Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting a Handle on Freedom

It was fancy even though it was out of place. But then several things were out of place. I was sitting on the bus on the way to work and we had pulled up to a house and parked. Being several minutes early, the driver went to knock on the door to let the passenger know that we were there and waiting. He climbed four stairs and opened a door. Inside the door was a fold up wheelchair much like the one I was in.

I scanned the area to see if there was a ramp anywhere, there was none. In doing so I noticed this fancy drawer style handle, full of curlicues and filigrees, attached sideways to the space between the two doors. An odd place for a handle but it very much added to the look of the house.

The driver came back to inform me that the woman's attendant wasn't there yet but should be shortly. I wasn't in a hurry but the door was open while we waited and it was cold. I could have asked for him to close the door but I don't like to be a bother. So I sat, cold. A few minutes later he said, 'This is cold and closed the door.' I'll never learn.

Anyways, the attendant arrives, a woman nearly fifty and just a wee bit plump. She climbed the stairs and seconds later another woman of about the same age opened the door. She clearly had experienced a stroke and she stood, tottering, on the sill of the step down to the porch. She slung her cane over her arm as she reached for the handle. Having a good grip on it she swung her leg down, planted it firmly and then stepped down with the other.

Her attendant swung the chair out and got it down the steps. She then came down the stairs slowly and carefully. Seconds later they were on the bus busily gossiping about friends, relatives and neighbours. I smiled at them and they both greeted me warmly. I was quickly included in the conversation about the beautiful street and life in the neighbourhood.

I said, at a break in the conversation, 'That's a beautiful handle you have outside your door.'

She grinned at me and said, 'I figured that it represented a bit of freedom for me, so I decided to get something beautiful.'

Then she was back into her conversation with her friend. It was nice to just sit beside her and listen to her talk about her life.

Freedom fighters, that's what we are.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.


Heidi said...

I love it - what a whack on the side of the head at 6.20 a.m.- I want beautiful handles for all the young people I work for - in their schools, in their rooms - links with the metalwork course might be good...might even get some freeebies...what an obvious idea, so why I haven't I thought of it before? Thank you aesthetic lady, and thank you Dave for passing it on!

M.C. Mobility said...

Love it. Little things that remind us what really matters.

Kristin said...

What a great outlook on things!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I have been asked to speak at my student's funeral Tuesday. Yes, my precious student died this week. I am going to bring the key to his locker because for him, that represented a form of freedom. Freedom from his disability. He could unlock his lock, open the locker door, close the locker and relock the door. Independently. Just like all the other middle schoolers. Ah. freedom. As a believer, my little guy is now really FREE from his disability and I will never look at a door handle or a locker key the same again.