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Donna Flood
Finding Heart
Soccer and Sun in the South


Soccer and Sun in the SouthOur son was the way we were compensated for the seven years we suffered through the sorrows of not seeing our first child active and playful. Our boy was a willing helper. He wasn't even tall enough to see over the wheelchair when he would push his sister. He was there to carry extra bundles, groceries, or whatever else that was needed on our daily excursions with Rhonda to therapy or to school.

Mark played independent and busy at all times. He loved the outdoors and this was the reason we looked for the old farm house out of Dallas to where we moved. The house was located only a mile or so from the house they used in the Dallas night time soap opera with its star named J.R. Ewing. If anyone ever watched that story they would have a small idea of what this area was like. Only the story did not show the total realities of the grandness of it.

The beautiful rambling rock houses where Arabian horses roamed across great front lawns were such a great memory. The miles and miles of white board fences were almost too many to imagine. There were acres and acres of farmed fields where crops of every sort of vegetable grew. The owner's home being backed with sheds where refrigerated semi trucks backed up to where people were sorting those vegetables and stacking them into boxes to be shipped.

Setting in a green wheatfield at the edge of this was a little white farm house. This we rented for 65.00 a month. This is where this picture was taken. While we lived there, our experiences could be stories to tell. There could be one about the elder woman who rented the house to them. "Aw, Honey, Ah don't think you'd be happy livin' up thar in thet little house." "It ain't much, you know."

Mrs. D. was snapping beans as she spoke to me. At this time I sat down beside her, reached down to the basket and was busily snapping twice as fast as she was, given her arthritic hands and age which slowed her. While we snapped the beans I chatted with her.

"Mrs. D." "I'm terribly lonesome for my people and the country where I lived." "I'm not going to promise you we will stay for a long time because sooner or later we need to make it back home." "The children need their grandparents, and so do I." "But if you will rent to us, I will do all I can to paint and fix up the little that it needs." "It is really nice and clean, plus that wheatfield is heaven to me who grew up with one all around."

The fresh air, long expanses of land unspoiled yet by buildings, and the neighborhood of well to do people was worth the simplicity of the little two bedroom farmhouse. Actually, the apartment where we lived wasn't any bigger. The decor and very well decorated space made it most pleasant. However, nothing could measure up to the freedom this little farm house offered. There were no quick trip stores, no swimming pools, and no little gangs of kids. There was a boy a mile away a little older than Mark. They became fast friends and their days were spent playing across the pastures, on the pond's edges, and up and down the country roads devoid of traffic.

This was when I experienced the warmth of the people who lived outside the big city. We may have as well been as prosperous as they. Invitations came from many of them. The lovely big homes were owned by people who were warm hosts who welcomed neighbors often. Never was I allowed to be homesick or lonely while we lived there. Altogether wonderful times are a part of my heart from those years we were there.

Rhonda fit into the class room schedules, whipping from room to room in her wheelchair. She was accompanied by a girl her own age who first greeted us in a t-shirt reading "Annie Green Springs Wine." Her barefeet didn't seem to bother the teachers at all. By the end of the year and her responsibilities in being Rhonda's caretaker she became a beautiful mature girl. The transformation was another record to store. If she helped Rhonda in turn Rhonda with her ever happy and pleasant ways filled with courage was equally a help to the girl.

This was the year 1972, just the beginning of a time when the disabled could attend school. So with Rhonda working too Mark was busy with his school, soccer and his friends. It was a precious time.


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