At our beach picnic on Saturday, we had some issues with accessibility. All of which I kept my mouth shut about.
We were out with Ruby and Sadie and they know well enough about access and access issues, sometimes I want it to be just fun.
The problem we had was that the benches alongside the boardwalk weren’t attached right to the boardwalk.
Some of them were, all taken, but most were set off to the side. So there was no access from the boardwalk to the bench.
I began worrying that we’d have no where to sit.
But then I noticed, way up ahead, a spot where there was a connecting path between the boardwalk and the bike trail.
I zoomed up, rode down to the bike trail and then approached a bench from behind. I got us landed.
Now there was this huge barrier between me and the beach itself.
I hadn’t planned on going on the beach, sand and wheelchairs along with my weight do not for a good roll make.
But the barrier was glaring and made me feel like I was sitting much lower than the boardwalk and looking over it, because, well, that’s what it was.
But I kept ;my mouth shut. We were here to have fun and, in fact, I was having fun.
So were the kids they were in and out of that cold Lake Ontario water getting closer and closer to jumping in each time.
They both made it right under the water and then ran pell mell up onto the hot sand and plopped on it, soaking up it’s warmth.
They loved the contrast between the cold water and the warm sand.
At one point Ruby ran up to the boardwalk, crossed over and jumped down to where I was.
She was full of stories about how cold the water was and how hot the sand was.
I listened to her tell the story while she was covered head to toe in sand and not minding it one bit.
Then she said, ‘I have an idea.’ I watched her run back to the beach grab the sand bucket and run to the water.
She scooped up the water and ran back to where I was, jumping down and sloshing water everywhere.
‘Put your hand in the water,’ she commanded. I complied and remarked that it was indeed really cold.
She was gone again. This time she just crossed over the boardwalk and then dumped the water and found a spot and scooped sand into the bucket.
Back she came, jumping down to me and holding out the bucket, and said, ‘Put your hand in the sand.’ I did and felt the warmth.
‘There,’ she said, ‘you got to feel exactly the same things that we get to.’
And she was off, back across to where Joe was standing and
I heard her explain to Joe, ‘Just because Dave can’t come over here doesn’t mean he shouldn’t feel the lake to touch the sand.’
And, of course, she’s right.
There’s all sorts of ways that a place can be made accessible.
And by the way, after all these years of living here, that’s the first time I’ve ever touched Lake Ontario.
That’s so cool it’s cold.