Curb Cuts and Bus Lifts Among other things we celebrate Monday
This Monday, the 26th of July, we will celebrate 31 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, and for those of us that laid down in front of buses to protest them not having lifts, or took sledge hammers to curbs to show the need for access it brings back a lot of memories. Many of the people I protested with are no longer with us, and today I am thinking about them, especially Paul Ford in Nashville and Wade Blank who started Adapt. The world was changed when ADA passed, because not only Americans benefitted, countries around the world started making changes, some of them ahead of the USA. Every day I watch as people walking their children in strollers use the sidewalks which are easier to maneuver as they cross the street because of the curb cuts. Or the buses that lower lift as someone using a walker or chair boards the bus. Most people will not think much about what it took to get these things done, but I do. I remember when we listened to speaker Foley refuse to give us a date for passage of the ADA and how we used chains to connect protesters together in the rotunda to let the legislature know that access should be the right of every American. I also remember that over 100 of us were arrested that day. Funny, we peacefully protested and over 100 were arrested as it is “illegal to protest within the Capitol.” Yet on January 6th this year, when the capitol was being vandalized, no one was arrested on site. We never vandalized and we always policed our areas after protesting to pick up any trash or signs that we had. That was one of the jobs of those of us that were more able bodied. There are a lot of great things that happened with the passage of ADA and many of us, as we get older, will find them more important than ever. Concrete change in Atlanta worked with Habitat for Humanity to show that if you did it from the start, building a house with basic access was not cost prohibitive. In fact, it was less than $300 at the time to add 3.0 doors and a no step entrance. I built my house in Atlanta using this concept. The number of 55 and over living communities that utilize this same concept now are because of ADA. Tomorrow I will celebrate with several friends of mine that I have not seen since an Adapt action years ago and I hope everyone reading this will notice one thing tomorrow around them that is easier because of access. An elevator, an electronic door, a curb cut, a cross walk with a beeper that reminds you to cross, but more importantly I hope you will think about what it took to get these things. It was not easy. I can tell you that laying down on hot asphalt in front of a bus in summer is not something I want to ever do again, but for everyone that uses a chair and needs that lift I would do it again in a minute. Maybe this Monday you can see a change that you want to happen and commit to making it so. Climate Change is always a good place to start!
Why We Should All Care About The Britney Spears Case
While the Britney Spears case has been used as a punch line for many late night hosts, the case is not a joke and truly anyone who believes in the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” should be watching this case. While no one disputes that Britney had a breakdown as a young woman, like many other young celebrities, she seems to be the only one that was stripped of all her rights indefinitely. The court was supposedly protecting her and her interests when it named her father as her custodian and conservator and yet it was under her fathers influence and lack of parenting that led her to the very pitfalls that got her into trouble in the first place. As the manager of an artist I feel certain that I would never have handled Britney the way her father did. All to often we see artist that die way to young because of the lack of interest in the individual well-being of that artist instead focusing on the monetary gains they bring. The headlines over the years have been full of young men and woman celebrities breaking the law and acting out in lewd and often illegal ways and yet it seems that when it’s a young man the courts do not appoint court monitors or name conservators. Somehow even in 2021 courts in the United States of America are saying that a young women do not have the same rights as a man and that this “property”needs to be controlled. I don’t know Britney personally, but I do not believe that a grown woman should be stripped of all her rights based on the words of people who benefit financially by keeping her captive. I also believe strongly that the conservatorship of any man or woman needs to be weighed carefully by the court.
Back in the Saddle!
Well I am finally ready to write about Travel again. Although we are not able to go back to work yet we did finally fly for the first time in 15 months. Our first flight was a non stop flight from Baltimore to Dallas Luv airport on Southwest Airlines. We got to the airport early as usual and parked at fast park and headed to the gate. The airport was almost completely contactless. The outside baggage handlers were not back to work yet when we flew out of Baltimore so we had to go inside. In Dallas the outside baggage was open. The seating at the gates was open and not spaced any differently that I could see but folks were trying their best to leave space. Cleaning crews came around constantly at BWI. On our very first flight in 15 months we took a bump so we did get the one way non stop and had to stop in Tampa but we did manage to get great vouchers for some additional travel within the next year! And the Southwest gate agents even gave us food vouchers since it was going to be a 4 hour delay. We loved that we had the time since we were not working to take the bump and get the vouchers.
The flight was packed though and I have to say although everyone kept their mask on and Sonia and I have been fully vaccinated it felt strange to be seated next to someone we did not know during a pandemic.
I then flew to NC and on this trip from Dallas Luv to NC I flew delta, an airline that if you have read my blog before you know I am absolutely partial to. They were still not seating folks in the middle seats, plus in First Class where I was lucky enough to get upgraded, I was by myself for 2 of my four flights. They are still not doing meal service on the flights so it was just snacks but I had packed lunch so it all worked out and on my return flight I stopped by the sky lounge and grabbed a pre packaged meal. I truly felt like everyone at the airports really worked hard to make things as easy and contactless as possible from TSA to the gate to the rental car company. We had a friend pick us up in Dallas (thank you Diane)but in North Carolina I picked up a National rental car and they had extra sanitizer wipes in the car as well as two placards to show what they had done to clean the car.
I know it’s been a hard year and travel is not what it was, we still have to wear masks on the planes and in airports but it felt good to be back on a plane and in the airport. Felt like life was finally getting back to some kind of normal. I am not sure I will ever fully recover from the personal loses of this year the family and friends that passed on and the disappointing way in which I have seen people handle things, people that I thought were friends and that I trusted. Lose and stress often bring out the worst in people but I am blessed, and the majority of the people I have in my life and that Sonia and I are fortunate enough to do business with could not be any better. All of you that have been part of this last year thru emails and virtual concerts, zoom sessions, or just a note of encouragement on Facebook it has meant the world to us and we can not wait to see you in person and hug you. Thru all the loss, surgeries and health scares that I have gone thru this year it is the thought of us all being together again that has kept us going. For now travel safe if you travel and if you are staying home this weekend I hope you will share it with someone you have not seen in awhile. For those of you that have served this Memorial Day more than ever I am thinking about you. With love and peace, Terry
Spring, Movies, Vaccines and Love
Like everyone else I have spent the last year inside and like most of you I have caught up on shows that I missed while traveling or just never took the time to watch. But now I am ready to get back out in the world so today I got my first of the two shot moderna vaccine. I am ready to go to the movies again to see the films as they were intended on a big screen and with movie popcorn and of course junior mints. We actually went to the movies once this fall when it was temporarily open at 25% capacity and it was great. There was only one other couple there and they even offer private rentals these days. So once you and your friends are vaccinated before it fills up again consider making a movie reunion. I had wanted to wait for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as I have had some vaccine issues in the past but had a chance to take a friend with me today to get vaccinated and was not about to turn down the opportunity for both of us to get it. And it was a beautiful spring day here in Baltimore which made me all the more committed to doing everything I can to be back out there enjoying the city. There are two other reasons that I really want to encourage all of you that have not been vaccinated yet to do so. Love and Travel! I love my family and friends and I want to see them all, and more and more places are saying they will limit travel to those that have been vaccinated. I want you to be able to come see us and I want to be able to come see you, so please look into a vaccine site in your area. I am blessed that my parents and a lot of my family has been fully vaccinated and my wife gets her second shot next week. I would have had mine sooner but surgery delayed it so another blessing that this one happened today. Thank you Andrea for the heads up about the site so that Lee and I could go. We have all been thru A LOT this year and many of us will forever be changed by the loss we have had. But I truly hope that as we go into this spring we will remember how much love there is out there and how much we still have to be grateful for. I for one look forward to seeing you at the movies, at a concert, at the pool or even just on the street. Thank you for sharing this crazy year and life with me.
When I started this blog I was going to share our travel stories from the road, then Covid hit and travel stopped so I started writing about what was on my mind. Seems like we won’t be traveling anytime soon and for the next couple weeks I’m not even traveling locally as I just had to have surgery again. I had a mass taken out in early February that thankfully was nothing, but then I got an internal infection and when they went in to do surgery Wednesday they found clots. Life is strange these days and I truly appreciate more every day how blessed I am. We have lost several friends to Covid and unfortunately several other family members in the last year so I know how quickly life changes. Just today another friend shared with us that she has been diagnosed with cancer so tonight I’m reflecting. I have always thought I was grateful but I am wondering now about every minute that I have chosen to work over being with a family member. Because sonia and I get to travel together I just assumed I was making enough time for my personal life but I wonder now. When we are off the road I always have so many things to do to get ready for the next road trip that I don’t really get the things done that I need to for us personally. I have been supposed to clean out my garage for at least 10 years. Of course right now it’s winter and I’m in a boot so won’t be doing it any time soon. And then there are the all the times that you are so busy worrying about what is not happening that you still are not working on the things that you could be doing. The last 11 months there have been people that have made the most of their time off the road from Covid by creating new projects and then there have been those wallowing in self pity for what is not happening. And then there are those have truly been affected by the isolation in ways that we will never fully know. Sonia’s godmother passed away at 94 this August and I believe more than anything it was isolation that led to her death. Sonia and I have worked together for 23 years and I can tell you that this is the longest we have ever been off the road and she has been better about just appreciating what we have and making the most of the time. I worried about the tours getting cancelled and how long it would be and it took me months before I really accepted the fact that there was truly nothing I could do. Just two weeks ago I finally started reading books that have been on my shelve for years. Sonia was bringing books home from the library and I was reading them and then it hit me that I have boxes of books that we don’t have room for so why not read what is on our shelves then pass them on. So my goal now is to read enough books to unpack boxes that I have had since I moved here 23 years ago. I can never get rid of a book until I read it which is why I have way to many. I did this a few years ago and took 40 books to my parents. When I was younger I would keep every book in case I wanted to read it again, (even text books) but I truly enjoying passing them on now. I hope it’s no time soon but I truly want to pass on as many things as I can to people that can use them and enjoy them before I go. Nothing makes me happier than when I can gift my nephew or nieces or a younger friend something they don’t have and need. This pandemic has given us a lot of time to think and a lot of time to realize how little control we truly have. I am not sure when life as we knew it will be back but I do pray that in some ways I will never be the same. I hope I never worry more about work than having juice with my wife in the morning, I hope I never hesitate to call a friend when I’m thinking about them, and I pray that tomorrow I will appreciate the fact that I am here and that whatever happens in the days or months ahead I will be grateful for it. I am extremely grateful for all you out there who are reading this and have been sharing this journey with us. I hope you know that.
January 6, 2021
Wow, what a day. For the rest of my life I will remember what I saw take place this day. January 6th has always been the day my baby brother was born, but that will always be over shadowed in my mind now as a day I witnessed an attack on our capitol. I was raised to believe that this is the greatest country on Earth and I believe that. I come from a family that believes in service to country, and patriotism is something I have always been proud to be associated with. What we saw on Wednesday was not patriotism, but many of those that attended the rally believe they are patriots. They believed the man serving as their commander in chief was asking them to protect his office, and they believed his lies about the election. Now for us that are not supporters of that man, it is difficult for us to understand how they could possibly believe that the election was stolen after 59 court cases were dismissed, most by Republican appointed judges. But we must not dismiss that for many people the office of President of the United States of America holds a lot of weight, and we want to believe that no one in that position would lie to us. I love this country, and even when I have disagreed with my President on policy, I have always respected the office and therefore the person holding it. That changed with this President. He has lied too many times for me to believe anything he says, but he is our President until January 20th, and I feel sorry for the many people who truly did look up to him and believed him. It is heartbreaking to me that a US Airforce vet was shot attacking our capitol, when I am sure she was a patriot and got caught up in an unlawful order given by her commander in chief. Her family more than any of us should want this President held accountable. What I saw Wednesday I never believed I would see, but I especially never would have believed that an attack on our Capitol would be ordered by a sitting President. When years from now our nephews and nieces are learning about this in history, it will no doubt bring about many questions. It was the worst day in our history since the civil war. Far worse than the Oklahoma bombing or 9-11, because this was an attack on the very center of our democracy and ordered by the person that should be leading our defense under any attack.
I am not sure where we go from here, but I know the images of the people attacking our Capitol wearing shirts that memorialize Auschwitz and idolized nazi slogans burn in my mind and remind me that democracy is fragile, and that the work my family has done to fight for this country is not over. I am more resolved than ever that I will speak up when I see injustice, and that I will never be blinded by power of an office or a person. The United States of America is not one person, it’s all of us, it’s democracy at its very best when it is adhered to. Wednesday showed us that it is fragile though, and that if we do not pay attention we will lose the very things that we love the most about this country. No patriot I know would ever take down an American flag to fly a Trump flag or a Confederate flag. I don’t care what flag you fly at your house, but not on OUR HOUSE. There is only one flag I ever want to see flying over our Capitol. I pray that Wednesday was a wake up call and that all of us will realize what we have to lose if we do not hold those that led this attack on our democracy accountable.
What will this cost all us in the future, not just economically as we are forced to investigate lie after lie, but emotionally as families are torn apart and so many of our retired military are taken advantage of by our elected officials. I blame the President and those in office that took advantage of their patriotism and led them to believe lies that will cost them everything and those leaders nothing. I blame all of those currently serving that have not done a better job taking care of those that have served and are serving this country. We have more homeless vets every year, and suicide among vets is at an all time high, we no longer honor our commitments to free healthcare for our vets, they are forced to pay a portion of their limited retirement into tri care. Even those that have served 20 plus years, and many of those in war times. How is this right? I am not excusing any American that took part in the attack on our democracy on the 6th. There is nothing that makes that right. But I do think the leadership needs to be held responsible and the full Legislative and Executive branches need to be held accountable going forward and do better for those serving this country. Those police officers protecting our Capitol that day should not be facing fellow officers and military. They should have been joined by those people to serve and protect the United States of America. Our representatives should do the same. They need to forget their party affiliations and remember they are Americans.