The Edwards Agency

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Being sightless seems a slight handicap

Oscar Roloff by Oscar Roloff
About five years ago, I began seeing a white-cane man about 27 years old get off the Seattle bus at Kingsgate. With apprehension, I'd watch him as he cautiously "caned" his way past us to his house a block behind us.
   In the morning he'd wend his way past us to the bus corner and board the bus to his Seattle job. To me, it was an amazing feat. How he navigated the corners, curbs, and cars was truly fantastic. At times, I'd notice he'd hesitate as if unsure of the path ahead, but somehow he'd get home.

His wife
   I'd often watch his wife, too, as she navigated her way uncertainly here and there, mostly to and back from the grocery store across the busy horn-blaring street.
   I, too, carefully wended my way through that traffic maze. I'm somewhat unsure of that horrendous car-zooming site, too.

Their baby
   Soon, the couple had a baby. A few months later, she'd place the child into a stroller and head for the store. Though her white cane did help, at times drivers were not too courteous, I'd note, with concern for her and the child.
   One day, I stopped and talked with her to comment on the cute little tyke. I told her who I was, where I lived, and that someday I'd like to do a story on the family. Her voice was low, and I couldn't hear what she said.
   As the child grew older, I'd watch as she hesitatingly wheeled her child to a nearby school, about five blocks away. Residents along the way stood by her to help her, if needed. When the kid outgrew the stroller, I'd watch as hand-in-hand they walked to school. The white cane carefully picked up every curb and obstacle.
   More and more, I'm learning about handicapped people and how they manage to navigate life's shoals. As I watched this "white-cane" couple, I knew there was a good story there, but I didn't know how to handle it. My hearing is impaired; would I be able to adequately interview them? And taking a photo of a sight-impaired couple is something that bothers me. How would I handle that?
   But read what follows. A rare sight indeed. An inspiring one that should be in Reader's Digest.

Ah, how nice!
   The other day, I saw the white cane man with his daughter, probably now nearly three. I hadn't driven by their house for several months.
   As I came to 144th Street, which divides Woodinville from Kingsgate, I saw the father and daughter trying to cross over to shop at Safeway. Though the man had his white cane, no one stopped. His daughter monitored the traffic, pulled on her dad's arm, and safely they crossed over. I saw the pride in that young gal's eyes.
   What a splendid sight. For a change, the daughter protected her dad, nearly totally blind. Made me feel proud to witness the episode. She was now a "big" girl.
   Such scenes I enjoy giving to you. I don't know as yet how to handle a possible photo of the three, or a way to interview the pair, but I guess you readers understand. The scene will live forever.

Later, on Halloween
   On the past Trick or Treat night, there was a knock at our door. When my wife opened it, there stood the little tyke holding onto her mother's hand. In a low voice, she said "Trick or Treat." My wife handed her some candy and she said "Thank you."
   One hour later, there was another knock. I was in my den working on an article.
   When my wife opened the door, the same little girl said, "Mother, I told you we'd been here before." Nonetheless, my wife gave her another handful of candy. Thanking me, the girl led her mother away.