Marisa and Elizabeth are as sharp as they come. It doesn't matter that they have Down syndrome. I hardly notice. Really, I never notice, which is something I really shouldn't write about since they're really just like the rest of us.
You see when it comes right down to it as Yogi Berra would say, we're just as same as we are different. Actually I just said that. That's pretty good. I'll have to write that one down. Oh yeah, I just did.
Anyway we're all just ordinary people. Well, actually, every once in a while an Albert Einstein-type person comes along, but really 99.9 percent of us are just ordinary people.
I mean wasn't Thomas Edison just an ordinary guy? Isn't he quoted as saying one of those quotes that people like to refer to when he said “genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.”
I also like to quote The Rev. Bob Richards, who once said, “Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”
And we're all ordinary people who do extraordinary things. If the last year has shown me anything it has shown me that. We're all ordinary people who have to overcome some kind of adversity.
Marisa and Elizabeth are no different than the rest of us. What they have to overcome just happens to be Down Syndrome. And they're ordinary people who do extraordinary things.
It never gets old when Marisa enthusiastically sings the lyrics to “Dream On” whenever the song is played on the radio. And whatever song comes on the radio, it seems like with every hit since say 1975, is played, Marisa can instantly name the song and who's singing it. She would have done really well on that reincarnation of “Name That Tune” that was recently brought back to television.
Elizabeth is amazing, too, with just as sharp of a mind in a different way. She has a knack of reminding you of something really important that you've forgotten. But she doesn't forget.
So it's that time of year again to celebrate what's so special about those with Down Syndrome as Sunday, March 21 is World Down syndrome Day. On March 21 every year, the day is dedicated to raising awareness about Down syndrome.
The day is celebrated on the 21st day of the third month every year because the genetic condition that cause Down syndrome is basically the triplication of the 21st chromosome. And it's especially special this year since down syndrome day is happening on March 21, 2021.
March 21 is also known as Crazy Sock Day in which people wear mismatched socks — an extra sock if you will — to represent the extra copy of chromosome 21 those with Down syndrome have.
Some people would say I try to celebrate Crazy Sock Day most days since for some reason I have trouble putting on socks that actually match. My definition of an ordinary person doing an extraordinary thing for myself is if I walk out the door with matching socks, my hair combed and wearing a shirt that isn't inside out. But that's beside the point.
So on Sunday you can bet Marisa, Elizabeth and many others will be wearing their crazy socks. And they'll be doing it intentionally unlike yours truly.
So we celebrate Down syndrome day on Sunday. But what we'll really be doing on Sunday is celebrating ordinary people doing ordinary things. And that's something we should do every day.
Every day people go out and perform the tasks that need to be done. We go to work. We take our children to school. Or in the past year we set up their zoom.
We stumble, we fall. But we get back up and we do it all over and over again. Day in and day out. That's truly extraordinary.
And Marisa and Elizabeth perform the tasks they need to do. They stumble, they fall. But they get back up. And they do it all over and over again. Day in and day out. They're truly extraordinary.
During the past year we've found out how extraordinary our doctors, nurses, health care workers, teachers, first responders, farmworkers — the list goes on and one — how truly extraordinary they are. How truly extraordinary all of us are.
So on Sunday we should be sure to celebrate Down syndrome Day. Because we'll really be celebrating all of us.
Charles Whisnand is the Porterville Recorder Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 784-5000, extension 1048.