After going to sleep so late on Wednesday, Charlie, not surprisingly, was a little slow to wake up and get out of bed on Thursday. He managed it and we were making good time when we saw flashing lights and a policeman directing traffic at a busy intersection ahead. There had been an accident and we sat and watched as an ambulance and a firetruck pulled up. Charlie kept saying 'this way, this way' and pointing out the window in the direction of school but he handled the waiting all right and, when we finally got to the Big Autism Center, he got right out of the car and hurried to the door with a little smile.
And then I went home and Jim and I went on a very important date.
Yesterday, December 16th, was our fifteenth anniversary and we celebrated by walking around Greenwich Village.
Impossible for us to be in lower Manhattan and not walk past a few choice Irish waterfront sites---past places that figure in Jim's book about the longshoremen who once worked the piers on the west side of Manhattan; the Jesuit, Fr. Corridan, who strove to break the hold of crooked union bosses and the code of silence on the docks; and the making of the movie about them, Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront.
This is the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Once it was a longshoremen's parish, St. Bernard's.
We actually only happened to pass by the church because the Italian restaurant we had been planning to go to was not open for lunch and we thought we would look around a bit. We ended up at a French bistro sort of place which we had first considered, as it is across the street from the Italian restaurant. We had a delicious lunch (tuna, a croque monsieur-esque sandwich) and talked a lot about a lot.
Yes, we did talk about Charlie, especially reminiscing about our misadventures and adventures as a tight and tighter team o' three, from the days in St. Paul when Charlie would stare raptly at automatic doors opening and shutting to more recent escapades. We had time for dessert (it's vanilla pannacotta with candied pistachios, and yes, it was very good) and a brisk walk past the White Horse Tavern and other landmarks before just catching a PATH train back to Jersey City, where we had left the white car parked at my college.
Driving home on the NJ Turnpike we saw a U-Haul truck and Jim recalled the one he rented to move me and my stuff (mostly books, in those days) from Massachusetts to St. Louis, in the late spring of 1995.
'Yeh, and little did we know what we'd be driving into,' I said.
We talked about that day in late May in the Berkshires when we (well, Jim mostly) stacked all of my boxes into that U-Haul, and about how pretty much everything that has happened since would have been simply unthinkable, unimaginable, and impossible to us then.
Good thing I've had the best of constant companions to guide and care for Charlie on this winding, bumpy, so often unpaved road.
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