Call Me Barbara

These two…


Go in public with them and all identity is lost. The handsome man in the power wheelchair with all the bells and whistles is eye catching. He’s eye catching when not in the chair, put him in the chair and there you go the attention increases ten fold. I picked a good one all those years ago – easy on the eyes, and easy to spend life with.

That chair though, now that’s a piece of work. The chair has a headrest. The place for the legs is adjustable from a right angle to a horizontal to the floor position and anywhere in between. He usually has it in a slight angle position. The seat goes up, high, like high enough to make eye contact at the deli counter. The chair can go fast, up to seven miles an hour. I usually wear sneakers when we go out so I can keep up.

And then Maddie. Even on her own, no man in a wheelchair to accompany, she is an attention getter. Classic, English block head Labrador retriever. Someone once said looks like she has eyeliner on, Cleopatra like eyes. Beautiful way to describe her. Her heart and soul are supreme to her looks, imagine that!

Roll into the grocery store in front of these two and the world looks behind you to them. It’s fun to see. Seeing her makes people smile. She doesn’t see them, not really, she’s busy working, taking care of Tom. Tom is busy navigating the world around him with his chair and his Maddie. He has no idea how many people are captivated by them, mostly by Maddie, but him too.

Some of the places we frequent as a unit we get to know some of the people who work there. We make all the necessary introductions, names exchanged, and all that good stuff. Later, if I go by myself to one of these places the people we spent time chatting with do not usually remember me. I get it. I kind of like it. I can get what I need real quick. Except for this one lady even when I am alone she recognizes me and calls me by name. She’s proud of that, that she remembers my name. With a big, welcoming smile says “Hi Barbara, how is Tom and Maddie today?” It doesn’t matter how often I’ve said Mary, Mary is my name, still,  she calls me Barbara time and again. I’ll wear my sneakers next time, that’ll jar her memory.

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