The Wheeler

Chapter One

It had only been three weeks since my accident, but it felt like it had been years since I had been in this contraption, this wheelchair. My day nurse had poked his head in about a half hour ago and told me it was time to get ready, there was only an hour before the visiting hours would start, (and my Uncle would be taking me home, finally), what at one time my father would have called a "meet and greet". You see, before his death, my father was a publisher's representative. He was always setting up appearances for his clients, authors of all sorts of books, what my father had called an eclectic group. He mostly handled fiction writers, but occasionally he wound up with a biographer, or an essayist, or a historian, and he had a travel writer he had been working with since before I was born, 12 years ago.

My mother had abandoned us when I was three, so I really don't remember her at all, so Father arranged for a housekeeper to "look after" me while he traveled the world working, remembering to stop in at home about once every two or three months for a day or two. Since he did realize a man's influence was needed around a young lad, when I turned seven, old Mrs. Lynch was replaced in the house (in Stamford, Connecticut, where I resided all year long, and my father visited) by a college graduate who couldn't find a teaching job, Wayne Jessop. He couldn't find a teaching job because, as I overheard him say on the phone to someone, he really didn't have anything but the bare minimum grades from the state college he had attended, he had spent too much time partying.

He might not have been a great college student, but he was a good older brother to his two siblings, and he was great company for me, a good cook, a mediocre housekeeper, and insistent I did my homework and read ahead in my school books. He told me that I would learn from his mistakes. By the time I was nine he had asked me to call him Wayne and we were buddies. Many times, during my Father's absences I would be visited by my Uncle Ian. Uncle Ian had a great job at a big department store in Hartford and had a really cool apartment in the City. He usually came for a weekend or more if Father was out of town and sometimes, he came to pick me up and I would go to his place in the City to stay with him, usually for holidays and some weekends. Uncle Ian would call me at least once a week and we got along "like a house on fire". At least that was what Mrs. Lynch used to say. When my Father was at the house, he and I would only see each other at meals.

When I was twelve Wayne took a call one night, just as I was going up the big staircase to my room. What I could hear from him on the phone in the downstairs hall scared me a lot, he was telling someone that he would have to not only call my Father's office in the morning, but his lawyer also, to see if arrangements had been made for me. I don't recall anything else about that call, but when Wayne passed the staircase, I called out to him. I was really afraid because I just knew my Father was dead, and Wayne came and sat alongside me and held me told me that my Father had been killed in an airplane crash at the Berlin airport, that the plane had some kind of engine failure during takeoff and that there were no survivors.

I asked if we would still be living together in the house, but he said he wasn't sure exactly what arrangements had been made, but he knew I wasn't going to be without a home, he could almost guarantee that, and I should try to get some sleep because he was going to let me stay out of school tomorrow, and we'd make a lot of calls in the morning to see where we both stood.

I really did try to sleep through the night, but I kept waking up and finally, at seven in the morning I called Uncle Ian, my Father's only living relative, except for me of course.

He commiserated with me, telling me to hang in there and he would be down to be with me in two hours or less. He said Wayne had the right plan in place, that nothing could happen right away, but he'd be with me in a very short amount of time.

Wayne had called the publishing company right at eight that morning, informing them of the fatal airplane crash in Germany, and requesting that their human resources department begin the process of getting my Father's affairs there in order, as his next call was to my Father's lawyer who would need that information. That was the next call Wayne made and I was sitting right across the kitchen table from him as he made that call. Mr. Snyder had been my Father's lawyer for as long as I could remember and during that phone call, a lot was learned by Wayne and me. Provisions in the will stipulated that Uncle Ian be declared my guardian and all the proceeds from the sale of our very large home be placed in trust for me, the proceeds from his massive two million dollar life insurance policy be split between me, in the form of another trust fund to be used for my education and the residue turned over to me when I was twenty-five, and my Uncle Ian to take the responsibility of raising me to adulthood. A sum of fifty thousand was left to Wayne for his service to our family.

Mr. Snyder would handle all the internment arrangements and also contact the publishing company for details of his insurance policy and any other company benefits I might be entitled to.  He told Wayne that he would call Uncle Ian right away, but I told Wayne that I had called him already and he was on his way from Hartford. Wayne and Mr. Snyder arranged to speak together in the early afternoon, including Ian in their call, and ended their conversation for now.

As it turned out Uncle Ian knew he had been named as my guardian and Mr. Snyder made sure that before the end of the next week all the legalities had been accomplished and I was made the legal ward of my uncle. Mr. Snyder also determined that the life insurance policy paid double indemnity if the death was accidental. Uncle Ian asked me if I was interested in staying in Stamford, and I told him that I had no big connection to the town and actually had more of a life when I was with him. He explained that his position as a buyer for the department store he worked at was soon to be over, as the corporation that owned the store he worked for was being sold, but if I was game, he wanted to use his severance package and some of his inheritance to find a home out in the country for the two of us and try his hand at not only being a full-time father to me, but running a riding stable, mostly trail riding which we did a lot of when we spent time together on weekends and holidays.

Of course, I was all for that, especially as I would be living with Uncle Ian. So, during the sale of the Stamford home and selecting items we wanted to keep, Ian and I had a lot to do over the next month. Once the dust settled and a firm offer had been accepted for the house, Ian and I began to visit some of the properties we had found for sale on the internet. Oh, we had seen plenty within Connecticut, but now with the burden of the big multi-million-dollar house gone we even started viewing some in upstate New York, and western Massachusetts.

It was in a small town named Granby that we found just the right place. The whole property felt just like home to us, and there was a bonus, the area this property was in had not only an established riding school where even Olympian riders, of all disciplines, rode and trained, the countryside was beautiful and the property we looked at there had over two hundred acres, over a hundred acres of which could be turned into riding trails. The main house wasn't too shabby either. It had fourteen rooms and each bedroom, all six of them, had their own bathrooms. The property had been run as a guesthouse and was very updated, in fact, it had put the former owners into bankruptcy and we were able to get the entire property for a song, well, an expensive song, close to a million three hundred thousand.

Wayne was offered the job of housekeeper and cook, and gladly coordinated our move there, including supervising the moving of Ian's possessions from his Hartford apartment. He set about making our house in the country a very comfortable home for the three of us. It was on our final drive from the old house to our new home when the car Ian and I were riding in was struck by another from the rear and we were forced off route 91 north just below Springfield. We ended up rolling down an embankment and if it wasn't for the seat belts we would have died. Our car flipped several times and I felt myself slipping through the straps and when we finally came to rest all I felt was incredible pain in my hips as the seat belt tightened again where the pain already was, it was then I blacked out. I became awake again as Uncle Ian was leaning over me, feeling legs and arms and checking to see if there was any blood anywhere.

He had his cell phone out and was telling the emergency operator exactly where we were as he checked me over for her and when he got to my hips was when I howled in pain. The ambulance crew apologized as they tried to be as gentle as they could removing me from the seat, but again I passed out and woke up in a hospital bed hours later, my broken pelvis reset and a set of really tight compression shorts on my mid-section, and Uncle Ian holding my hand, his face slightly bruised and an eye swollen shut, but he looked so relieved when he saw my eyes open. The very tight first pair of compression shorts had an opening in the back and one in the front to facilitate bowel movements and urination. There was a thicker solid pair that had to be rolled onto me over the first pair. This system eliminated the need for a pelvic cast which I was told would have been very uncomfortable for me.

My right pelvic bone had cracked and a metal plate and screws held it in place, the surgeon told me it would not affect bone growth and that I was a very lucky young man as the plate could stay in there, if the crack had happened just an inch or more either way, eventually they would have to operate to remove the plate. He figured I had been forced against the inside of the door during the vehicle flipping and the flipping caused my body to be tossed around even though I was strapped in. There had been an airbag in the dash, but not on the inside of the door which explained why Ian had a black eye from the inside trim on his door's interior, no side airbags.

Ian and Wayne visited me every day, helping to keep me occupied during the daytime and some days one of them stayed into the evening also. I was so anxious to get out of there and be able to be part of creating our new home the three of us were going to be living in. Both men did talk to me about the new house and what they thought about a lot of the furniture placements they had already done and both had screenshots they showed me on their cell phones, asking me my opinion on placements of original oil paintings my Father had collected from around the world as he had traveled, lamps and knick-knacks, occasional tables and chairs, how my bedroom was to be set up, and something I hadn't even thought of, they had a stair lift installed on the wide front staircase to make the second floor of the house accessible to me.

After three weeks I was released from the hospital in Springfield and I found out my follow up doctors visits and the therapy I would need after wound healing would all be in my new hometown. I guess I was pretty lucky that one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country was in the hospital when I was brought in from the accident site. His office was in Granby, the town we were moving into.

On the drive home I got to inspect the new car Ian had bought. This one had airbags all over the place. His swollen eye had healed, but the raccoon eyes were just starting to fade by then. As we left the highway and began our drive through Holyoke to reach route 202 to go through South Hadley and get to Granby, Ian said that there was something he thought we ought to talk about before we reached our new home. He was so serious I immediately sat as uptight as I could and watched him as he gathered his thoughts and began to tell me that he and Wayne had gotten very close during the preparations for the move, and after our accident, and well, he thought I ought to know that they were now sharing a bedroom, and they were in love. I just grinned at him and he caught my grin as he glanced over at me as he drove, and he asked if them being gay and in love was really that OK with me.

I took my time to answer, because I felt so grown up at that point and I didn't want to come off as flippant or uncaring, so I spoke up and said I was honored that they were not going to hide their new relationship from me and I was extremely happy that the two people in this world that really cared about me had found happiness together, and that we would all be living as a family together, starting a new life together in the new home. Ian pulled over on the side of the road, put the car in park and reached across the center console to hold me as tightly as he could under these circumstances and thanked me for being so mature about this situation and happy for Wayne and himself.

When he had himself better under control, he moved the car back onto the roadway and as he drove, I teased him that if he had just paid attention to me when Wayne began living in the Stamford house to care for me, they could have been together for over five years now. Ian went slack-jawed and I guess after thinking about it for a few moments it dawned on him that indeed, I had been touting Wayne's virtues to him for years now, and I'm sure, that if Wayne thought about it, he would realize that I had been doing the same to him about Ian. Ian just drove, staring straight ahead, and finally asked me how I knew about them being gay, and I smugly told him that it took one to know one. After a few moments he started chuckling and almost missed the turn off for our place, but he told me that after dinner that evening the three of us were going to have a talk.

And talk we did, but not before they got me settled into a new motorized wheelchair that Wayne was waiting with as Ian and I arrived. I got a chance to try it out on the parking pad and driveway before they showed me the ramp, they had hired someone to build that would allow me to enter and exit the house, even unaided if needed. It was actually pretty cool, and much easier on me physically as I didn't have to use my arms and hands to propel myself as I had to within the hospital where I had the use of a regular wheelchair. Once I had the basics of the motorized chair down, we entered the house and Wayne and Ian led me on a tour of what they had accomplished while I was hospitalized.

The house now looked like a true home, rugs and furniture in place, pictures on the walls, accent pieces placed, and it was a masterful blend of the contents of my former home and the slightly more modern, cleaner lined pieces from Ian's apartment. It was uncluttered and roomy and the familiar pieces just made me feel like I was home. We had another "lesson" as I was shown the chairlift and how to transfer myself from the electric wheelchair to the seat on the lift and traveled up to the second floor where a regular wheelchair awaited me and then it was on to see how they had outfitted the bedrooms.

I loved my bedroom! It was so cool! and everything I had asked them to do for me was exactly as I had asked. I had a sitting area with a fireplace (gas, with a clicking starter button) and a study area with the desk from my Father's old study which had my computer and some of my favorite books and framed photos on the top. My bedroom furniture looked really good in here and an oriental carpet from Ian's apartment looked like it was made for this room and was placed to not hamper my movements in my wheelchair. Wayne told me he had learned that this was originally the master bedroom for the house and I now had a roll in closet and my own bathroom that was roomy enough to accommodate the wheelchair.

The walls had some of my favorite posters framed on them, like the one with Tom Daily or the one with Aidan Faminoff, and of course my favorite, the big one with Adam Rippon, and a fantastic one showing Greg Louganis in midair during a dive. After getting a good look at my room we all moved down the hall to see the other five bedrooms, including the newer master bedroom occupied by Wayne and Ian. Wayne explained that two bedrooms had been combined years ago to make this suite with two walk-in closets, two bathrooms, and a fireplace in both the bed area and in the big sitting room/office area. I recognized items in there from Wayne's room at our former home and others from Ian's old apartment and to my eye, everything looked perfect together in there. I asked Ian and Wayne if they were happy in there and for the first time ever, I saw Wayne blush, but they held each other's hand and told me they were very happy.

While they worked together in the kitchen, preparing one of my favorite dinners, lasagna with garlic bread on the side, I let myself out  via the ramp. I rode around where I could, to look over the house and the grounds I could see from my seat. One of the first things I did was to roll up to the street, just to look and see if any other buildings could be seen, and just as I had thought, there was only one set of mailbox and newspaper tubes, off to the left on the other side of the road, but no visible houses. That could be attributed to the fact that it was late May, thus all the trees had foliage on them, but I didn't think there would be much visible at any time of the year. I kind of liked that, but it did make me feel a tad isolated, but Ian and Wayne were really all the company I needed, weren't they?

At any rate, I turned to head back down the drive and noticed that no one had yet removed the former owner's name plaque nor the one that said B&B from the left entry to our drive. I rode over to our roadside tubes and removed our mail and the daily newspaper from Springfield. And even before I had turned back around Wayne came walking up the drive toward me with a new plaque under one arm and his cordless drill in the other. He asked if I was ready to witness him changing the signs and I told him I was, so I sat back and watched as he unscrewed the old signs and replaced them with a bigger plaque that proclaimed, "Wheeler Estate" and under a pinned cloth he showed me that under the cloth it read: "Trail Rides on Horseback". He said that once the trails had been established and we had some horses in the big old barn we could "unveil" that portion of the sign.   

Wayne asked if I was OK being outside and I handed him the mail and newspaper and told him I was just exploring, getting a feel for the property, and making up for not getting any fresh air for the last three weeks. He rubbed the back of my neck and told me to call if I needed anything, and that dinner would be served in just under two hours. As he moved to walk back to the house I grabbed his hand and he looked down at me and I told him I was really pleased for him and Uncle Ian, and he turned and gave me a one-armed shoulder hug and thanked me for saying that, it meant a lot to the both of them, but we were still going to have a talk after dinner. I smiled up at him and told him I was "looking forward to it".     

Wayne left to return to the house and I was just about to start back down the drive when I heard a call from the mailbox just up the road on the other side of the street.

The voice came from the guy standing near his mailbox, but he was now walking along his side of the street, coming toward me, a big happy smile on his face and I was beginning to smile myself just watching this guy about my age approaching. He seemed really pleased to see me for some reason, and I guess that just made me happy. When he got right across from me, he stopped for two seconds, just to look both ways before crossing, then he trotted to the side of my chair and held his hand out to me, his left hand, the right hanging limply. He started speaking almost immediately, "Hi, I'm Josh Maroni, I'm 12 and going into the sixth grade, I moved here with my father four years ago and I'm an only kid, I like to read and watch some sports on TV and when I can I stay at school to watch games and meets, I had a stroke when I was just ten and I lost the use of my right arm and hand, gee you look nice, are you all moved in? I saw a moving van from Connecticut the other week and a couple of guys driving in and out, but I hadn't seen you before. My dad built a ramp here last week and I've been waiting for you to come."

I realized I was still holding his hand, so I shook it gently and began my response, trying to remember what he had said to me. "Hi, I'm Max Wheeler. I'm 12 also and I guess I'll be entering the sixth grade too. My Father died a few months ago and my Uncles Ian and Wayne are my guardians. We looked around for a place to live all together and where we could go riding whenever we wanted, and we found this place. On the drive up here from my old home, Ian and I were in a bad car accident and my pelvis was broken and they had to put a metal plate on it to hold it together. I can't walk yet with it, but in a month or two hopefully, I will. I like watching most sports on TV and I even got to go to some pro hockey games when I stayed in Hartford with Uncle Ian sometimes, want to come over sometime?, we're getting ready for dinner right now and since I just got out of the hospital we have a lot to get settled tonight, but hey, how about tomorrow? I'd love to show you around."

Josh had removed his left hand from our long "handshake" as I had been talking and I noticed a tether connecting his right wrist, from a braided wristband, to a belt loop on his shorts on his right side. My mind absorbed this as a neat way to keep his weak arm from flopping around and maybe getting hurt. But as I had finished talking his smile returned and he asked me if I really wanted to get together with him tomorrow and I told him definitely, that I would expect him no later than eleven in the morning, but no earlier than say, nine thirty, please, as it took some time for me to get cleaned up and tomorrow would be the first time my uncles would be doing that. From the look on his face, I thought he was struggling not to say he wanted to help too, but he said he would get his chores done early so he could come over tomorrow.

I watched him cross the street and once there he waved back at me, and again as he entered his driveway. I had waved back at him each time, I'm sure my grin matched his, before I turned my chair around and rolled back down my driveway to the house. I had a new respect for the ramp as I rolled up to the front door, knowing that Josh's father had built it. I mentioned this to Ian and Wayne as we settled in at the kitchen table for dinner, my wheelchair substituting for one of the chairs usually there.

Wayne spoke up and said that he had seen an ad in the local weekly supplement in the daily newspaper for a handyman offering all kinds of services and one of his specialties was ramps built to code. As he had worked on the ramp they had had a chance to talk and it turned out that Ian and Wayne had hired him to help design and create the riding trails throughout the property, so Josh's father would be working here starting on the following Monday, full time, creating the trails, and possibly after as the foreman for the stable of horses we would be keeping on the property, and maintaining the trails, the leasing of the remaining crop fields, and our home.

Ian grinned as he asked me what I thought about Josh, and I knew I blushed big time, but said to him that I thought that, finally, I might just have a friend for at home, and most likely at school too. I'd never had friends my own age before, oh there were chums at school, but never someone my own age to hang out with at home. I asked when my first appointment was with Dr. Chris, and Wade and Ian both told me that he wanted to see me Tuesday morning, about nine. He would evaluate x-rays taken then and determine if the compression shorts were doing their job and he would be examining the wounds he had created to insert the plate in my pelvis to make sure they were healing correctly. Tuesday would be just four days away, since it was now Friday evening.

I just had to tell the guys that the lasagna was just about the best I'd ever eaten as I finished my second big square, along with another piece of the garlic bread. They thanked me and told me they had a few other combined efforts to try out on me over time, but as soon as I was on my feet, they hoped I'd take an interest and help them sometimes. I assured them I was eager to learn more about cooking. After our meal was over and the table and counter cleared, Wayne started the dishwasher and we moved to the living room where the two older guys took seats next to each other on the sofa and I wheeled closer, across the coffee table from them. Ian started off, asking me if I had any questions right off the bat, and I grinned at them, sitting there holding hands, and asked what took them so long to get together, and the two men looked at each other and Wayne sat forward a bit and whispered to me that neither one of them thought the other was even gay!

I just looked at them, and told them that even with all the hints about each of them I had told the other, I thought that they should get their gaydar checked, I mean even with me neither one had figured me out either, I mean how many twelve-year-old's had large posters of only gay Olympians on their walls? How many twelve-year-old's knew the difference between the antiques and the more modern stuff here in the house, and how many twelve-year-old's would make suggestions about how and where to blend the two styles together so well? I mean those were some pretty strong indicators. Granted none of the three of us was camp or anything, there were no limp wrists in our house, and we didn't go around singing show tunes all day, maybe in the shower once in a while, but not all day. They chuckled along with me.

I said again that their being a couple was going to make me very happy and if they ever got married, which I hoped they would, I'd be honored if they would adopt me and make me their son, all I asked was that after we all got through that, maybe they could provide me with a younger brother or two.

Ian spoke again and told me that they had discussed all that just after we had arrived back from the hospital, when I was out cruising the neighborhood and picking up the only boy in the neighborhood who was even close to my age, which was another reason for our talk tonight. Dr. Chris had recommended that until he said so, no fooling around, no sex that required the movement of my hips. He had told Ian that it appeared I was well into puberty as I had a nice bush over a very respectable penis and full ball sac, a few chest hairs and already a small tuft of hair in each armpit. Ian had told him this would be discussed with me before our appointment Tuesday, and he thought that tonight was the appropriate time to do that as it was apparent, I was smitten with Josh, and from what I had told them, Josh was developing a crush on me.

I admitted to them that I was greatly attracted to Josh, but I knew that with the pills I was on that I wouldn't be having sex of any kind right now, but I hoped that Dr. Chris would soon have me off them, maybe even as soon as Tuesday.  I wasn't some kind of sex maniac, but I did miss masturbating, my only relief at this point. I was sure Josh was interested in me, but then we had just met and found each other, maybe I'd know more tomorrow as Josh was coming to help me explore the property tomorrow, well as far as my wheelchair would go.

I assured them that I had spent most of the last year searching the internet for information about what being gay would mean for me, and the safest ways guys my age could share an attraction, I told them that indeed, if questions arose, I would definitely come to them for answers, and if, and when, the time came that Josh had questions we would come to them for answers, or Josh might be more comfortable asking them on his own. Either way, I assured them we wouldn't be doing anything that would endanger either one of us. The two men I admired most in the world looked at each other and Ian told me that this was supposed to be a dialogue between the three of us, but he was glad I realized the importance of doing my "homework" after realizing I was gay, he said that he was proud of me for that, and Wayne piped in and agreed with him, telling me that they had meant it, if I had any questions,  please come to them.

So we moved on to the two of them and how their relationship had evolved during the whole moving process and making the decisions that eventually led to the three of us sharing this new property. Ian gave Wayne a lot of credit for keeping everything moving ahead smoothly for all of us, pointedly telling me that they had worked so well together during this time that one thing had led to another and they found that doing everything as a team was just the natural progression that now led to them being engaged, yes, they were sure they were meant for each other and wanted to make it a permanent arrangement and tie the knot, they were thinking of a New Year's Eve wedding, maybe even right here on the property.

When we had exhausted the gay aspect of our conversation we switched to the plans for the development of the riding trails and I asked if on some of the longer sections there was like a break area being developed, like a picnic area where folks could dismount and spend some time eating together, or just for a pit stop, maybe having what looked like an old outhouse, but it really was maybe housing for a composting toilet and a wash station. Wayne looked at Ian and they both had to high five me, telling me that was a great idea and they would get Ron, in on this Monday when he started, Ron was Josh's father. We bantered about a few more ideas and Wayne kept jotting down notes on his ever-present pad as we did. I got hugs and cheek kisses from the both of them when we went upstairs, and they helped me get ready for bed, they nervously performing those duties that the nurses had done for me in the hospital.

Once in bed, they wished me a good night's sleep and went to their own room, but I spent some time doing some searches on my iPad about juvenile stroke victims and primarily about what was in store for Josh regarding his right arm.

Morning came and with that came my morning routine. The layers of compression shorts were rolled off me and Ian carried me into the shower in my room and placed me on the self-draining seat they had picked up for me to use to be able to wash myself without standing.  This seat looked like a tractor seat on legs with the seat itself being plastic that had holes all over its surface. I could move my torso around some and it felt so great to be able to wash myself and not to have someone else have to wipe me down. When done washing, Ian helped dry me and then it was back to the bed and both Ian and Wayne rolled on the pair of shorts with the openings in them, and then the solid pair was rolled on over them.

 If they had just tried to pull them on me that could have caused some strain on the area where the surgeon had to insert the metal plate onto my pelvis, so basically, I was to be the rag doll they were dressing. So once the compression shorts were in place it was what to wear over them. Since it was the beginning of summer we decided on a pair of cargo shorts(so I could easily access the cell phone I had to have with me at all times in case of an emergency) and a plain T-shirt and they suggested one that I loved, a pale green that matched my eyes, I had a lot of different green T-shirts. Wayne had the honor of putting on my socks and sneakers while Ian went down to the kitchen to start breakfast.

Wayne teased that it was just like when I was a little kid and needed help getting dressed in the morning, but he didn't make a big deal about it or anything, so it was cool. He followed me as I rode the stair lift down to the bottom of the staircase where my motorized chair sat waiting for me. Wayne watched me make the transition from the lift to the chair and then watched as I was able to secure back in place the armrest that had to be lowered to be able to do the transition. Once I was seated, he secured my feet with Velcro straps, so I wouldn't be able to move my legs and we both hoped that Dr. Chris would let me start to walk soon, after my check-up on Tuesday.

Breakfast was fun. The three of us together seemed more together than when I had previously spent time with just one of them at a time. It was fun for me to see them working as a team, to see the little things like when they crossed each other's path they always touched the other, or when they stood at the stove or the counters, they bumped hips or shoulders, but always with a loving bump. I even got to see them kiss once or twice, it made me happy that these two guys had found each other. Just as we were clearing the table (I helped place plates and cutlery on the counter by the sink to be rinsed before one of them loaded the dishwasher) the doorbell rang, and Ian went to let Josh and Ron in. It was the first time I'd met Ron, but he was a really nice guy, about 30 or 35 and he had immediately asked me how the ramp was working out for me, after Josh had introduced us. I told him it was so much easier than trying to maneuver the stairs and having to ask for help to get in or out of the house. I asked him if he could salvage it so that I could maybe use it as a feature in a garden I wanted to create on one of the side yards, maybe using it as a footbridge over a fish pond or something like that.

He looked at me a bit askance, and I told him I wouldn't be in the wheelchair forever, it was only a temporary thing until the doctor told me I could start to walk again after my pelvis had a chance to heal some. I was serious, and Wayne and Ian backed me up, that hopefully, my confinement to the wheelchairs was only temporary, that I might not walk on my own right away, but as my legs got their strength and I got my balance back, I would be able to walk again. I looked at Josh quickly and noticed a tear in his eye, one that matched the ones in his father's eyes, so I took a hold of Josh's left hand and I told him I'd need a lot of help from him if I was going to succeed, because I was going to do this for him, too, so we could explore all over the property, and ride the trails on horseback, and run in the halls at school and get yelled at. He laughed at that one and I wondered if he had been so glad to meet me because he thought I had a handicap just as he did, so he thought we'd be simpatico. Well, if he was going to help me, I was certainly going to try and help him.


AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This story contains locations and facts that I have only become familiar with through the internet. I have tried to be as accurate as possible while using what I could learn from the internet, but please, remember that this story is fiction and not meant as the gospel truth. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did as I researched and wrote it. Art

Comments appreciated at Art West