Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Parade

I'd seen them weeks before, and remembered them, suddenly, while going past. They had been out on display when we'd first seen them, but the store had just opened and nothing had yet been moved out into the street. The entrance was flat so, even though I saw that the interior of the store was stuffed with every imaginable thing, I headed in. When I'd first seen the flowers they were in a big box and there were dozens and dozens of them, now there was only four or five stalks. I couldn't get down to where they were, so Joe went down and picked out three different stalks. He brought them to me with a look of concern on his face.

"How are we going to get these home?"

"I'll carry them," I said cheerfully.

"But we've got lots to do before we get home."

"Yeah, that's cool, I'll carry them, not to worry."

"But ..." and I saw real concern on Joe's face.

"Listen, Joe," I said, "I know that people will stare at me carrying these, but they will stare at me anyway, might as well give them a reason to look."

So we bought the flowers. As you can see in the picture, they aren't real flowers at all. What they are are long stalks of brown wrapped wire with fabric flowers attached to them. There are red and pink and purple and white flowers. Together they made an impressive, and very tall, group. The stalks are between four and five feet tall.

After leaving the store, I carried them defiantly into the street. I looked like a float. I was a one man parade. A disabled laddie liberty. I wanted them because when I first saw them, I thought they'd look good in our other bedroom. The one the girls use when they come to stay. I thought it would pretty up the room. The flowers managed to have both girls favourite colours mixed in, so they'd know that we had thought of both their preferences in picking the stalks out. And, of course, I liked them.

Now they are up and in place. They have a story of their own to tell, of the trip they made, from the store, where they languished waiting for a home, to the pride of place in the bedroom. And I have my story too.

A story of buying something that I knew was going to either increase or intensify the notice I got while travelling up and down the street, into coffee shops and out of stores. We did everything that we needed to do, me carrying these tall flowers along with me. I felt good when I got home.

I imagine that the girls will love this addition to what they see as their room. They haven't seen them yet but they will today, and I can't wait for their reaction. I wanted the flowers because I wanted to do something to surprise and delight two little kids that I adore. And that fact gave me all the courage I needed.

"Stare at me all you will," I thought as I left the store and we headed on our way, "I won't be cowed by your notice, your stare or your curiosity. I LIVE here, this is MY community, and I will BE here and DO here what ever I so CHOOSE."

I did get stared at more that I would have otherwise. The flowers, bright in the sun, tall in the shade, were excited to be liberated from a dusty cardboard box at the back of a store, so they called out - "Look, look, look, aren't we beautiful."

And I rode beneath them, hearing their confident shouts. And in my heart, I joined them. "Look, look, and see ... aren't we beautiful."


Anonymous said...

Ahhh; the look of love ;-)


Anonymous said...

I hope a lot of the people who looked smiled - flowers should have that effect.

n. said...


Glee said...

Aaaahhh Dave I am grinning like a Cheshire cat :)

A stranger helped me to recognise and later I realised that feeling. I was sitting next to a man with Cerebral Palsy at a Physical Disability Australia conference dinner in a flash hotel. He ate his meal to the best of his ability and spread food for about 6 inches all around his plate on the white table cloth. He enjoyed his meal and we talked and enjoyed ourselves.

I was brought up to never never make a mess at the table and at first I was amazed at how he didn’t seem to worry about the “mess” he was making.

As the meal went I on realised what I was seeing. I was seeing a man who was freed of worrying about the “norm”. A man with a significant impairment who was getting on with his life and enjoying it. It was a momentous experience in my life. I can’t remember his name but I think of him often and thank him for his education.

Since my shoulders were broken I often cannot get the fork up to my mouth. And when that happened I had no compunction or worry about getting my mouth down to the fork. And as you said Dave, which made me laugh out loud, they are gonna look at me anyway so give something extra to look at. And I often think that whatever I do will not exceed their expectations of crippledness so I can go for broke bahahahaha

Kris S. said...


Anonymous said...

you sure are. (beautiful). xxx

CapriUni said...

A thought came to me out of the blue, yesterday afternoon (maybe it was around the time you were parading down the street), that the phrase "Stand up for yourself" is ableist, because it implies that only those who can stand can fight for their own rights...

BUT: the original idea behind that phrase is not ableist at all, namely: "If you believe in something, be brave enough to make a spectacle of yourself," (as standing up when everyone else kneels before authority would do).

So, yesterday, I decided that I would say "make a show of yourself" from now on, instead of "stand up for yourself."

I'm glad you got a chance to make a beautiful show...

Anonymous said...

This is a great story except for the end. You aren't beautiful. You are fat. Maybe if you admitted that you might be motivated to lose some weight. I saw you lecture once and you are very talented but I was too distracted by your weight to learn anything.

Anonymous said...

Dave doesn't need me to defend him - he is able and competent to do so if he chooses. The fact that he let your comment through speaks to his maturity and confidence in being "beautiful" - complete, whole, caring, loving - yes - beautiful.

There's physical beauty and inner beauty. Perhaps you have been blessed with one - yet you are lacking the other.

It makes one wonder why you think your measuring stick is the one we should measure everyone with.

Hmmm... if Dave is talented in delivering his lecture, and YOU were distracted - who has the problem?

I was distracted from the beauty of this blog by the ugliness of your comment.

Kristine said...

Disappointed that Anonymous felt the need to bring something ugly into a beautiful story from a beautiful person.

Interested that you chose to allow the comment, since you moderate comments for any that "personally attack or bully."

I'm mentally categorizing this story with the yellow shirt tales. I love the "See me!" attitude. It makes me happy. :)

The flowers are also beautiful. I'm sure the girls love them. :)

Annette said...

The girls will love them. I bet they would have loved to carry them with you also

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed to see Anonymous' comment.

Do you really think Dave doesn't already know? Do you really think that ANY fat person doesn't already have many other people pointing out this fact repeatedly? As if our own observational skills aren't enough? I am guessing you have not yet read much of his blog or else you would be well aware that this is something Dave is already very much conscious of and is told on a very regular basis.

Do you really assume that weight loss is the only priority any fat person can ever possibly have? That there are never, ever other priorities that may need to sometimes take precedence, such as taking care of our psychological health or other issues (related or otherwise)?

Newsflash: a thin person who does not exercise or choose a nutrient-dense selection of foods can end up less healthy than a fat person who chooses healthy foods rich in minerals and anti-oxidants (eg, vegetables, beans, whole grains, etc.) and exercises regularly. So weight loss is not necessarily the most important priority for any person even from a purely physical health perspective. And, yes, it is possible to exercise regularly and choose foods well and still be overweight--this is an issue for many people. You cannot assume a person's eating or exercise habits from weight alone.

Do you really think that weight loss is only and solely an issue of motivation, effort and will power alone? Do you really think that telling random strangers on the Internet that they ought to lose weight is in any way helpful? Or kind? Or anything other than "concern trolling"? (you may google the term if not familiar)

If Dave ever decides to take steps to change his weight ... or if he decides not to do so ever ... either way that's HIS choice to make because it's HIS body he needs to live with. I support him either way, as long as he is making a choice that makes HIM happy and comfortable and feels right to HIM.

Is a person's visible appearance really so important to you that you allow it to distract you from what you admit was a lecture delivered with talent? If so, I am sad--for you.

Andrea S.

Princeton Posse said...

Ditto Andrea S.

Shan said...

FREAKIN' AWESOME FLOWERS MAN!! I love this whole thing!

krlr said...

Loved this. Look! Look and see!
I have not been in a people friendly place lately but, yes, we are all beautiful.