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Let’s Go Cruisin’

     We left around five-thirty. It was raining lightly as I pushed Paul’s wheelchair across the front porch toward the car. With the wheelchair alongside the front door of the car, I popped the trunk and then held the door open for Paul as he hefted himself up out of the wheelchair, gripping the door for support, pivoted around and eased himself down onto the front passenger seat. As he pulled his legs into the car, I wheeled his chair around, folded it and lifted it up and over, into the trunk—my strength conditioning for the day. I fastened Paul’s seatbelt and got in the driver’s seat. I backed slowly out of the driveway, checking the sidewalk on both sides, and turned out onto the street.

     “Not yet, Paul! Quiet time first.” He laughs as he reaches to turn on the CD player. “Not yet, Paul!” Quickly, before I can say any more, he stops. “Okay, mom. Just for you.”

     On Washington Street, we slip into the left turn slot and wait at the light. “Talk time,” I say, but I don’t need to; talking is second nature to Paul. If he’s awake and breathing, he’s talking. The rain is coming down harder as we turn south onto Jamacha Road. The windshield wipers are making happy swishing noises while Paul chatters away, waiting for quiet time to be over so he can turn on the CD player and belt out his all-time most favorite song, “Supercalifragilistic.”

     A few minutes later, it’s warm inside the car and I’m ready for quiet time to end so I press the CD button. The CD is set to “Supercalifragilistic,” #11, but Paul leans forward and presses the down arrow, going to #10, “Feed the Birds.”

     “A beautiful song for a beautiful mom,” Paul says, with a smile. The rain is letting up but the tires are splashing on the wet pavement. When the song comes to an end, Paul leans quietly forward, hoping I won’t notice, and turns the volume button up, up, UP! Ready for “Super. . . “

     “Oh, no you don’t!” I say. We’re both laughing now and I turn the volume back down—but not too far. As we drive up to the Rancho San Diego Starbucks drive-through the wipers swish quietly; the rain is coming down softly and Paul’s enthusiastically singing “Supercalifragilistic.” I turn off the CD, wait for Paul to stop singing, and order, “One decaf, iced skinny vanilla latte…”

     Drink in hand, Paul’s ready to go. I add Steele Canyon Road to our itinerary because I want to see the lights of the homes and traffic below as I maneuver the curves downward toward Willow Glen Road. Paul takes a break from singing to sip his skinny vanilla latte and soon Willow Glen Road greets us at the bottom of the hill. We head toward home. After two more renditions of “Supercalifragilistic,” we turn into our wet driveway. It’s been a good cruise; we hope you enjoyed the ride.

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