt said...

Size doesn't matter...its what's inside that counts! ;)

Lisa said...

You are fabulous!