17 miles, that is, on the bike trail in Jersey horse country yesterday morning for Jim and Charlie.
I don't have a photo because I wasn't there, as I had gone into work for meetings and other getting the semester started sorts of business.
Jim told me he and Charlie ended up extending their ride after someone sighted an unleashed dog some ways down the road. They turned their tires and went off in the other direction, and, accordingly, did a couple more miles than planned.
I expected Jim to text me that, once home, Charlie had gone to take a little shut-eye in his room.
But they went to the barber with the result that, even when it's hot again, Charlie should not end up with helmet hair.
And then, another bike ride.
I got home while Jim and Charlie were still out. Often when he gets back from a ride, Charlie is keen to go right out again in the white car. But yesterday his main interest on being home was having a multi-course dinner at 5pm consisting of many contents from our refrigerator (which has been easier to keep stocked with things Charlie likes as he has not been devouring everything he sees at once, but only taking as much as he's actually hungry for). He and I did go out in the car afterwards but Charlie was quite content to 'stay local.'
Charlie was glad for some computer time (which became a bit frustrating as our internet connection kept going in and out; he handled my requests to 'restart' the computer very patiently). He went up to bed just after 7.30pm and was suddenly a bit indisposed and then felt better (and I found myself doing quite a bit more scrubbing, rinsing and laundry-ing than I was planning to do at 9.30pm but, hey, always nice to have a cleaner house). As Charlie settled down to sleep, the wind was making the blinds rattle and sending a cool, but not cold, breeze through the open windows.
With the grey but still bright sky and a few yellowish leaves blowing across the back lawn, I was reminded strongly of St. Paul. We lived there from June of 1998 to May of 2000, in a second floor duplex built in about the same era as our house, with dark wood and a screened-in porch in the back which we mostly used to store things. Looking back, I should have sat more in that porch (Jim would sometimes take a book back there, until it got too cold), but most of our time in St. Paul was hectic and anxiety-ridden: Jim was commuting back and forth every weekend to St. Louis, where he was a tenured full professor with an endowed chair (in the second year we were in St. Paul, Jim had a sabbatical, very very fortunately). I was starting my first tenure-track job as an assistant professor.
And Charlie---ah, Charlie.
When we moved into the duplex, he wasn't walking and he had yet to be diagnosed as autistic. Here he is---it's the #2 Barney photo he found and that I photographed---in the dining room of our duplex.
I think Charlie is turning his body and head to the side to look at something. When he was younger, he often tried to look at things with his head held horizontally.
And do my eyes deceive or does Charlie look to be just a bit bigger than Barney-who-says-100-things in the photo?
I did spirit away quite a few photos in my bag Tuesday morning. They're now in a desk drawer in my office. Actually, I rather prefer having them there, as now I can sneak a look at them while on my own. I hadn't seen most of the photos in years and years until Charlie brought up the bag a few nights ago. Being able to go through them now, in a quick moment between seeing students or writing work emails or grading Latin quizzes or what have you, in my now-office (located in an old brick apartment building with my window looking out straight on a freshman dorm, and furnished with a hodgepodge of shelves, a sofa, and chairs that my secretary and I were able to lay claim to after many were left as 'trash' in the hallway)---being able to see little Charlie and think of what he was like and, yes, how far he's come and how far Jim and I have come in walking, and now riding, with him---it's a good place to be in this Autismland journey that has taken us so many, many miles out on the road.