Sunday, March 30, 2014

Biloxi Trip Part 2

Marguerite and myself at MacElroy's Restaurant having lunch.

Outside the restaurant, notice the shrimping boats behind me.
Ok it looks like the website is cooperating so I can continue writing about my trip. What made my trip so special was that my friends went out of their way to make things as easy and comfortable as possible for me. Paul made some makeshift ramps to help me get from the garage into the house and from the house to the screened in porch. They even went so far as to give me their master bedroom and bath to make it more comfortable and easier to use the bathroom not to speak of more privacy.

I did something I have not done before while in Biloxi, as you know I like to workout and I was a little concerned about missing an entire week of exercise while on vacation. I went to a regular gym, not a gym for persons with disabilities, but a regular gym,  not only did I go but I wore my short legs there also. You need to understand what an accomplishment this was for me. To go to a gym that is designed specifically for persons with disabilities and wearing short legs is not really a big deal because the other gym patrons have a whole host of problems from MS, paralysis, blindness, etc., however, in this case I was the only person with an obvious disability and then wearing those short legs also. 

I ended up going there three times with Paul and it was nice to be able to use some of the machines not offered at the gym I normally go to in Chicago. Not surprisingly I was able to master most of the machines I wanted to use with a few exceptions. I really enjoyed it. I remember Paul mentioned to me toward the end of my visit that it wasn't so bad going, he  did not notice anyone staring at me, I quickly interjected I did notice people staring although they do it on the sly. I guess you would have to be in my position to understand but nonetheless, I am glad I did it and the people at the desk in the gym were very nice and friendly.

A strange thing happened the last day Paul and I were at the gym, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this 2 part blog post, I had forgotten to bring my handicapped parking placard, that meant we could not park in any of the eight designated handicapped parking spaces. What I did was to stay in one of the handicapped spaces in my wheelchair donning my short legs and wait for Paul to pull the car around to pick me up, no problem right? Bear in mind that there were eight spaces provided for disabled persons, on this particular day as I was waiting for Paul to pick me up, all eight of the spaces were vacant. I am sitting in my chair waiting and a woman pulls up in her car and proceeds to pull into the space where I am. I had to move in order for her to park there, all the while there are seven other vacant spaces where she could have parked! I did notice she had a placard hanging on her rearview mirror, I was dismayed at what she had done.

I mentioned it to Paul and he immediately got out of the car and confronted her asking her why she had forced me to move when there were many other spaces available. She claimed I had moved when I saw her pulling in. Paul said of course he moved he didn't want you to hit him. She said it was just a misunderstanding, but you would expect more from a person who is allegedly disabled herself. After it was over, I told Paul he did not have to do that, he said yes Glenn I did, it needed to be addressed. I thanked him for addressing the situation and he said I would have addressed it regardless, but I was sure glad it wasn't a 6'2" bodybuilder. We both laughed. My point is that people are often just oblivious to what is going on around them, or they just don't care, either way I mention this because I want you, my readers, to be aware and realize things similar to this happen all the time.

On a much lighter note, Paul and Marguerite have this zero radius riding lawn mower that has hand controls and I ended up driving it around their three acre yard, it was a blast. After I figured out how to get on the thing, I was tooling around all over the place. It really gave me a sense of freedom. Actually the entire trip gave me a sense of freedom and accomplishment.

After we were a few days into my visit, Marguerite looked at me and said, "You know what we should do?" I asked, "What?" she replied, "We should make this an annual trip. What do you think?" I responded by telling her I would really like that a lot.

Although there were many more things we did and said to each other on my visit, suffice it to say it was a really fun and relaxing trip and I loved spending time with my dear friends and through it all, I experienced a lot of things that I might otherwise not have experienced. I am truly thankful that although I have suffered through a lot of losses in my life, I also have be blessed with really special friends. Friends I know I can always count on through thick and thin. It doesn't get any better than that.

This is that zero radius riding lawn mower, so much fun to drive.
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