Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Creating Bands with Calloused Hands
We were enjoying the sights and smells of the market area in Cozumel. As we walked along the shops, the keepers would earnestly urge us to enter their place. We were hungry and looking beyond the shops to a restaurant further down. We walked quickly sparsely noticing the street vendors but one man caught my eye. I recognized at once his unique life's challenge because my son had a dear friend with a similar condition. The lower half of his body was as if an infant while the upper body develops more normally but still with complications. He gets around by either walking on his hands or in a wheel chair. He created wrist bands with these multi-tasking hands. They were rough calloused hands and strong. I stood silently looking at the bands of many colors, thinking about how he had created his own small business on this street corner. There was no roof or door, just a corner but you felt you were in his place. Instead of holding a sign begging for money he had created a nice product for sale. He had a compact display unit that unfolded he could put on his lap to wheel home at the end of the day. He had a tool box with supplies to make new bands and offered to make one with what ever lettering I wanted. I could scarcely imagine what a day would be like to be him but I wasn’t thinking about that it was my son’s friend that came to mind, Curtis. Curtis lived across the street and would spend a lot of time on the shoulders of his bothers or on his skate board, his preferred means of transportation. As an adult he too found a way to make a living. He worked in Las Vegas in a magician show where he was part of an act where they sawed a man in half and the top half would walk off on his hands. Our daughter Kendy went to the show and although she had no former knowledge recognized Curtis and visited with him backstage after the show. It was that same year that Curtis died of complications in surgery; he was barely in his twenties. The major striking similarity of both these men was their warm smiles and determination to make their own means of income.