Thursday, October 22, 2015

"The world won't get no better, if we just let it be"



Just when I thought I heard it all, I realized that I hadn’t! 

In the past 30 days, on two separate occasions, people have mistaken me for being blind and that Veronica was a “seeing eye dog,” rather than a service dog (Canine Companions for Independence service dog). The “mistaken identity” occurred in both Canada, and Massachusetts, USA. 

Late last month, we decided to take a long weekend trip to Quebec, Canada.  Although my wife Maggie and our children had taken several trips over the years to visit her Canadian and Huron relatives, I hadn’t visited the country in two decades, due to my work schedule and career commitments.

During the ride from Massachusetts, we drove through the states of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. This was the first time I had seen or traveled through these states. My “aged eyes” took in these new sights as a child would, seeing something for the first time. In previous trips, we crossed the border via New York. 


Hotel entrance sign.
Rue Jacques Cartier, downtown Quebec.










We arrived in Quebec six hours later and stayed at the “Chateau Laurier Quebec,” within walking and wheelchair distance from “Le Chateau Frontenec,” located in a delightful tourist area, just blocks from “Old Quebec.”  This location was as busy as 5th avenue is in Manhattan, but with a more European "feel." And, we were just hours from the states.


The market directly across the entrance from Le Chateau Frontenec.
The next morning, after a light breakfast, we headed to the the Huron-Wendat Reservation. Billed as a "Huron Traditional Site," we had the chance to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a culture almost lost to our generation.
 
Me and V, outside Huron museum.

After touring the grounds and admiring the art collection, we had a late afternoon meal at "NEK8ARRE," (the caldren is baked) an upscale restaurant,  which seats 180 people and serves mainly game and fish on the menu, such as bison, deer, wapiti, salmon and trout.


The menu and the waitress surprised us


My wife's French-Canadian uncle, Jean-Marc, family friend Patrick, Maggie and I ordered a round of drinks -- three Huron-Canadian beers, and a white wine chardonnay for "Mags."

Upon her return, the French-only speaking waitress took orders from my wife, Jean-Marc, and Patrick who also speak French.
Activities for guests during the year.
The waitress then looked at me with great expectations of providing my food order in French, but I could only order in English with the help of my wife, who would translate for me. 

But before my wife could translate, the waitress said in French: "I sense he can see me."  As she spoke those words in French, I looked at my wife as everyone burst out laughing.

Maggie then said, "The waitress thinks you're blind and that Veronique is a "seeing eye dog!"  I laughed too, as Mags and Uncle Marc explained "my condition" to the now startled and blushing waitress.

We ordered another round of drinks and made a new friend in Canada, as we enjoyed the rest of the day.


Quebec nightlife is grand.
Mags and I at Le Chateau Frontenac


 
  








Once back home........it happens again!

The week we got back home, I had to take my car in for service at Ride Away, a dealer in North Attleboro, MA, that specializes in handicapped-equipped vehicles, such as mine. 

While the car was being serviced we went to the Fortune House, a terrific Chinese restaurant for lunch. We haven't had good luck in finding Chinese cuisine for our tastes, since moving to Massachusetts from New York last year, but this establishment hit the ball out of the park....but I digress!

As Maggie, Veronique and I entered the restaurant, the waiter politely asked if I was blind, as had occurred in Canada. 

(And the answer is "no" to you readers wondering if I knocked over a chair or table with my wheelchair as I entered the restaurant!)

Mags and I chuckled, and I then took the time to explain my disability. 

It's clear to me that even 25 years since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act   in 1990, that we all have a responsibility to continue to educate and discuss our disabilities. The need for this informative education will never end as long as people become disabled around the world. 

I implore each and every reader of my blog, to take the time to educate folks who don't know about, or politely ask about, our disabilities and those of our loved ones. 

Finally, I ask all disabled people who can .... to get out in the world and let them see you - - let them see all of us as tourists, consumers, employees and business leaders; as fathers, wives, husbands, sons and daughters.  

Let them see us love and be loved. 

As a line in an R&B song,"Wake Up Everybody," by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, states: "The world won't get no better, if we just let it be."  

The lead singer, Mr. Teddy Pendergrass, now deceased, sustained a spinal cord injury in 1982.                                         ###

 


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