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Hot Enough For Ya?

August 9, 2009

Today was crazy hot and humid. It was  made worse because so far this year, we have not really had any very hot weather. And today, boom. It’s 95F in the shade, with the high humidity, that feels like 112F.

Undeterred, I decided to venture out for a few errands and what not. I picked up a sack of basmati rice at a small family run middle-eastern market. I had to stop to fill the van up with gas, and then I ended up at the mall, just to wander around for a bit.

Some happy things happened today. While at the mall, I wandered into Sears, which I never do, and a golf shirt caught my eye. I looked at the price, $45, but then noted above the rack it said 70% off, I looked around and almost all the racks said the same thing, I quickly found four golf shirts I liked and went looking for dressing room.

Surprisingly, Sears now has a HUGE wheelchair accessible dressing room! I tried all of the shirts on and loved all of them, but one was 100% polyester, and I just don’t do polyester. It doesn’t breathe and feels to me like I’m wearing a pizza bag.

I paid for my three shirts and headed back into the mall. A few seconds later I noticed a man waving at me from a bench. He smiled widely as a I waved back. I don’t know his name, but he is an incredible inspiration to me. It was about a year and a half ago when I first saw him. Clearly a stroke victim. Barely able to walk. His face frozen, clinging to a stand up walker, taking only a few slow rigid steps at a time, his wheelchair a few feet behind him. I remember thinking what an odd place to come for exercise. The mall was busy that day and people were having to walk around him, most completely ignoring him on purpose and averting their eyes. They didn’t want to see his suffering. I didn’t avoid him. Something about his courage made me want to congratulate him. I made sure we had eye contact and I gave him a huge smile and a nod. He could not manage a smile, but I know he saw me, and he was able to give me a slight nod. Since that time, he is always there, I don’t think I have ever been to the mall and not seen him. And he just keeps getting better and better. And every time I make a point of smiling and nodding. At first, way back at the beginning, he almost seemed bothered by it. It was as though he didn’t WANT to be noticed.  But gradually he came to accept my acknowledgement of his existence, and eventually, as he became able, he started smiling.  Today, he was sitting and resting on a bench, but I got a full arm wave, a nod, and big smile. He was the one who got MY attention.  As I said, I don’t know him, but he inspires me.

A little bit further along I heard a woman screaming “Keith!!! KEITH!!!” a slight pause and then because I didn’t react “HEY KEITH!!”  <sigh>  I turned around to face her. I was about 20 feet from her and I mouthed the words “I am not Keith” as I shook my head.  She looked at her daughter and I heard her say “oh that’s not Keith” and then to me “SORRY” (this little episode is only humorous if you’ve been following for some time)

And before heading back home, I went to Ojibway park to wander through the forest. One of my favorite things to do on Sunday. It was so hot that I think most people stayed home today, there were almost no cars in the parking lot. I took my shirt off to make the heat tolerable. I did not see a single human for most of my time there. Just at the very beginning, a woman had her camera and was looking for turtles or birds or anything to photograph. There was nothing, every living creature was probably hiding in the shade somewhere. Except me. I was happily feeling the warmth of the wind and absorbing the heat of the sun.

I love summer.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 7:59 pm

    Oh, hey, remember when.. Wait, I thought this was Keith’s blog. Um, never mind.

  2. August 10, 2009 9:47 am

    I bet that guy is ready for you to come and sit a spell and chat with him. Can he talk? Nice that you gained from him, and I bet you inspire him as well with your zest for life!
    And yes, I remember the Keith story! Funny….
    Happy summer Syl. Me I look forward to fall.

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