By Judy Reiss
Are you exhausted? I have to admit that I’m not and that is probably because after Christmas, which I love, and all our family except two got together, it was sort of the end for me! And by the end I mean that we just don’t do New Years. And why not you ask? Well, it is because neither of us drink at our age and even if we host a party, it just doesn’t make it a good time. And the thought of going to a party and either doing it myself or just watching friends and strangers make fools of themselves, liquor or not! So the two old Reisses stayed at home and went to bed early! A drag? Certainly but as Malcolm constantly says, “we’re old!”
Now that we have taken care the new year it is time to discuss a topic that I have kept snuggled in my chest for months.
I think I am actually just talking to the owners or managers of restaurants and or regular stores that want customers. I have always been a good shopper and had a wonderful time doing it! I love to eat out and; not only with Malcolm but also with my girl friends. Nowadays, I have to use a walker to get myself from the car to the restaurant or the store. I can only imagine that a wheelchair looms in the future!
Until you become dependent upon one of those pieces of equipment, you have no idea what actually goes on. I am not going to discuss how some people treat the handicapped because the great percentage are wonderful and go out of their way to help. But what I want to talk about is how the guys who own the restaurant or the store could make life a lot easier. And make a lot more money, to boot!
I know where I live there are several restaurants and stores that I can’t get into because they don’t have a handrail. Now I am not talking about a huge and artistic type of handrail, nope, what I mean is a simple rail, even made out of a few pieces of wood. I can get into almost anything with a handrail and that is that. I guess there isn’t any rule to have a handrail so just do it yourself. I firmly believe it is not only a handicapped person who could use a railing, which would help all ages and abilities as well as disabilities who would use that handrail.
Many years ago, before I became handicapped, I took a dear friend who was severely handicapped to Florida to see a friend and to take her for a “quickie” to Disney World. I was shocked at how hard it was to move her around and find an accessible toilet. But we did and she had a good time. But it left a mark on my how difficult her life was when it could have been made a lot easier! I do think in this country we have no policy on how to help the handicapped and allow them to be helpful and useful citizens.
Now my suggestion is a simple one, just put a rail of some sort that makes it possible for me to get into your establishment. In Waitsfield at the Mad River Green, we have several places that appear to go out of their way for me. The Three Mountain CafŽ is terrific to me which makes having coffee kindly but very comfortable. The Collection actually did much of my Christmas shopping on the phone. This might not sound like much, but trust me, it saved my life! In fact, they not only helped me pick out what I wanted, but they also wrapped them and she sent them, too! For gifts that I might need over the year, you can be sure they will be my first choice.