I call her the sign lady. Kris and I were given two names of sign makers who would be helpful to use for Kris' business in Port Gamble (she's moving her quilt store to the old Stables building, but that is MANY stories, to be told later). Not a-typically the lady chose the lady, and we went to visit the business she shares with her husband.
She began the session by astounding me with her candor. "Hi. I'm Mollie. I sound like I have an accent, but I really don't. It's because I have MS. Now lets look at some sign possibilities for you." I think of myself as being sensitive to people with disabilities (which some diseases or conditions are) because I suffer from one myself, Parkinson's Disease. (Why do they call it a "disease"? I'm not contagious.) But I've never met anyone who would state their situation as bluntly as Mollie did, not to gain sympathy, not to make herself stand out because of it, but simply to state in her own way "I have a disability, but it's not going to get in our way, so get used to it, because that's just the way I am."
I wanted to express my gratitude for showing a new attitude, but I was so taken aback that it was a few weeks before I returned to thank her for showing me a new way to approach my increasingly visible condition. How should I approach people in public to let them know that I have a condition that they may think makes me a "weakling?" since I no doubt will end up in a wheel chair … or worse. I've been proud of thinking I've been hiding it for 13 years, only to be told by a young, vibrant lady through her demeanor "Why hide it? It's what you are. Don't be ashamed; don't be proud. Just let the world know that it is part of what you are and get on with your life."
Thirteen years of living in a quandary, settled by thirteen seconds of demonstration from Mollie.
Now I'm not sure, but I think if Mollie lived in the big city she might have a different attitude. When you have to compete HARD and RUTHLESS for your business it is difficult to admit there is anything "weak" in your existence. But in a town as small as Port Gamble, you can't hide what you are, you can only BE what you are. And I'm finding this to be incredibly refreshing. The lack of pretense here is healthy and seems universally to be the case among those who are a part of this place.
Mollie and her husband live a block away in Port Gamble. I'm hoping the four of us will be good friends. Like so many others here, they have a lot to offer, if you let them.