Thursday, July 4, 2013


We are expected to take a lot of things for granted in America. Isn't that too bad? Our freedoms were hard-fought, our privileges carry a personal responsibility, and our national pride swells to overflowing on Fourth of July. But how much freedom do others have?
We started the holiday by taking my Aunt Lois out to lunch. She doesn't have much freedom. She is mentally retarded and lives on her Social Security benefit in a smelly care home. She doesn't have physical limitations that require her to live there, so it is painful to see the choices she doesn't get to make. She cannot choose her meals, nor meal times, nor the chance to cut up her own food, nor much of her wardrobe, nor the activities of her day outside those four corridors. She is mentally retarded, but she is not stupid. She knows more than you think... She knows she doesn't have freedom of choice. but today was a day for Freeeeeedom!
We asked her to pick a restaurant, but when we got to "Red Robin" they were closed for July 4th. So we drove along Webb Road and let her choose another place. She got all excited when she saw "Freddy's" and could hardly wait for a break in the traffic to get across the street. She chose her entree, her drink, and later her custard dessert and its topping (Reece's Pieces). Then we went to Wal-Mart (where I never shop out of principle) but we let her choose a flag T-shirt, a coloring book, and a box of 96 crayons. Don't you remember back in 2nd grade how you were dying for a box of 64, but your mother wouldn't let you get that many? Aunt Lois wanted the BIG box of 96 crayons! She also didn't want the coloring book that said "Preschool" on the cover either. She knows she graduated from 8th grade (at age 16). She also knows she cannot get two or three coloring books or else her care-giver would throw them away. She knows...
Ah... the freedom of making a 2nd grader happy!

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