Friday, September 28, 2007

Football game

Tonight I went to the homecoming football game of our local high school. My son has enjoyed watching our team win. We are 6-0; we played a team that was undefeated until tonight. However, this was the closest game that we have had so far. What has happened this year? Or have I just been out of the loop? I have been looking at the scores from all over AZ, and from 5A all the way to 1A, the games have been mostly blowouts. You either annihilate the other team, or go home with your tail between your legs. I did enjoy the game as much as I could. The school has 6 or so wheelchair places, which means it’s nice to have your own spot. However, you have to deal with several problems. The main problem that I had was that right at eye level was a bar going across the bleachers holding a fence up. It needs to be there for safety reasons, but it sure is a pain, the only way to follow where the ball was to watch where the helmets congregated. The other unfortunate thing about the seating was the fact that the wheelchair seating is right by a major thoroughfare. Waiting for the people to move out of my way was irritating. The 1st Quarter of the game was just a wall of people moving in or out of the stands. I figured the 3rd Quarter would be the same, but to my relief it was the best quarter. I talked to the financial manger at the game who’s a friend of mine, and told him to fix the height of the fence. He suggested I get a low rider kit for my chair to lift me up. Like that will happen. He said, “It will happen faster than us fixing that fence”. We both had a laugh. Sad thing is, he’s right.

My sons did enjoy every time our team did something good. My youngest son would either cheer at a good play, then ask what happened, or cheer when he saw what he saw was a good play. Mostly, it was the other team that he saw being successful, but it was lots of fun for me to tease him. Tonight is the first school dance that my son has attended. This is his first year of high school, and he loves to show his spirit. I am here going through my own coming-of-age ritual, waiting up for him and wondering how it is going for him. He is growing up so much. I hope things go good for him tonight.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What’s In a Name?

As a kid my father would always volunteer us kids to for service to others. “My son would be gad to do that” he would say. How did he know what I was glad of and what I wasn’t. My dad is a good man, trusted and respected in the small community where I grew up. He was and is the epitome of service.

When someone was moving in or out of town, there was my dad and the Collett brothers to help. Barn raisings was never done with out the Collett’s in the lead. Personal social agendas were put on hold just to help the lady down the street paint her house or mow her lawn.

I learned much from him, and now that I am a father, it my turn. What my father taught me about service is expected to be passed on to my children. It’s my turn now to say, “My sons will be glad to help,” for service is nothing other than love. Christ himself said, “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” If we don’t love them who will?

Soon my kids will say, “How does my dad know I will be glad to help?” This is a legacy that should be passed on from generation to generation. What more could my father ask of me than to teach my kids to serve as he taught us?
Service has a way of repaying itself 100 fold. As a most respected member in his community respect are reflected on my kids. They can go any where in town and get what they need or want – thy just say “I’m a Collett, - my grandpa is Bob.”

What’s in a name? What do you think of when I say George Washington? Bill Clinton? George Bush? Jeffery Dormer? Jack the Riper? The Name of Bob Collett is spoken with respect. This I believe that your name is your legacy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Traveling in a Wheelchair

This summer, we have traveled across this great country of ours and I have learned a few things. Ohio is a long drive, I can’t wait till I get a chance to gawk at downtown St. Louis again, and working legs make travel easier.

We have some good friends that live in Ohio. Our Family spent the last year planning and saving for this trip. We looked at several different options for travel: We could fly - now there's an option - from Phoenix to Columbus is $2300 for the four of us, which was just slightly more than we had to spend on the whole trip. Not only that, but I have never been on a plane since I became paralyzed. I had been on a plane some years earlier and the aisles are small - how would a bigger wheelchair fit? So we decided to drive the 1800 miles (one way).

Now my friend had made the trip from there to here in two legs. They stopped in Oklahoma City for the night, which is about half way. We have always had a great rivalry, which has been fun on both sides. I had to beat his record and drive it straight through. We left here on a Saturday afternoon and pulled in at their house around 11 pm on Sunday night. Now I don't want to make it sound like I always get the best of him. Just the opposite - he is much better than me in many things (a real idol for me). However, I have got in some good licks from time to time. We became friends because of the women we have chosen to share our lives with, they having been life-long friends.

St. Louis was the first place that we stopped to do any site seeing. We saw the arch from the freeway and took a detour. What a place the arch was awesome; while the family walked around the arch I took a drive around downtown that was so cool. Looking at the architecture of the oldest city I have ever been in was an awing experience.

Back to my subject of wheelchair travel, we have been to many hotels that claim to be wheelchair accessible, which could be true, ADA guidelines state what the door size needs to be and how to make the bathroom accommodating. I doubt any of the policy makers ever spent a day in a wheelchair in their life. The guidelines do not share the information that is needed for wheelers. Things like how much furniture and where to place it never come in to play and are never thought of. Why would they, most people don’t think of these things till they are face-to-face with a problem. However, I have never been to a hotel or restaurant that didn't do all they could do to accommodate us.