Simple happiness is enjoying a picnic lunch on World Autism Day.

If you see a lot of blue lights around this evening, they represent the autism awareness movement that kicks off each April.

I spent lunchtime with Brian (dressed in blue) and Rusty, of whom Rusty’s Morningstar Ranch is named. They work at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Tuesdays. And I arranged a picnic lunch for them and staff member Katherine when they finished their chores.

A more delightful weather-wise day it could not be. We found a picnic table just outside of Fairgrounds Park, and lunched on turkey sandwiches, grapes, Fritos, my Easy Overnite Vegetable Salad, and cookies. We watched a few people walking their dogs in the park, and we just enjoyed being out in the fresh air.

As a parent of an older adult with developmental disabilities, I learned of autism some 40 years ago, when it was a “rare” disorder and few knew much about it. Brian does not have autism, but Rusty is classically autistic, as well as the other 8 ranchers at RMR. There was little or no mainstreaming back then, and if a school district did have a decent program, many parents were wary of how the general population would view (or accept) these hikers of the path least taken. Brian exhibited all the characteristics–hyperactive, no speech, into his own world, sifter of sand and gravel, ignorer of others. But he was cuddly, nevertheless (Brian was diagnosed with PKU too late for effective rx). Rusty’s mom and I used to compare notes about our daily family lives when the boys were growing up. We could laugh at the strangeness of our lives, and no one with “normal” kids would ever understand. Rusty’s mom founded the ranch for adults with autism because Rusty did not have many alternatives for appropriate schooling, and most residental facilities back in the day were far, far, from ideal. Believe me, no parent wants to send their kids away unless the parents are irresponsible to begin with. Rusty’s mom’s solution for her son opened the door to a solution for Brian. It took 18 years for me to find the Cornville residence. But I am digressing. Let’s just say that the autistic adults at RMR get the best care in the world outside of their immediate families. Lucky parent, am I.

So, we had a delightful little picnic in the park, surrounded by budding trees and distant mountains and a cool breexe. That was my World Autism Day.

Earlier in the morning, I walked in my neighborhood, very early and just as others were awakening and turning on the news. As I was heading back to my home, I saw five black dots in the sky. At first I thought they were eagles or hawks. Then I realized they were hot air balloons from Sedona. What a view those people must have had.  Since I was wearing my pedometer, I logged my miles into the Walk With Walgreens wellness campaign. I discovered it by watching Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.

Another post about my walk yesterday in Dead Horse, with the blue herons in abundance, will be forthcoming. So hang on and wait.

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