As I told you last week this is Disability Pride month. A time to celebrate the rich and sometimes horrifying history of disability. I appreciate how far we have come as a society to be more inclusive. Don’t get me wrong we still have miles to go. But because I live in the 21st century instead of the 20th century I have more freedom, independence, and the ability to live my life. On the fourth of July, we celebrate freedom. The day or weekends are filled with stars and stripes, fireworks, family and friends. The day is a gathering to celebrate our independence from British Rule. Before I was born it was unheard of the be disabled and shoot fireworks. That was a task for the able-bodied. Times have changed!
Look what I did!
Video of me holding a Roman Candle as it shoots its firework into the air.
I can see!
I love the Fourth of July especially since I got my new Eyedaptic Glasses. Before I got them I could see probably 10% of what exploded above me, if I held my head just the right way. I could hear the explosion which would make me jump out of my skin, but I loved it anyway. Now with my glasses, I can see the fireworks in all their glory bursting above in different shapes and colors. Now that I can see them the sound no longer both me and I no longer jump with each bursting firework.
Recently I have even gotten to hold a Roman candle and feel what it is like to have the balls of flame shoot out of my hand. It is so cool. I know even a little dangerous but quite normal for young adults that are my age. Mom thought I was crazy to be excited about being covered in ash. I don’t know something about participation in such a celebration is priceless. I love every minute and wish they would never stop. Fireworks don’t get old for me. I will watch a boring baseball game just to watch the fireworks.
Video of the fireworks after a baseball game in Durham NC.
Let's go shopping
One of my favorite things to do at this time of year was a drive to Pennsylvania and go to Phantom Fireworks. This store is loaded with fireworks. It is difficult to move around but I am happy to say I was able to get into the store and look around up and down the aisles. This is a feat that I am sure not too many wheelchair users have done. They also offer a military discount of 50%. That is one way to thank those that serve to protect our freedom.
Don't forget about Lunch
The funny thing is you can buy the fireworks in PA but you can’t shoot them off in PA. They check the driver's license of every buyer, you must be out of state to buy them. Another little tidbit I found out, it's illegal to transport them across state lines. Thank god I wasn’t driving. So obey all the traffic laws if you are buying fireworks, and make your stay a little longer by going to lunch or shopping. We went to lunch.
Who doesn’t love a BBQ? Getting together with friends and family and eating either undercooked or overcooked hamburgers. Some with slightly black edges. Salads of all kinds. This leads me to a warning for all that may attend a BBQ in the future. Just because it looks like macaroni salad does not mean it is the same thing your mom makes. It might contain tuna. If you are a lover of tuna salad you will love it.
Gotta have S'more
I know when my mom or nana makes potato salad the bowl is practically licked clean with very little left over. I noticed though that at some BBQs that is not the case. There is the store-bought that tastes like it's got so much vinegar in it it could be pickled and then there is the attempt to make homemade. Not everyone has that family secret potato salad that you think of as soon as the word is said. Lucky for me I know what great potato salad is supposed to taste like. Mom makes a chicken salad with grapes, it is delicious. She has even gotten creative and frozen a smaller bowl to put inside the big bowl to keep the mayo from spoiling. She is so clever, and let's not forget about dessert!
No matter how you look at it, even with all the drama that invariably comes out at family gatherings, I wouldn’t want any other way. I am lucky that I get to spend time with family and friends instead of being locked away in an institution. I get to experience things that able-bodied people do. I get to celebrate my independence. The next time you celebrate with your family and friends, even if a fight breaks out, enjoy the freedom of being able to get together in the first place.
Thank you for reading until the end!
This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see what I did on vacation and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair.