The gusts dipped him down and bounced him up
Tiny feet curled tight their desperate hold
Black eyes blinked then held their stare
Feathers fluffed like a warm down coat
I saw the little sparrow bird today
His beak opened once in protest but,
only silence came forth so he buckled down
closer to the limb and called on his strength
Then the Sun came running out and warmed his wings
He shook like a big wet dog
Then pushed hard against the little branch
that once sustained his fearful heart
Springing into a world of possibilities
The cold and rain forgotten
A survivor brave and bold
This little sparrow bird I saw today…..
When I grow old I shall wear golden clips
in my silver hair and soft blue comfort clothes.
I will spend my social security checks on good books,
junk food, and special feed for my beloved animals.
I will sit in the evenings in my living room and
watch crazy people on TV and listen
to my Dogs snore.
I will rise before dawn when everything’s asleep
and take my strong coffee and my dogs outside to
watch the birds and squirrels wake up.
I will wear my rainbow colored socks and my
soft old house shoes as I feed them all
until their bellies hang.
When people come to visit I will smile and nod as
I show them my special friends that await my
first movement every morning with eyes full of love.
I know I am getting older but I am not afraid for
they will love me and keep me smiling.
They are a part of me and they understand
what words can not say
They ask for nothing in return except
love and food
They appreciate my presence in their lives
When I am old they will be pearls
upon my neck
The old man walked slowly and softly. Limp hands hung motionless beside the large pockets of his coat. They had no intention now. No need to clutch them in response to stress, no need to jingle keys from anxiety, no need to swing them to a fast paced rhythm. There was a leisurely pulse to his song, interrupted often by an attempt to balance. No urgency now. Stress lines in his crinkled face have been replaced by deep lines of consignment.
He has finally lived long enough to know his wisdom, only no one can see it beyond the wrinkle of his skin, no one hears it between the spaces of his memory, no one feels it beyond the shaking of his hands.
I see him and I know.
But for the grace of God, go we all.
Have a relationship with a rich man
But don’t stay until you get hard
Have a relationship with a poor man
But don’t stay until you are soft
Don’t misunderstand love as weakness
Don’t misunderstand weakness as love
Honor your dreams regardless of
What people say
Don’t crush another’s dreams for
The sake of reality
Never take hope away from another
It may be all they have
Never hope more than you are
Willing to work
Remember the Cheetah that lives in your heart
But know that it is there only to save you
Remember the Dove that lives in your Soul
But know it will not protect you
Ever notice how subtle change is sometimes? You know, like a new building appears where you were sure there was a field yesterday? That’s how I felt when I started researching this article about access to people with disabilities in our community. I found many things I had forgotten weren’t always there and now I see more and more access every day. Almost all the large department stores have electric carts. Even five years ago this was very rare. A few stores had one, now the average is four. Accessible bathrooms are being remodeled to include an accessible stall, lower sink and dispensers and larger turn around areas for wheel chairs. Automatic doors are becoming more common as are entrances with no steps. All of our city buses are equipped with lifts. If you don’t live close enough to a bus stop, and you qualify, Access Express will pick you up at your door. OATS provides vans with lifts outside the city limits. Everyone benefits, people with disabilities, people with baby strollers, and seniors with canes or walkers.
The community is finally realizing that the more they respond to the customers need, the more money they make. It has started a mind set in entrepreneurs to offer more and more convenience. For instance, pizza isn’t the only thing you can get delivered to your door. A growing number of grocers will take your order over the phone and deliver it to you. Many pharmacies are doing the same. There are even people who will holiday shop for you or run errands for a fee. Homes can be built already accessible now so it will be ready as you grow older when remodeling is usually too expensive on a fixed income.
There are approximately 54 million people with disabilities in the United States and now communities are watching this sleeping giant wake up and demand equality. Slowly but surely, it is being granted. The Americans With Disability Act is a great liberating piece of legislation but it sits silent until you give it a voice. Success has happened because of people’s perseverance and determination to set things right. Freedom is the responsibility of all people who enjoy it. We must be ever diligent, ever watchful. When you observe no access, grocery carts parked in a disabled parking space, electric carts broken or not even available, bathrooms inaccessible, entrance doors too heavy to open; speak up, write a letter, make your requests be known. You can call Southwest Center for Independent Living (886-1188) and we will assist you in pursuing it. But, your voice is the most important. You are the customer and all of us have a right to all the services our community offers. Do it for yourself, do it for you grandparents, your grandchildren, do it for freedom.
I have worked for a disability organization serving all disabilities for over 26 years. So many success stories through empowerment and knowledge but just as many failures because of the medical fields incessant need to stop the complaining and whining by over medicating. People come in ready to charge ahead and get their life back on track after a sudden disability or progressive illness diagnosis only to succumb to a zombie life after some minor ailment that the doctor prescribed drugs such as morphine or OxyContin. The next month they come in and you can hardly recognize them with their slurred speech and apathy attitude. They show you the additional six or seven pills they now needs treat the side effects. They don’t complain though because it feels so good. They start to look just like the people in nursing homes which is where their destination will be within a year when they can no longer make logical decisions and finally get hot lined by some “do gooder” case worker keeping them safe.
What was needed was intervention and a holistic approach. What you see before you is not always medical but the result of it.