For the last ten years or so, we’ve been blessed to be able to spend a couple of weeks in Cortez, Florida over Christmas. My brother Michael and I use to visit for a month every summer with our grandparents in Sarasota. The trips always feel very nostalgic. My uncle lives there, Mom flies down and we are able to eat, fish and make memories at the ‘Mullet House.’
Malia has always been a huge Harry Potter fan, so one year we promised to take her and Noah to Universal Studios. Joe and I prefer a quiet beach over tourist traps, so Noahs never really experienced anything like the Magic Kingdom!
We started at the entrance, and as any parent of a special needs child knows, you get a ‘cut to the front of the line’ pass. We had a plan of dividing our time between Noah’s two loves: Transformers and dinosaurs and Malia’s obsession.
It just so happened that Bumblebee was walking around patrolling the perimeter. He came up to Noah, who was blown away by seeing his seven foot tall hero in action. He was giddy when the Deceptacon arrived on the scene to do battle. Watching life through Noah’s eyes is always so refreshing. He gets swept up into the story and is absorbed in every detail. It’s contagious!
We witnessed parades, stegosaurus coming to life, Hogwart’s Castle and a dragon breathing real fire! When we stopped for lunch, Noah declared that he was too tired to walk anymore. Joe looked at me and shook his head. There was no way he was going to carry Noah on his shoulders on a sunny day in Florida. Joe sweats…a lot! Noah was pushing a hundred pounds…I couldn’t carry him! Malia, started to panic thinking that we would have to leave. Finally I decided I would go back to guest relations and ask for a wheelchair! Problem solved.
Noah was beyond content. He was able to see the park without exerting the least bit of effort. He had a drink, a snack, and his windbreaker covering his legs…life was good.
We watched men on stilts and followed the crowd to a alleyway. We came out on the streets of New York City? There was a huge crowd surrounding a waitress who was singing the blues. The crowd looked at poor Noah in his wheelchair and began to part so that he could see the stage. Joe and I sheepishly pushed his
chariot wheelchair close to the action.
Mable, the waitress and Jazz the sax player were unbelievable. The crowd was clapping and singing along, it was a great break from Bumblebee and the rides.
No sooner did Mabel finish her song when a police car drove up Delancey Street. Out of the Bluesmobile came Jake and Elwood—wearing their trademark black suits, porkpie hats, and dark shades. Gimme Some Lovin started playing and the crowd went wild. The Blues Brothers started shimming around and everyone was dancing and twisting.
All of a sudden, Noah threw off the windbreaker from his legs, jumped down in front of the stage and started cutting loose. People began pointing, they whispered to one another. Everyone was looking from Noah’s dancing legs to us. Were they witnessing a miracle?
Just as I was about to grab Noah, Joe and the wheelchair…Jake jumped from the stage and started dancing with Malia and Noah. The crowd’s attention was on the stars, so Joe and I slinked to the back row.
From behind everyone we could still see a few people pointing to Noah and his very capable legs and pantomime pushing a wheelchair…
After the song, Noah pushed through the crowd, grabbed his drink from my hand and jumped back into his chariot and covered his legs.
We waved goodbye to ‘the boys’ and left the Big Apple. Noah wanted to visit the Transformers….again…
It’s funny, after almost a decade, the thing I remember most about our Universal trip is the street party with Jake, Elwood!