“Owww”

Last week I was visiting with my friend Shirley, and she told me about her grandson’s day at school.

Sam has autism and apraxia.  As I know very little about the different aspects of autism, I apologize in advance for any terminology I get wrong here.  Sam doesn’t communicate verbally very much. With apraxia, Sam knows what he wants to say but the brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements so that he can say them.  Thankfully, after quite a wait, he now has a device that he can type in what he wants to share, and it voices it for him.  He can then practice repeating after the voice box on the device.

Shirley says this is a huge help.

So at school one day last week, Sam’s teacher heard him say “ow.”  He said it several times. “Owww.”  She became concerned, so she asked him if he was hurt.  No.  Was anyone else hurt?  No.  She asked him why he kept saying it, and he replied with his device two words.

Michael Jackson.

Wow.

I love this story so much.

Shirley says that Sam is crazy about Michael Jackson.  Being of a certain *ahem* age, I know my Michael Jackson music, and if you do too, you know how much he says “Owww” in his songs.

Bless it.

Thank goodness for music and how it reaches beyond walls that others think might separate us.  I am thankful for teachers who ask questions, and for teachers who share good stories like this one with the families.  I am especially grateful for technology that is opening doors that otherwise never would have been open.  And for little guys who embrace music and know their favorite artists–well, I just love it.  I love his spirit.

I also love that Sam’s teacher took the time to ask questions and to hear his story.  She didn’t ignore him.  She didn’t just assume.  She asked.  And what a surprise that answer was, I bet.  I hope it made her day.  I know it made mine.

May we all be just as willing to sit and listen and not to discount ANYONE.  We all have a story and a smile to share.  We just need someone willing to receive it.

Owww!

Love to all.

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The Birds Don’t Have a Weather App

The past couple of days have been unseasonably warm here in Georgia.  I’m not complaining, mind you, but while I enjoyed the warm air and I think my toes might actually have defrosted, I knew better than to trust it.

Sure enough, yesterday just before dark when Miss Sophie and I ventured out, there was a nip in the air again.

*sigh*

I know we haven’t had the snow to deal with like so many in our nation, but I live here for a reason.  (Well for several, but the pertinent one right now is that I don’t do snow.)

I thought I loved it when I was a child.  I think that had to do with how it caused school to be called off.  Just the threat of it sometimes was all it took.  As an adult though, I do not care for it at all.  Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s cold and slushy and just COLD.

This morning when I took Miss Sophie out for her morning constitutional, I opened the door, and the wind and cold took my breath away.

Do what?

Holding the leash in one hand, I immediately used my other one to open up my phone and look at the weather app.  I wanted to KNOW.  I mean I knew it was cold, but I wanted to know “how cold.”  (Because apparently my nose freezing up immediately and my breath coming out in visible puffs and not being able to feel my fingers wasn’t evidence enough.)

39.  Wind chill 34.

See?  I KNEW it was cold.

As we walked and I urged Miss Sophie to tend to her business a little faster, I listened to the birds singing.  I saw the cat Domino.  They didn’t need an app to know it was cold.  They didn’t have an app to prepare them for this cold weather.  They just existed.  I wondered if they were able to read signs that our people once paid close attention to.  I don’t know of many who can read the old weather signs much anymore.  We depend on the News Reports and the weather apps and there’s even that whole channel dedicated to weather and all that goes with it.

For goodness’ sake, I KNEW it was cold, and I still had to double-check the app.

It amazes me how dependent we as a people (okay ME) have become on electronics and the internet and all of these apps.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I do wonder what would have happened if I tried to pull out my phone and tell my Granny what the weather was going to be next week.  I’m thinking I might have gotten an earful.

The thing is today was cold.  Next week (according to the app) it will be warmer.  But I don’t trust it.  I know March 20 is the first day of spring, but I also know that Easter isn’t until April 5.  Granny always said there’d be an Easter cold snap.  That’s why folks who know don’t plant their gardens until Good Friday, two days before Easter.  And every single year, I’ve watched spring tease us and then step back and let that cold snap come right in and take over for a bit.  Granny was right.

Every single time.  Without an app.

Tonight I’m thankful for the birds and the cat (and all the other critters–except the snakes and spiders, I can only be so charitable) who survive and even thrive despite the cold.  I’m thankful for whatever tips them off that it’s going to be cold so they can do what they need to do to be okay.  I’m thankful for the wisdom of the folks from way back–knowing about things like Easter cold snaps–that they passed along the line.  Most of all, I’m thankful that, even though it’s not quite here, there is a light at the end of the frozen tunnel–and its name is spring.

Love and warm wishes to all.

 

Skype and Indoor Plumbing…..What will be the next big thing?

My cell phone sounded with a tone I don’t remember hearing before.  I pulled it out from under the pillow on the couch where we were all hanging out, watching the latest cooking competition show.

It was a notification.  A Skype message from one of my near and dear who has been in Asia.  She’s headed home.  Finally.  Whoo hoo!

I was trying to ascertain what time she’d be getting on the plane but the difference between her time/my time/Seattle time was confusing us.  Next thing I knew, my phone indicated a call was coming through.  On Skype.  Very cool.  It was she.

Giving thanks for the technology of Skype that lets me hear a voice I miss and know that she's okay

Giving thanks for the technology of Skype that lets me hear a voice I miss and know that she’s okay

“Hey,” I heard her voice.  All the way, thirteen hours ahead of us, she was talking to me from her hotel room. I could hear her zipping her suitcase and the television playing in the background.

“Can you hear me okay?” she asked.

I laughed.  “You won’t believe this,” I told her.  “I can hear you better with you a half a world away than I can when you are in your house a half hour away.”

Unbelievable.  I mean, seriously, I’ve never heard a phone call so clear.  It was like she was in the room with us.

Except of course she wasn’t.  Because if she were here, we probably wouldn’t have paused the show for her.

Just kidding.

After we hung up with promises of talking when all the travelling is over and done, I was thinking about this crazy and amazing world.  We can communicate almost instantly with people who are thousands and thousands of miles away.  Clearly.  Without saying “over” after we finish speaking.  We can text our friends in Germany and overnight packages just about anywhere in this country.  We can share our thoughts, feelings, gripes, triumphs, and goofy photos instantly–with just the touch of a button.

A. MAZ.  ING.

It reminds me of a story of Daddy driving home from somewhere, I can’t recall from where.  My brother, among others, was in the car with him.  This was probably 25 years ago.  Daddy was looking over his glasses (I’m feeling you these days, Daddy) and then back through the lenses, his head moving just so as he changed his view.  Bubba made a comment, something like, “Daddy, what are you doing, looking over your glasses like that?  It don’t seem natural.”

Daddy almost stopped the car.  “Boy, we are travelling through space in a vehicle, all of us together, at 45 miles per hour.  What part of THAT seems natural to you?”

I laughed and laughed.

I get what he was saying.  Things are advancing at such a rapid speed that as soon as you purchase or learn the latest technology, it is on its way to being obsolete.  And we take things that amazed our grandparents and great-grandparents, like riding in a vehicle on the interstate, telephones without party lines, and indoor plumbing, for granted.

Tonight I’m thankful for the technology that let me speak to someone I love and know that she’s okay.  At the same time, I’m thankful that the littles and I are learning about life in the New World, where you mended your socks and pants that had holes, you fixed what was broken, there was no grocery store to run to when you were out of cornmeal, and the evening’s pre-bedtime entertainment was storytelling while knitting by a fire.  It is a good way to remember that what we have hasn’t always been, and it reminds us to appreciate what we do have.

Wonder what the proverbial “they” will come up with next…..