I've seen her often. She walks with a walker and it looks like each step causes her pain. But she's out there with the basket of her walker full of shopping bags with groceries or stuff from the pharmacy pretty much every afternoon. She has a shiny red walker that she leans on heavily. It seems to be so much a part of her that I can't imagine her without it. I noticed, the first time that I saw it, that the walker had a comfortable looking seat, which I'd never seen her use.
It was a beautiful and crisp fall afternoon. The sky was winter blue and the sun shone high in the sky. Everyone wore sweaters or light jackets and walked with rosy cheeks. Joe and I were chatting easily about just stuff. Thoughts and ideas that crossed our minds were shared effortlessly. It was the kind of day made for a brisk walk. We could just see the top of our apartment building peeking over the tops of the buildings on the other side of the street. I started thinking about hot chocolate. Joe started thinking about an afternoon beer.
Then I saw her.
She was seated on her walker. Her legs were crossed comfortably and she was pulling apart a hot muffin she'd bought from a shop on the street. Steam rose from the muffin and she balanced the muffin on her knee while she pulled apart one of those small tubs of butter. She had a plastic knife in her hand with which she slathered the butter onto the hot muffin. Even from my vantage point coming up the street I could see the butter melt into the hot muffin.
And then ...
She took a delicate bite of the hot muffin. Her whole body reacted to the taste. She leaned against the side of the seat and closed her eyes. It was such a wonderful moment of private sensuousness. It was a moment that gave the lie to the stereotype of life with disability as a life without pleasure, a life without joy. It was a moment that made every step she took from home to shop worthwhile. There was nothing about her, in that moment, that one could pity - indeed it was a moment to envy.
People selectively hear what they want to hear about disability.
People selectively see what they want to see when someone with a disability passes by.
Disability means moving differently, doing differently, managing differently. Yeah, it's all that.
But hot buttered muffins on cool fall days - remember, it's that too.
You paint a nice picture!
Your post today reminded me of this nice post by Amanda Baggs from a while ago, called the Richness of Life
And another nice one by Amanda that I had forgotten but stumbled across while looking for the first, called "Everything We Have Missed?":
Some pleasures of life know no disability. My work with adults affected by d.d. has proven that to me. What a nice visual image to go with that knowledge. Have an outstanding day.
You have my vote and now I think I will go find a hot muffin.
Mmmmm... Muffins... If only I could eat them. Been gluten free now for 6 months and it's helped reduce pain but there are times, like this one, when I do really want a hot muffin or a bacon roll...
Thanks Dave! :)
What we did yesterday... My mum, DD (15, and has down syndrome) and my BFF went for a pedi at the swishest spa in town. DD got the toenails on one foot bright pink, toenails on the other foot bright blue. She luxuriated in the warm lavender neck wrap and the apple cider drink to enjoy in the big cushy chair. I'll take a pedi over a hot buttered muffin if I had to choose, but yesterday we got to have both!
This is why they call me the Fun Mum. But my life wouldn't be the same without DD...nothing 'down' about this girl!
I wonder how many blog readers will be baking muffins today :-)
Great post, Dave
Thank you for taking me into that moment with such clarity that I could smell hot chocolate and cinnamon, see the sunshine and feel the crisp air.
And thank you for the great truth in the story.
Sometimes it's those small things in life that make it worth living and helps us get thru another day.
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