If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I had a wonderful week of competition with other disabled veterans, in San Antonio, TX. I’d also tell you the driver of the express coach to O’Hare, loaded me aboard the bus, then waved me off when I started to ask how much for the fare. I’d tell you I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and breezed through security, without the usual hassle that I’ve experienced in the past, as a wheelchair user. I would also tell you, that while waiting at the gate, the airline lady came over to me, and told me that a gentleman in first class was offering me his seat, if I would like it. Well . . . yeah! They were giving me drinks throughout the entire flight, as well as a choice of meals to choose from. I had a delicious Asian Salad. I would tell you about my experience, once I reached San Antonio. I made it from the gate to the shuttle buses if a good amount of time, since I had packed light, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop, and my CPAP machine. After waiting a considerable length of time, a shuttle with a wheelchair lift finally arrived, but they weren’t going to take me and had to go in and check that out. He finally decided he could take me. He opened the back door and let the lift down to the pavement. I rolled on and he pushed the button. The front end of the lift started to rise, but the back stubbornly remained on the ground, and the front would go sliding back to the ground. I got off, he tried the lift again, and it still wouldn’t go up – without me even being on it. I was afraid I had broken as my
humongous large chair probably weighs close to 400 pounds, and that’s without me in it. He finally got me aboard and we were off.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did my best throughout the three events I took part in, one each day of competition. I played table tennis first, and I did well in the first round, but not as well as during warm-up. I would tell you that I got pounded to the
pavement floor by a competitor, who it turns out just happens to belong to a national table tennis team. He must practice for hours on end each day. I didn’t think that was a fair go-around, but I gracefully rolled away, and joined my friends on the sidelines, one of whom had my phone, and took some very good pictures. I would tell you that my second event was bocce ball. I made it through the first two rounds, and then lost to the person I had played against, two years earlier, at an exhibition event for bocce ball. I believe I lost to him then, as well. Also, I don’t remember seeing any other women playing, but I could be mistaken. The air rifle event, was really rough on me, physically. The MS has progressed (probably why they call it “progressive”) and I couldn’t hold the rifle still enough to even see the entire target, much less those tiny little dots I was to aim for. They got a stand for the air rifle, and one of the volunteers helped to adjust the sight, so that I could actually see the individual dots I was to aim for. Another volunteer was helping, by putting each pellet in the rifle, and telling me which dot I was to be aiming at for my next shot, and telling me how far off I was with each shot. I did a poor job hitting those targets, and didn’t even stick around to see what my final score was. I would also tell you that the trip home wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first flight. We took off late, arrived late, and I waited about an hour for them to bring my chair to me. I missed my shuttle bus and was screaming scrambling through O’Hare, trying to find the shuttle bus, and when I took the elevator to garage level – twice. When I finally got to the ticket counter, the fare was $27, and I had $25 on me. I ended up giving her the $25 in cash, and putting the remaining $2 on my debit card, as I wasn’t too sure about how much was left in my checking account. The lift on the next bus was broken.
If were having coffee, I would tell you that the beginning of October is kind of bittersweet. My mother passed away, four years ago, on the 1st of October. I would also tell you that the end of the month not only brings Halloween, but a Halloween birthday as well. When I was in elementary school, she would bake her famous ‘chocolate drop cookies’ and bring them to my school, so I could share them with my class. All my teachers wanted the recipe of those cookies. I like birthdays, except these last few years, my age is starting to seem surreal, uncertain at times, and higher than it was a year ago. I would tell you how, throughout the years when I was a kid, my mother would throw a ‘surprise’ birthday party, then we would all pile into the car to go Trick-or-Treating, after it got dark! Imagine that. We had to use a car, because we lived way out in the country in upstate New York, and the nearest neighbors were up to several miles away. I would tell you that I always enjoyed those birthdays, and somewhere deep inside, that child who had wonderful birthdays and Christmas’s, is still buried deep within me, and that part of me, I might never let go of. I would also tell you to have a great week.