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    Don’t Mess With Terry

    So I’m in the parking lot at Hannaford Grocery Store in Gloversville the other day with my aide Terry. We park in a handicapped spot, you know the kind, where there’s stripes beside the handicapped spot so no one pulls in next to you. This is particularly important in my case, as my van is equipped with a drop-down ramp so it’s easy access for me to get in and out of the van.

    Okay. So into the store Terry and I go. I had to get cat litter, cat food and some meds for me. I also needed to go to Wal-Mart to pick up some Round-up, since Herman keeps forgetting to get it. So out of Hannaford we go to drop what we bought back into the van before we go into the next store. When we approach the van, we both notice a small passenger car withOUT a handicapped sticker parked in the area that’s got the lines painted on it next to my van!

    Terry simply goes to the driver’s side door and places the packages in the van. At this point I want to wait and nail the person who parked where they’re obviously not supposed to. Terry is as disgusted as I am, and very logically says, "Kathryn, these people might be shopping for hours. It’s probably not worth waiting around for them."

    So in we go to Wal-Mart. I console myself because I know I’m going to be shopping and spending money. Once I’m done shopping, we’re back out in the parking lot and I immediately have my radar on to see if those people are back.

    Get to the van and see there’s a woman sitting in the driver’s seat. Smoking a cigarette with a small child in the back seat. We go up to the car and Terry asks this woman to move the vehicle as we cannot get the ramp down from my van as she is parked in the way. This woman replies with a very surly tone, "I don’t have the keys for the car," and averted her eyes.

    I’m not in the habit of standing on a soapbox for my handicapped cause, but I’ve got to make a statement. Do not park in handicapped spots unless you need to. And certainly not in the crosshatched area next to the handicapped spot.

    Terry was so irritated on my behalf, that she was yelling at the woman and I was laughing so hard that Terry was certain the woman thought I was crying. So in short, Terry pretty much rides shotgun for me.

    Have I ever told you that Terry and I have the same birthday? Except I’m two years older. I remember when I asked her when her birthday was. We were both sitting in the lake this past summer and I said, "So Terry. When’s your birthday?" She answered, "April 12th." To which I said, "Shut up!, that’s MY birthday!" To which SHE answered, "YOU shut up! That’s MY birthday!" And we laughed and laughed. So I guess it’s an Aries thing.

    So whether in a parking lot or a handicapped stall in a bathroom, please be cognizant of the fact that some people HAVE to use those areas. And just remember, when I’m travelling with Terry, she WILL yell if you use handicapped access without real need. And I’ll be behind her either yelling or laughing.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"