Updated: Aug 5, 2022
“Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus … being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father.” (2 Timothy 2:1b and Colossians 1:11-12a, NIV 1984)
Where were you on Inauguration Day? (Don’t worry … no politics included!)
As most of you know, I do not drive due to disability and I depend primarily on Access paratransit to get where I need or want to go. The morning of Inauguration Day I had to be at Group Health in downtown Bellevue at 10:00 AM. Calling the day before to book my ride, I was bummed that my pick-up window was 8:15 to 8:45. Since I’m only about ten minutes away I knew it was going to be a loooong ride.
I perked up some when one of my favorite drivers rang the doorbell. He is a believer and often has praise music playing in the van. We have had a lot of great conversations! He always greets everyone with loving care and always says, “Have a blessed day” as he helps each person off the bus. I perked up even more when I saw the young woman who I have nicknamed “Miss Lovey” because of her sweet nature. At some point she suffered a traumatic brain injury. She rarely speaks and her mobility is impaired, but her spirit is joyful and she often laughs and claps her hands when she is happy. I realized at that point that we would be picking up two more folks I have ridden with before and taking all three of them to the Eastside Adult Daycare Center.
Our driver had the radio on listening to the inaugural proceedings and I thought “Great, I won’t miss out on all of that as I anticipated.” As we drove along, they announced the performance of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and as the music played Mr. Driver started to hum along and Miss Lovey started clapping and then singing, loud and enthusiastically. From somewhere in that damaged brain the words were pulled forth. I was stunned! Mr. Driver joined in whole-heartedly and what was I to do but add my voice to the concert. When that song ended Miss Lovey continued clapping and saying “Glory! God!” as we arrived to pick up a “not so much” one of my favorite passengers who I had nicknamed “Mr. Grumpy.” As usual, he had on his usual scowl and sour face; and as usual I greeted him with “Good Morning.” He replied with his usual “Umph.”
I was pretty sure that we were headed next to pick up Timothy … he introduces himself to every one each time he rides and makes sure you remember his name. Like Mr. Grumpy, Timothy is in a wheelchair and he is also very frail. It takes awhile to get him on board and secured. About the time we got the introduction and wheelchair process over, Kelly Clarkson began singing “America the Beautiful” and you know what is coming next. Miss Lovey followed promptly by Mr. Driver and myself added our significant contribution to her effort. It only took moments for Timothy to add his voice to the mix. Mr. Grumpy said “Umph.”
By now we were down in southeast Bellevue and beginning the long trek back north to the daycare center. Miss Lovey is still giving glory to God and Timothy (he’s a talker!) wants to know all about where I am going and why. They didn’t much care about listening to all the wordy parts of the ceremony. About five minutes before arrival, Beyonce started belting out “The Star Spangled Banner” and we matched her word for word and note for note. Okay, only sort-of on the note for note part, but we made up the difference with gusto, Miss Lovey, Mr. Driver, Timothy, and I. Mr. Grumpy actually nodded his head a bit and tapped his finger on the arm of his wheelchair! The five of us cocooned together on the Access van driving through Bellevue on Inauguration Day.
Miss Lovey was the first to be escorted into the center and on her way she patted my shoulder several times and said “Glory! God!” and I totally agreed. Timothy was next off and as always this frail little man was smiling, animated, and ready to eagerly plunge into his day of activities. Mr. Grumpy was last to disembark, but on his way, just as Mr. Driver was getting ready to put him on the lift, he reached over, squeezed my arm and said a loud “Umph”. In that second I awakened to the realization that “Umph” is all Mr. Grumpy CAN say! (I know, a new nickname has been duly earned.)
As Mr. Driver re-boarded, we just looked at each other for a long moment. I said “WOW! WOW!” He said, “Praise God!” and in the three to four minutes that it took to get me to Group Health we did just that.
JaLynne picked me up from Group Health and I was bubbling to the brim to tell her all about it. Her response? “Weird!! Grandma, I think that is one of those ‘you had to be there’ things.” She is right … I WISH YOU ALL COULD HAVE BEEN THERE! It was a “Glory! Wow! Praise God!” experience. I hope and pray for more and more of them. And as Mr. Driver would say, “You have a blessed day!”
Love and Joy! Char
Char can be reached via email here.