I got my handy-dandy-mysterious-magical lens-changing-camera a little over a year ago, and since then have learned a lot about taking photos. I still don’t know what all the dials and buttons mean, and occasionally I get odd icons on my display screen that cause me to make funny faces and hope for the best, but I’m learning and I’m really psyched about becoming a photographer at the ripe old age of …. me, now.
But the photo up top was taken long before I got the handy-dandy-mysterious-magical- lens-changing camera, and it’s one of my all time faves. It was taken back in 1997.
When we used Grampa as a prop in Disney World.
Okay, to be fair, it started out as a sinisterly-planned manipulation to get Grampa to go in the first place.
Grampa’s knees were failing on him, and he’d had back to back knee replacements within a few years. So he wasn’t walking very much, and we’d invited Granny and Grampa to come with the (then) four of us to Disney World.
Granny had been with us a couple of times already (she is a Tigger fan, which is good because – as everyone knows – you have to make up your mind in this life. Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?)
Luckily Granny was a Tigger, because I don’t think we would have meshed nearly as well if she’d gone the Eeyore route.
So we all know that an Old Yankee Man does not ever want to be a burden.
Grampa has actually said that, if he ever becomes a burden, just put him out in the – not kidding here – God-damned garage and shut the door.
I’m not sure what he is going to do in the God-damned garage with the door shut (date everything with a sharpie? Separate recyclables over and over again? I don’t know.) I also don’t see how that makes him less of a burden, because then, instead of getting his tea and his meals and walking a few steps to his seat at the kitchen table, Granny is going to have to truck all the way out to the garage (and if he wants the door shut, is she supposed to go to the side window with the food? Like a wHierd, garage-shaped McDonald’s’ drive thru?). She’d have to balance on the roof of the wood shed part of the garage to do that. And if she fell, he’d come out anyway!
Seems to me that the garage plan offers no respite from a burdensome Old Yankee Man.
But that’s just me.
Where was I?
So, clearly, Grampa wasn’t going to put himself in the situation of being a burden, and holding the entire family back from the full enjoyment of Disney World.
And no matter how much First-Born-Mac and Number-One-Son-Sam begged Grampa to come and see Mickey Mouse, he wouldn’t budge.
So it was hopeless.
Until the plan.
If we asked Grampa for a favor, there was no way he would say no.
So we did.
We asked him to be a prop.
He couldn’t walk very far without sitting down.
But if we had a wheelchair that wouldn’t be a problem.
And if we had a wheelchair we could get right onto any ride we wanted and we wouldn’t have to wait.
So we asked Grampa to please do us the favor of coming to Disney, and accepting rides in a wheelchair, because it would help us enormously because then we wouldn’t have to wait in long lines.
Then we had to convince him that he didn’t have to go on all the rides if he didn’t want to.
Tower of Terror sort of freaked him out.
So we went to Disney with Granny and Grampa that year.
We went on all of our favorite rides, any time we wanted.
Granny loved It’s a Small World (and the kids still roll their eyes but, even if we are not there with Granny, we go on in her honor).
By day three, Grampa was totally in the spirit and actually lied to Granny and said that Big Thunder Mountain (the runaway train roller coaster ride) looked ‘just a little faster’ than It’s a Small World.
Granny glares at him to this day if he brings it up.
We got front row seats to any show we went to see.
We sat at all the best tables at restaurants.
And characters stopped to hang with us wherever we went.
We were like Disney royalty.
I am telling you, if there is an Old Yankee Man in your life and you want to go to Disney World, you should totally get a wheelchair and use him as a prop.
He will be happy to do the favor for you.
But you will secretly know that the favor isn’t in the prop-acity of the moment.
But in the magic of taking an Old Yankee Man – one who lived through the Great Depression, and laid it all on the line over the years to make sure his family had food and a roof over their heads – to Disney World.
And watching him get excited… about seeing a Mouse.
Thanks for readin’.
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