Church Street is the epicentre of the Pride activities. Though the parade is today, yesterday was a massive street fair. We started and the north end and headed south, somewhere in there we stopped for lunch, for ice cream, to buy toys that, on the pull of a trigger, sent bubbles flying everywhere. Ruby and Sadie were having a terrific time. Sadie got up on stage at one point and danced her feet off - winning a wonderful prize for her efforts. Ruby threw the perfect ball and sent a man deep into the dunk tank.
The streets were packed and yet everyone was in a deep mood of graciousness. When I needed space to get by, people just made it happen. I encountered nothing but well wishes and people who treated me as if I was a welcome part of the throng. I spoke with another disabled person, a woman also in a wheelchair, and she said the same, "It's like I'm suddenly visible and pathways simply open up." It was, indeed, and unusual experience for wheelchair users in crowded spaces.
After the girls got their 'bubble guns' they had a wonderful time spraying bubbles that soared into the air, all of them making iridescent rainbows in the bright sunlight. I noticed a fellow, a tall man, slowly making his way up the street. When he got near us Ruby ran over towards him and sprayed bubbles everywhere. The wind carried the bubbles up and over him. I saw a slow smile form on his face. I said to him, "You've just received a bubble blessing!"
Those words hit him. Hard. He stopped, looked at me, eyes moistening. "I haven't been blessed for a very long time. Thank you and thank the little girl too." I said, quietly, that I would thank Ruby. It seemed right that he know her name.
I felt a deep sadness for a few moments afterward, that sadness was replaced with a deep sense of gratitude. Spending the day with Joe and with Mike and Marissa and Ruby and Sadie as we simply enjoyed the day was one of the many blessings in my life. One of the many, many blessings.
Today is our 45th anniversary, Joe's and mine, and we are going to spend it with our 'little family' and we'll march in the parade with my work family and we'll exhaust ourselves laughing and sharing moments together. Today I will remember how incredibly blessed I am. Today I will remember that 45 years ago I met a man who, together with me, craft a life of purpose and meaning and fun. 45 years ago we began our life together, as a couple, holding on to each other tightly, in a hostile world.
Just before we stepped out of the heat and into the cool of a restaurant to get something to drink, Ruby and Sadie ran round us shooting bubbles into the air, their laughter at giving us a 'bubble shower' echoed in the air above us. I looked up and through the bubbles and the rainbows on their surface I saw Joe laughing. And I knew that I had again, as I have been constantly, blessed.