Dear Friends & Family,
I attended college in a small town in East Texas. Although I had spent many summers traveling across the United States with my grandparents, I had never spent more than a couple of weeks outside of Southern California at a time. East Texas was a big awakening for me. The traditions were strong and steadfast there. I learned that you don’t wear white between Labor Day and Memorial Day, Sundays were completely about church, to the extent that almost all stores and restaurants were closed in order that all employees could attend church.
Not long after I arrived at Jacksonville Baptist College, I met a guy who was born and raised in that small East Texas town of Jacksonville. For the sake of this story; we will call him “Bud”. Bud was Texan to the core. He was tall and dark with big hands and long legs. His accent was so heavy I could barely understand what he was saying when I first met him. Bud was a few years older than me; he didn’t attend my college, just a guy from town, a friend of a friend. He used to hang out in the dirt parking lot behind my dorm in his big truck. A bunch of us girls would all pile in the cab of his truck and just sit there and talk. He said he liked my accent, which made me crazy, “Californians don’t have accents, Texans do.” I never saw Bud dressed in anything other than jeans and cowboy boots. It didn’t matter if it was super hot and humid or freezing cold, Sunday church or a workday. He became a great friend to me and we spent a lot of time together as friends.
When he got off work he would pick me up from school and we would drive out to the country to check his hog traps. Hog traps, dirt roads that go on forever in the middle of nowhere, and having to do this daily was a whole new world to me. It was fun to hear his stories as we would travel from trap to trap. Sometimes he would take me fishing. I had never seen a person launch a boat, tie it to a tree, park the truck and trailer and get back in the boat. I had always seen my parents and their friends do it as a team. When I offered to help Bud, he always laughed, shook his head and went on with his routine. Fishing along the shore was also new to me. I was used to big open lakes with no trees. This lake was surrounded by trees; every time I would cast towards shore, my line would get caught in a tree. He would shake his head, put his pole down and untangle my line. When I was with Bud, I felt like a foreigner in a strange land. I just kept trying to get things right. Everything was so different in East Texas and with Bud.
Once again, I feel like a foreigner in a strange land. Having Curt in a wheelchair is different. When we go places like concerts, high school football games, friends’ homes or weekend get-a-ways we have to plan ahead. Stairs, parking, accessible bathrooms and temperature (if he gets cold his muscles stiffen) are all things we have to figure out. This is a different journey for both of us. We were so used to spur of the moment, just “wing it” and go trips. I am thankful that we are still able to do so much. Our days are full and that keeps life fun and makes all the work worthwhile. We are figuring out this new way of life as needs arise. I was not excited about having to install safety grab handles in our newly built master bathroom; but Curt was able to find bronze handles that blend in perfectly. Thank you Jim for installing them and making everything look so nice.
It was different having to buy a wheelchair accessible van. Although Curt was not excited about having to drive a van, he is happy with the freedom it gives him to take his power chair and once again shop at Home Depot and all those manly-man stores.
It is different to walk beside Curt as he is in the power wheelchair. I miss being eye level with him. Sometimes I get in the other power chair that was loaned to us and we cruise down the street or around the block, holding hands at eye level. It is different.
The other day I saw a man on TV running down the beach; I tried to remember what Curt looked like running. Already my mind has forgotten. It has only been a year since he was able to run, I can’t believe I forgot what he looked like. Is that a gift? Pretty soon, all that we are going through will be normal, not different. I will cast my line and it will not get tangled, I will master what this disease is doing to our lives and all that is different.
We spent last weekend in Palm Springs with 10 of our awesome friends in a gorgeous home lying by a fabulous pool in the warm sun. We all felt truly spoiled in such a beautiful place. Curt was able to get all around the home and yard and cracked us up with his amazing wheelchair stunts. Thanks everyone for making the meals to fit into Curt’s diet and for helping load and unload our car and everything else you did to help us! Curt is leaving Thursday for a “guys only” fishing trip in the Sierra Mountains. I know he will have a great time with all the guys!
We are all doing well right now. This new team we have of a doctor, nutritionist, pharmacist, physical therapist, and the “mad scientist”, is giving us hope. They are all working together to stop the progression of the disease and hopefully begin some healing. We are all feeling hopeful and excited!
Thank you for all your prayers. God is good!
Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin
|Curt flew from California to Texas to escort me to my Formal Banquet at Jacksonville Baptist College in April of 1986.|