We Are All Disabled - Part 18

Don Alder is a musician and partner in a grand adventure - "Man In Motion" that forever changed the way we see disability. He lives alone in a basement suite over run by guitars, note books full of ideas for songs and everywhere, memories of going around the world with his best friend, Rick Hansen. 



Heroes

I'm just home from Hawaii where my harp guitar and I played along side, Chris Hadfied, Astronaut and YouTube superstar as he sang the David Bowie's line, 'Ground Control to Major Tom'. And as if one very cool, talented and celebrated spaceman wasn't enough, along the road on the Big Island, I met Captain James Kirk on leave from Star Trek but still pushing the boundaries of time with humour and grace.  

And then I met a fellow named Alice Cooper. Alice may never have piloted a rocket ship but managed to do things on stage that outraged our parents, sending them into outer space every time his big rock and roll show complete with dead chickens and warm blood, arrived in town. 

On route back to Vancouver, I stopped in Maui to catch my breath and to stand in the shadow of a man who changed my life. I've written about Marshall before. He was the father I never had. His lanai is still in his family and is filled with the memories of a life so fully lived in the service of others.  It's really a sanctuary and I'm privileged to have known something of it's magic. In that place, remembering Marshall, I came to think differently about heroes and life. 

Was someone really a hero because they are famous for being famous? Or because the media love the way they sing, dance, act, play the guitar, or look great wearing bling? Or maybe it's about walking on the moon, being elected president or winning the Superbowl? Or someone who gives their life so we can live a better one?

In the solitude of Marshall's very private Hawaii, where he and I used to play bocce, those questions seemed to slip out of my mind. I couldn't concentrate, at least not on something so abstract and far away from the confidence Marshall brought to my life. 

I lost track of time on Maui. I thought a lot about the choices I'd made in life, how many great adventures I've had, and how lucky I am that music has remained such a good and trusted friend while other things have slipped away.  

As I write this,  I'm so thankful to have people and places that bring me such peace, even in the middle of the night when the time change from travel causes your body and especially your mind, to remain wide awake.

When this happens, I return  to the memory of the warm wind at Marshall's in Maui and the realization that those who seek attention are never really heroic, while those who work long and hard in pursuit of dreams can be heroes of a kind; but real heroes now and always, are just ordinary people called to do extraordinary things, often with great sacrifice, unselfishly in the service of others.  

Hawaii was productive and all things business but there was time for heroes to sign my harp guitar. And  I did feel Marshall when I slowed down enough to hear the wind. In that moment, I came to realize, I sometimes search for answers that I already have, but I search anyway. At least until I realize my heroes, the real ones, have always been close by.