And I've been working like a dog - with a dog - and getting by with a little help from my friends.
I usually spend July 4th at home because my neighbors put on a fireworks show that rivals most public displays. This year I got to do something even more special. I got to spend the day with my friend Beth, who also has Cerebral Palsy and writes In Case of Fire Use Stairs. Beth is engaged to a really, really wonderful man who has been studying abroad and is about to come back to the Nashville permanently. In anticipation of his arrival she needed a hand sorting a few things out and I was only too happy to help. I enjoy Beth's company and the fact that she and I are true peers. In many ways she and I are on the same path; just at different points along the journey. We have a lot in common and, although she is roughly half my age, we are both avid Beatle-maniacs.
Which is why we decided to get together on the 4th of July. The Belcourt theater - a jewel of a place and a downtown institution - was showing the 50th anniversary restored in 4k with 5.1 audio edition of A Hard Day's Night. How could we resist spending our evening there?
But first, a stroll through the Village. The boutiques were all closed for the holiday but it was fun to window shop. I will return when they're open. Instead of the standard red, white and blue I opted for a black and white sequined tank from Express, my Kensie skinny jeans, and white jacket. Who says being patriotic can't be chic?
As soon as the movie ended the curtain rose and we were treated to a full set of early Beatles songs by a group calling themselves An Early Clue to a New Direction. They normally refer to themselves as the Long Players and they are some of the best musicians in Nashville - or anyplace else, for that matter. It was definitely an evening to remember.
On a more serious note, I was honored to be asked by Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, a free, statewide, information and referral service for persons with disabilities, family members, service providers, and advocates, to talk about the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act as this important piece of legislation approaches it's 25th anniversary. Here's what I had to say:
"It is my hope that the momentum started by the ADA continues in the form of more
inclusion on multiple levels. One of the most insidious barriers to physical access is
that of businesses and venues that enjoy the exemption of Historical Preservation.
Rather than make a few architectural modifications that would grant equal access
they resist any changes that may 'threaten to destroy the historic significance of a feature of the building'. The preservation of history at the expense of handicapped accessibility is a discriminatory practice that should not be allowed to stand. In my view it's more important to make positive social progress than it is to uphold a past
that is exclusionary and unyielding to the social equality the disabled are attempting to secure for themselves and their future peers."
Last, but certainly not least, Clint and I have decided to foster Rhoda while she undergoes treatment for her heartworm and tick-borne diseases. All eight of her puppies are gorgeous, fat, healthy little rascals waiting for someone to give them their forever home. We are still raising money to cover the vet bills, which are mounting as we speak. Please consider going without your latte or brown bagging your lunch for a day or two and kicking in a few dollars at #SaveRhoda's GiveForward page. If you'd like to adopt one of her puppies you can write to Robyn's Nest to request an application.
At 70+ pounds Rhoda is a big dog for someone like me to try and manage, but she's worth the effort. She wants to cuddle with me all the time, and I'm happy to oblige because we need to keep her calm until she finishes her treatment. We're teaching her what is and isn't acceptable behavior as well. This is my little couch, not her dog bed, but she climbed up to exactly where I had been sitting and passed out. I allowed it, just this once. She has over 100 days of treatments ahead of her. We'll get her through it.