Archive for November, 2010

So Thankful

Man with turkeyThe night before Thanksgiving, my wife asked Clay what he wanted to eat.

He typed, “Thanksgiving dinner.” The little guy was ready a tad early.

She explained that wasn’t until the next day, then asked if he had anything he was thankful for.

“So awesome to type,” he typed.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving with my parents. Clay ate about 400 dinner rolls, the forbidden fruit of wheat that he doesn’t get at home. What deep, insightful message did he have for my parents as we were leaving? Read the rest of this entry »


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So Proud

The night before Clay was headed to be on a panel at Arcadia University, my wife and he sat down to work on what he wanted to say.

The panel was for a class run by Networks for Training, the organization that has been helping us teach Clay how to communicate using a computer keyboard. The teacher, Joe Murphy, suggested that Clay prepare something before hand.

Here is what Clay typed the night before:

“My name is Clay. Thank you so much for having me at your class. So happy to be here. So lucky to be able to type. My life was poor before I was typing. Now I am a free soul.”

I was in Las Vegas at a speaking engagement of my own, so I missed seeing the little guy deliver his message in person. But my father captured some of it on video. Here is a clip of Clay hitting the speak button so the Communication Mentors Network class could hear his message. Read the rest of this entry »

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First Lesson

“So happy to be here.”

That is what Clay typed as a greeting when we got to the stables for his first official riding lesson. Last time we took him to Sommerfield Stables at Water Stream Farm, he surprised everyone by climbing on a horse named Rocky and going for a ride. Over the years, we’ve taken Clay for swimming lessons, gymnastics, fitness classes, soccer. Looking for something, anything, that would grab him. Nothing stuck, until we discovered his interest in farm animals this past summer. He has taken to horses, in particular, with a natural comfort level and enthusiasm we have not seen before.

When we got out of the car on this sunny fall afternoon, Clay went straight for the stables. A few horses were in stalls being prepared for riding. He touched each one. Even leaned his forehead against the muzzle of one that was a foot taller than him.

Clay started his lesson by learning to brush Rocky, comb his tail and dig the dirt out of his hooves.

Read the rest of this entry »

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New Friend

Ready to ride home

Clay didn’t have a lot to say about the new dog that joined our family this weekend. At least, not right away.

On Friday, shortly after I came up the walk with Miles on a leash, nose skimming the ground in true basset hound fashion, Clay typed, “short and cute” for the sitter who works with him several afternoons each week.

On Sunday afternoon, when my mother asked him what he thought of the new dog, he typed for me, “Think he is cute.”

Except for a few tentative attempts to pet him on top of the head when prompted, Clay kept his distance from Miles most of the weekend. The little guy has vision issues, partly centered around judging distances. If you toss a football to him from a few steps away, he will put his arms up to protect himself. When we go walking in the woods, he struggles going down steep inclines. His reaction to meeting a dog, whether it is coming up the path in our backyard or when visiting family or just out and about, is to prepare to be jumped on. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wasn’t Me

If you think about it, even for just a minute or two, you’ll see that this was not my doing.

After all, I’m the one that suggested we take a break after we lost our dog last week. I was the voice of reason.

But then things started happening.

First, without a dog in the house, it suddenly became clear just how much food Clay drops on the floor. He takes heaping handfuls of pretzels or chips, much more than he can hold, then leaves trails of food throughout the house. He is also a master of what we call the “bite and toss,” an odd compulsion where he flings the last quarter inch or so of a french fry or apple slice or chicken nugget indiscriminately. It’s a miracle no one has lost an eye. Clearly, we needed another dog for housecleaning purposes. I couldn’t very well let the house be overrun with ants, could I? Read the rest of this entry »

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Talking Geese

The ducks and geese were chattering, honking and generally making a ruckus out on the water when we got to Clay’s favorite nature center Sunday afternoon.

“We’re so surprised about the geese,” Clay typed, sitting on a bench along the trail.

“What surprised you about them?” my wife asked in response. Read the rest of this entry »

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