Our ballots came this week, in yellow envelopes. Mom spread the campaign mailings over the kitchen table. “Should we do our ballots?” she suggested. “Do you know anything about this candidate?” Dad asked 14 times. I certainly knew one incumbent senator and one judge I would not be voting for, and told them why. “I like this one,” Mom offered as we filled in our circles with blue ink. “I’ve never voted by committee,” I observed. It felt unorthodox, but not unnatural. Why not talk about the candidates and their positions and records and agree amongst ourselves who we think are the better candidates? Mom took the sealed ballots to Help-U-Mail for delivery—though she likes our mail carrier, she does not trust the mailbox because of how easily mail can be stolen. The calzone dough is rising, waiting to be rolled and filled and crimped for baking on the very hot pizza stone. Pepperoni. Mushrooms. Sauce. This year on Halloween, Dad is sitting by the front door in his power wheelchair, a book in his hands, a bowl of candy on the card table—Mom bought four enormous bags of candy bar minis—waiting hopefully for the doorbell to ring. His first customer was a cheerful young woman with a toddler in one arm and a baby in a car seat in the other. She smiled and said “thank you” and I thought how quickly tired she is going to be, but more importantly how she was out with her children making a fun memory of the national candy-grab. Dad is surprisingly nimble and dexterous with his wheelchair—joy stick precision. Cecelia came this morning, as she does every morning, at 9:30 a.m. Dad awakes in his hospital bed earlier, but his day starts when Cecelia comes at 9:30, to help him up the stairs lifting a gate belt, to help him shower and shave and dry off and dress, to help him come back down the stairs, pulling back on the gate belt, for his breakfast, and to coach him through his daily therapy with colored elastic bands. He talks and talks, about the sports section and his childhood and his aches and pains and the subtle changes in how his body feels and about Mexico and her family and his family, and he tells the old stories, and she listens with “mmm-hmmn”s and knowing nods. Perhaps the best two hours of his day. “Ding dong!” “Trick or treat?!” Dad will have to eat his calzone from his post of vigilance at the front door.
Courage at Twilight: Wheelchair Halloween
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