Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Special Friend

I have a special friend that I would like to tell you about. He's special in a way that makes him unique. He is blind. Mark and I met last spring. He is a local d.j. at our "oldies" station. He lives in the next county, so each day their transit company brings him to the county line, and we pick him up there and take him on to work. In the afternoon, we reverse the procedure. It works well for him, and fortunately, it has blessed me with a very good friend.
Mark was born blind. He attended a boarding school for the blind from kindergarten thru his senior year. He is proficient at writing braille, so he writes out his commercial ads and other highlights for his 5 hour daily radio program. He also sings duet with a gal from his town and they do programs all around the community. I attended one of their concerts this summer. Wow! Can Mark ever sing. He sang, "I Can Only Imagine," and I don't think there was a dry eye in the crowd. I couldn't help but think that it is true of Mark. He can only imagine what colors are, what people look like, even his own two boys.
Mark also plays drums in a band. He owns his own recording business, and his voice is heard all over the U.S. on commercial ads he records. He is adept at wiring a 16 station sound board, too, all without sight.
But the thing that has made us friends is his sense of humor and the ability to rise up above his handicap and just be real. He laughs at himself, and isn't afraid to ask for assistance if he needs it, which is rare. He is more self sufficient than a lot of sighted people I know. When I pick him up in the evening to take him home, he is interested in my day, laughs at the antics of my school pupils and is also interested if I caught his show and what I thought of it. He plays favorites of mine on the air, never hesitating to mention his friend, the "bus driver." He's fun to be around, and has taught me a lot. When I feel sorry for myself, I just think of Mark and how he makes it through life, how he handles what God has dealt him. I don't have it so bad.
Life is good. With friends like Mark, it can't be any other way.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fall is in the Air

Today was definitely a day you could just sense Fall in the air. It was in the upper 70's, the sun was shining, and the humidity was low. Since it was the beginning of a 3 day weekend, I decided to go ahead and build the ramp to our porch that Tilly has been needing for a long time. I made a rush trip to a nearby Lowe's last night and purchased everything I would need for the project. I had stewed and fretted about it all week long, since my carpentry skills are not what they once were, but I drew up a plan and IT WORKED! Little Brother agreed to come over and spend the day helping me, which not only made the job easier, it made it more fun. I don't get to spend much time with my son since he works two jobs, so it was great to have him around for most of the day. After much laughing about how out of shape the old man was, and two trips to the local hardware store, we succeeded in finishing up a ramp which will make getting up and down the steps much easier. Tilly made a trial run after it was finished and pronounced it a success!
The worst part about the whole thing was the clean up. I think I had out every tool I owned, whether I needed it or not. So I brought around the wheel barrow and loaded it full for a trip back to the garage and shop. I actually put everything away where it went, for a change, and even hung up my saw horses. Then, I did what every other red-blooded American Senior Citizen does on Saturday afternoon, I went in, changed into some non-sweaty clothes, and took a nap. That was my reward!
Yesterday, I turned in my resignation from driving the transit bus. After 4 years of going to the terminal everyday after school, picking up my schedule, and a bus, and driving for 3 or 4 hours, I am giving it up. I will miss it. I told several of my riders that I was quitting and those I told said that they would miss me. I will also miss the people I work with. My boss is a terrific guy, a good friend, and excellent at his job. Our dispatcher, though not one of my favorite people, is efficient and has an excellent voice for the job. He is computer savvy and has been a real asset to the team. The drivers are all safe, courteous, and understand routes, and the people on them. All in all, we have an excellent team and I am proud to say that I have been a member of that team. But, I will also cherish the time I am going to have to do some of the things that need doing, things I want to do, but haven't had the time for, and also being able to spend more time with Tilly. At my age, one never knows just how much time we have left, so I intend to live each day to the fullest. We also intend to take a trip to Montana when school is out. That will be a real treat for both of us. I think the last trip we took was in 1997.
Onward and upward for the rest of the weekend. Have a great one, everyone.