Sunday, December 16, 2012


Photo description: a long green scarf: not the scarf in the story

A few weeks ago, weather reports predicted that we had a cold few days coming, and I found myself shopping for a new scarf. My old one is serviceable, but somehow I found it lazy about committing to its job of keeping me warm. I found a lovely, and very long, and very wide, green scarf that looked a bit rougher and tougher than my old one, it had nobbles where it looked like warm could be hidden and bobbles where it looked like warm could be generated. The fringe on the bottom was made out of industrial strength tassels that looked too serious to be decorative. And. It was green. I bought it.

I like that scarf.

We were on our way over to the museum, an amazingly kid friendly place, and the kids were excited about going over. We like it as a place to go because when the kids get engaged there, you can hear their brains grow by the questions that fly out. It's fun. There's never any argument when the goal is a building complete with dinosaurs, bugs and bats. It was a particularly cold morning and as soon as we got out the discussion started about who got to ride with me in my power wheelchair. I smiled remembering how it used to be a bit of a fight, but now they know that they will each get a turn and that I am scrupulous in ensuring that each kid gets the same distance. So, no fight.

Sadie wanted to go first, so Ruby informed her that going second was best anyways, and we departed. It was a bit windy and we could all feel the cold, even bundled up as we were. Sadie asked me to stop for a minute and then she reached down and pulled at my long scarf. First up and around one side, then up and around the other side. The scarf is generous with its length and it easily slipped around her, leaving room to spare. Once she had the scarf firmly in place, we were off.

When Ruby rides with me, she talks about everything. When Sadie rides with me she likes to point out various things she sees along the way. She's discovered the power of words to define her world and she loves making the world make sense by pointing and naming. She has such joy with this that one could picture her at the beginning of the world calling out - 'That's a flower.' 'That's a rock.' 'That's a dog.' Sometimes she'd stop and say, 'What's that?' pointing at something wanting to know what it was. I'd get the privilege of gently placing a new word into a forming vocabulary. As someone who likes words, as someone who understands the joy in using words to define a world - this is cool.

So we were sailing along, just before the transfer point from one kid to the other, I noticed that we were being noticed. I'm used to being noticed. But this time, there was a difference. I wasn't being noticed as much as Sadie was. Riding a soft ride, wrapped in miles of scarf, grinning happily as if she was pleased with her purchase at Bubba Wheelchair Motors. I looked to see what they saw - a happy little girl, warm in the cold, loved in the world. Yeah. I'd smile at that too.

At the transfer point Ruby launched up and into place. The scarf, made warm from Sadie's ride was instantly around her shoulders. Ruby begged me to race ahead to get to the ROM first. Everything is a race to that girl. So we took off. She took hold of the scarf and pulled it a little tighter. I pretended that she was strangling me. This struck her as very funny and she screamed out, "Faster or I will strangle you with your scarf," although it was hard for her to get the word out as she was choking on the giggles. I was laughing hard too and she was bouncing a bit on my stomach that's like a 'bowlful of jelly.' As we were approaching the museum there were more and more sets of parents and kids. Now I noticed Ruby being looked at as she had struck gold in the Grandpa Olympics.

I've decided.

I love that scarf.


Tara said...

You know, after the recent events - it was so NICE to read this, almost like being enveloped in that lovely warm scarf - thank you.

Deborah said...

I agree with Tara. Makes my heart smile.

wendy said...

Ruby and Sadie have struck Gold in the Grandpa Olympics, she has indeed!

Anonymous said...

I love that scarf too. I’m glad you have a scarf like that.

Tavey Burgon said...

That sounds like the best medicine for the heart ever made. I love that scarf for the joy and laughter that is now wound into every fibre of it, entwined within the wool.

Colleen said...

Thanks for the warm smile, Dave. They have indeed struck gold in the grandpa olympics!

Andrea S. said...

In my old apartment building where we lived before we moved to where we are now, there was a Dad who used a wheelchair and had two little girls, one a baby born at some point while I was living there. And sometimes I would see him wheeling down the hallway or lobby area with one of the girls in his lap chatting with her and think that the girl must think herself lucky to have a Dad who still has a lap ready for her to sit in even when they're traveling somewhere! But I was always too shy to say it to him!

Liz Miller said...

This made me feel warm and cozy. Thank you so much for this post.

Cynthia F. said...

Such wonderful images, you can really paint pictures with words Dave!

Does Joe ever get to ride on your lap, by the way???

Unknown said...

We read your story in our grade 11 English class, "Mourning has Broken". It was very good. It must be very rewarding knowing classes around the country are being touched by your story. I am from Rocanville Saskatchewan.

Dave Hingsburger said...

PP H ... thanks! It does do my heart good to know that my words are being read and enjoyed. Thanks for taking the time to comment.