Saturday, May 02, 2009

Feet First

A Childhood Lesson Is Never Forgotten

Kluane National Park, Yukon. Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


When I was very little, I had a friend who taught me two important life lessons. He wasn’t much older than me, maybe a year or two at most. He taught me the lessons not by his words, nor by his actions. He taught me the lessons simply by his presence, by his joy and by his laughter.

You see, he was in a wheelchair. I can’t remember how old I was when I asked why he was different and what had caused him to be in a wheelchair and how long it would be before he walked and ran like the rest of our friends.

That’s when I was told that he would never walk or run, and that he would always spend his life in a wheelchair.

He came to all my birthday parties. He had as much fun as all of us. Not once do I ever remember him complaining about his lack of mobility.

I can’t recall the last time we saw one another, because I moved on and went to a boarding school. But the two lessons I learned from were simple. First, that it’s all right to be different. And second, never to take the use of my own two legs for granted.

Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Walking''.

48 comments:

imac said...

Memories of yesteryear, Great lessons learned and great post David.

Pop and meet - People from St Ives.

Mojo said...

Well put David. And a lesson well learned.

And a pretty good photo to go along with it too!

Hilary said...

You were a wise child to learn that so young.

Kirti said...

We often take much for granted...It is nice to be reminded how lucky we are for so many simple things...thank you! A good start to my day--I will have more gratitude today...

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

That is a wonderful lesson indeed! And punctuated with such a strong image.

James said...

I would like to nominate your post for POTD.

Sometimes the best lessons aren't read in books or even spoken. That's why it's important to remember that our actions can affect people around us more than we might ever know. We are all teachers and we are all students.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

A beautiful tribute to a courageous friend. An inspiring memory. Thank you ~Janine

Maggie May said...

That was a great lesson to learn, David.
We can never, any of us take ANYTHING for granted.
How wise of your mother to encourage you to have that friend round regularly. Very wise indeed.

Word Ver. today was *unsized* Did it mean your shoe?

Shadow said...

cool story!

Shadow said...

cool story!

Ananda girl said...

Sweet.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Lovely photograph with a beautiful story!

Daryl said...

Good lessons ... I would expect nothing less of you ...

Sandi McBride said...

My cousin Jay lived his life imprisoned in a chair, but he always told us not to feel sorry for him, because in his dreams, he ran...this post brought his face to me so clearly, although he's been gone since I was 13...thanks David...lovely post.
Sandi

Nessa said...

Beautiful.

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

We complain we don't have enough shoes. Until one day, we meet someone with no feet.
I heard that story somewhere.

Good story, David.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Due to illness I found myself unable to step over a garden hose, walking was so difficult that I had to sit in a wheelchair if I was going any distance at all. When I recovered I vowed to relish my abilities. Not a day goes by that I don't wake up thrilled that I can now walk, climb stairs, and even dance! Your friend taught you an important lesson at an early age. He unintentionally gave you a great gift.

Craver Vii said...

It seems you have always had a sound mind, David. I appreciated this story.

GreenJello said...

Gratitude is contagious.

Thank you!

Leslie: said...

Powerful lesson, David.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What a wonderful post, David! I have a friend who is a major overcomer and has spent her whole life in a chair, and so has her husband. Until a recent illness, she was more fun than anyone I know, but she was a wonderful teacher, too.

Thanks for the reminder...

Sheila

Robynn's Ravings said...

Beautiful tribute that he gave you something lasting. I'm sure he would be so happy to know that.

Artist Unplugged said...

What a wonderful life memory and lesson for you....

Gaston Studio said...

Great lessons learned and glad they were unforgettable for you; I'm sure that part of what has made you the person you are today.
Have a great weekend.

FrankandMary said...

I grew up with a Mom who was very ill, so I learned a lot of youthful lessons thru & around her.

I can't say I "learned" it as young as you though, I think I was bitter about a lot of "learned" things when I was young, but it evolved into positivity in adulthood. ~Mary

Janie said...

Those are great memories and lessons we all should think about more often. I like the photo, too. Very poignant when put with this post.

Gennasus said...

Wise words indeed.

Lola said...

THIS wins Post of the Day, David. Deep, touching and immensely inspiring.
Thank you for the reminder. And the apt photo.

Angela said...

Beautiful story about walking. It is indeed a miracle that most of us can do it! Happy hunting.

GutsyWriter said...

I've always wondered how come people with disablities keep such a positive outlook on life. Did you read "Tuesdays with Morrie," I absolutely love the wisdom in that book.

Kathleen said...

Amen.
You might find the the memoir Waki g of interest. Author lost the use of his legs in a car crash at age 18. His name is Matthew Sanford, and today he teaches yoga. Incredible storytelling--raw, honest, hopeful.

Kathleen said...

Let's try that again: Waking by Matthew Sanford.

Pretty Life Online said...

cool catch!!! Happy weekend! Hope you can visit at my corner too..

Sarge Charlie said...

Nice post David.

Cindy OFarrell said...

Aloha from Maui Hawaii!

Wow..lessons learned!! Great memories and photo:)

Hope you'll have time to stop by my walking pictures too over at http://upcountrysmiles.com/
Thank you,
Cindy O

Greyscale Territory said...

A poignant post! A great reminder that our legs and walking are a means of survival for so many of us! We just can't neglect care of our legs, nor, as you say, take them for granted!

Greyscale Territory said...

P.S.

Thank you so much for nominating my ANZAC post as POTD! I felt both thrilled and humble!

Valerie said...

Thank you for reminding me not to things for granted.... Valerie

Tara R. said...

Great lessons to learn! I really like the photo you posted along with our story.

gengen said...

Nice memories of walking...happy weekend. Mine is ready.

Thumbelina said...

Sometimes it's the childhood lessons that leave the biggest marks.

Great post - and shot. Is that YOUR foot?

Wendy said...

Great story. I love stories about lesson people learn early in life. Especially now that I have young boys. I always wonder what lessons they will keep as they grow older.

Since you like the photo stuff, you might like Small Town Snapshot Sunday.

My word verification is "abbombly" which is sort of how I feel because I just ate a HUGE baked potato.

Anneke said...

I am sure you meant as much to him as he did to you... You should try and find him. I am sure he would be pleased.

Mudhooks said...

AND, btw, a lovely photo! I remember Kluhani from the documentary made oooo back in the late 1960s, I think, about how the Kluhani River was sort of like a Bermuda Triangle for anyone who went up the river. Nonsense, of course, but it certainly helped me learn about the area!

Corey~living and loving said...

Great post. I agree. I bet he learned some good things from you as well.
have a great day!

Marites said...

We sometimes take things for granted and you are also wise beyond your years to learn that early on. Am worrying about the flowers by your shoes:)

becky aka theRAV said...

Another wonderful post everyone should read, David. I took another note from your humor page with my title for my Odd Shot today.

Jientje said...

So true.
I love your words of wisdom.