trot trot to boston

so much to say. i took a train from portland to north station on monday. the idea was to wheel around the neighborhood (based on google maps street view, it all looked pretty flat), and to meet my sister who was driving up from providence for lunch. the day didn’t quite go as i’d planned, but i did come home with several useful “take-aways.”

first of all, lunch with sis was delightful. we had a bit of confusion locating each other (thank goodness for cell phones), and then found a table at the outside cafe of the boston beer works

where i had a very interesting blueberry ale, with actual blueberries bobbing around in it (i assumed they were supposed to be there.) we sat out in the cafe on a lovely boston afternoon and chatted for, it seemed like hours. despite everything else, this made it worth the trip.

another big take-away is that people are nice. at the station in portland, the conductor got me well settled in the handicapped section, and a little later another conductor brought me a cup of coffee. some guy, a tourist liason type, i guess, told me that while he would not be allowed to help me off the train (the conductor had to do that), he would push me in the chair all the way down the platform into the station. i rolled out into the street, and could tell pretty quickly that my chair was not really suited for this sort of thing, even though the sidewalks were fairly clean and the terrain was mostly flat. i’m sure my extra 40 pounds had something to do with it, but driving a wheelchair – or mine anyway – is hard work. i love my chair (a Karma 305
S-Ergo 305 Wheelchair
), it is lightweight, folds up small, and is pretty comfortable. but it is not meant for road work, and by the end of the first block, i was about spent. at one point, i was heading back to the station to try to  find sister kim, and was struggling up a tiny incline, the kind you’d never notice if you were walking,(and i kept thinking how much i missed walking) and a female voice behind me asked if i wanted a  push. i very gratefully accepted, and she just said “tell me where to stop.” she got me to the corner, and i barely had a chance to thank her, and she was gone. i had several other similar situations,  people offering assistance, and concluded that, given the opportunity, people are just basically nice. very encouraging.

but i came away realizing that not only did i REALLY have to shed those pounds, but some sort of powered chair is in my neasr future. (though any chair any  bigger than my karma would never have fit on the train.) i have my eyes on this one:

though it is probably overkill, and i’ve never driven anything like it. then i’d need some sort of vehicle to drive it around in, like the new MV-1, though the chair itself could probably get me a lot of places on its own.

anyway, it was a completely exhausting trip, but i’m very glad i went. a lovely lunch, a lovely day out of town, and several lessons learned. time to go back to the insurance company to see what they will pay for (they’ve already told me they only cover wheelchairs that are needed to get around the house, and that they don’t consider quality-of-life, like getting around town, to be any of their concern. we’ll have to work something out.

i loved getting out and about, and while i don’t think any of the photos will be worth saving or posting, but it was good to be back behind the camera again, and, as i say, in the long run, it was a very well spent day. and i survived!


Author: Stephen

Stephen Harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in Maine.

2 thoughts on “trot trot to boston”

  1. wow!! good news!! I love hearing that ppl are nice and care for one another. I rarely hear this sort of “love story” from TV/newspaper/etc. I actually shed a tear reading your post. I am also a photog at heart and a day in the woods is my fav place to bring my camera. thanx for sharing, Steve! ❤

  2. It is really good to be mobile and I am thankful that I can still get around on foot. However, I know the day may come when I shall not be so lucky. So it is with great respect that I wish to say that when you share your anguishes and your triumphs with me, you are doing me a service. When I hit that part of the road, it may not be quite so bumpy for me as it has been for you. It is lovely that everyone you encounter is so helpful and gives us all a warm and wonderful feeling. Your sister has probably enjoyed her lunch shared with you as much as you delighted in dining with her. The blueberry beer sounds quite intriguing indeed.
    Be well

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