My grandfather was always handicapped, as far as I knew. Actually I didn't know the term back then, I just knew he was in a wheelchair and his legs didn't work. I knew he had been in an airplane crash in Northern Nebraska while illegally shooting Coyotes from an airplane. That it was a necessary range practice to protect cattle herds was as accepted as the fact that flying around and shooting a gun at things was considered normal.
Because he was handicapped his old house had a wheelchair accessible ramp. His ramp was made of concrete. I distinctly remember his independence, as he wheeled himself to his car, got in and out and was able to drive without the use of his legs. We went on many adventures when I was a little kid, before he moved back to Nebraska. He died when I was 9 years old. My oldest cousin on that side of the family had just been born. I am not sure if they ever met, although I know my grandfather loved the baby as much as he loved us all. They just never had the time to play together that all grandparents need with grandkids.
So the little kid grew up in the house our Grandfather had owned in town. Man we loved watching him play with his wild abandon! One day we went over to the house to find him on his new Bigwheels Tricycle barreling down the handicap ramp wearing a fondue pot on his head as a crash helmet.
I know, I know, I always tell you these little tales and then end with the tragic thud. Well I don't want to break a formula that works so.... I understand that little kid turns uncomfortably close to 40 years old today. Happy Birthday Dude!
5 months ago