This is my second year with this group, which brings together athletes from Collier, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Hendry Counties. It’s interesting to see them from year to year, growing, aging, adjusting to their circumstances.
I recognize a guy from last year. I remember striking up a conversation with him as we share a bench, both waiting for something or other. Interesting fellow, but I can’t remember exactly why. So I get in his path as he bops along and say Hello — remember me from last year?
“No,” he says quickly. “I have short-term memory loss. It’s hard for me to keep things straight because I forget I ever knew them including people. I have to repeat and repeat.”
D’oh! Now I remember — last year we have this conversation where he mentions his short-term memory loss about half a dozen times in ten minutes, in between telling me about the different athletic activities he’s participated in with his years at Special Olympics events.
I half-expect him to say, “How, schmuck, come you didn’t remember that? I’m supposed to be the one with the short-term memory loss!”
But he doesn’t, because unlike Donald Trumpf, he isn’t temperamentally retarded.
Four hours later I pack up and head home. Next year I’ll remember him. You wait.