extra ordinary day

It was an ordinary weekend day. Michael and I sat across from each other in a booth near the shop's windows, a glazed blueberry donut and a Boston cream stuck to thin squares of paper on a tray just out of Calvin’s reach. In the next booth a father sat with his three towheads. The two littlest ones peered unabashedly over the back of the booth at Calvin who was banging the table, flailing his arms, cooing and cawing while I tried to feed him his breakfast. I leaned across to Michael and quietly expressed my dismay that some parents don’t tell their kids not to stare. “Difference attracts attention ... and attention isn't such a bad thing,” he replied. He explained how attention, such as staring, is perhaps not altogether bad, because it can lead to understanding and acceptance. He went on to hypothesize that, if people see difference and study it closely, they can learn that, like Temple Grandin says, difference is just that—different, not less. But I wondered if trying to grasp the meaning or understand the life of a disabled person by staring might be different from ogling a person with, for example, a severe disfigurement. After all, Calvin is a beautiful child despite his antics. In any case, the gaping eyes of a child are to me forgivable, and in some ways appreciated for their innocence, their wide-eyed curiosity and thirst for understanding, while those of adults often make me cringe.

When our little native became restless, we extracted him from the high chair, gathered our things, headed out the door and down the block holding both of his hands so he couldn’t veer off into the cars parked along the street, which he desperately wanted to bang. While focusing on Calvin, so as to keep him upright and moving forward, out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed two approaching baby boomers wearing matching t-shirts and caps. As they strolled past they chirped, “Good morning!” Their enthusiastic greeting surprised me until Michael explained that he’d seen them eyeballing Calvin, with smiles on their faces, as they walked the entire way down the block toward us.

We slipped into Morning Glory, our town’s health food store, which we lovingly call MoGlo or The Hippy Love Store, where I made my usual purchase of three coconut milk yogurts (yoyo from MoGlo) for Calvin. A nice man held the door for us while we guided a stumbling Calvin across the threshold. Inside, a woman and an adolescent girl, who appeared by their modest dress and bonnets to be Shakers, stood aside waiting for us to enter. The woman had a faint smile on her face that seemed to speak volumes. It told me she was sorry for us. It whispered admiration. It expressed her fondness, her compassion. It told me that maybe she understood, that perhaps she'd had her own difficulties in life. I imagined her saying, God bless, and though I don't believe in that kind of God, my eyes swelled when they met hers.

On the way out Calvin inadvertently goosed an ample-assed woman wearing a yellow skirt so tight her butt resembled a monster lemon. When I apologized for his behavior she chuckled and I added, “I guess we could all use more of that.” She smiled and nodded in agreement.

We got in the car and soon rounded the familiar bend in the road leading home. Calvin became animated, knowing well we were almost there. Once home, I put the yogurt on top of the car. The bag tipped over and one fell out, rolled down the hood and splat onto the driveway. Rudy came out and licked it up. Calvin and I ventured hand in hand to Woody’s place three doors down, something he is improving on with each endeavor. Woody was in his driveway and gave him a hug. Calvin returned the gesture sliming him with five drool-soaked fingers. On our way back we were greeted by Rudy and Michael hanging out in the front yard, a couple of perennial gardens in full bloom out back and the promise of another extra ordinary day.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. I loved this post although I do wish you some ordinary.

    1. i have plenty of ordinary, e, perhaps more than my share. xooxox

  2. How well I understand the smiles, stares, and kind gestures. Sometimes I just want people to ask questions so that they will understand. K