23 Mar 2017, 4:50pm
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 28. Guide Dog Chronicles: Hit By A Car

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 28. Guide Dog Chronicles: Hit By A Car

 

#28. Guide Dog Chronicles: Hit by a Car

That fateful day, Grace and Sandy put our many bags of groceries into two carts to get them to the van. The plan was for Sandy to push the first cart and steer the cart Grace would push. I was at proper heel position.

We stopped just outside the door at the crosswalk. A car stopped at the stop sign. We proceeded into the crosswalk toward our van in the handicapped parking slot. As we were walking, Grace heard a man yell very loudly. At the same moment she realized that the man was Sandy, she heard a thump and a yelp. I was hit hard on my left flank and thrown to Grace’s far right. As Sandy continued to yell at the woman through her closed window, Grace immediately took off my harness and made me lie down.

After she’d felt me all over and found no broken bones or blood, a stranger escorted us to our van. I walked with them and hopped into the back seat. I was okay; just shaken-up and sore.

Believe me, it is a lot safer to take Grace to church.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

23 Mar 2017, 1:48pm
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 27. Guide Dog Chronicles: Grocery Shopping

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 27. Guide Dog Chronicles: Grocery Shopping

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

#23. Loyalties

#24. Sea Dragons

#25. Guide Dog Chronicles: Puppy Raisers

#26. Guide Dog Chronicles: The Training Center

#27. Guide Dog Chronicles: Grocery Shopping

Grace’s Mom will make up a grocery list for Sandy and Grace to do the shopping. Of course, I go, too. After Sandy parks in the Handicapped Parking slot, I guide Grace to the painted cross-walk and wait for her command:  Crackers, forward. If it is safe, I take her to the sidewalk.

Then, I take Grace to the bottle return for the deposit receipt and where Sandy catches up to us. From there I know we go to the Deli number dispenser and wait in line. When Grace has put our package of great smelling ham and cheese, or roast beef in our cart, we head over to the doughnuts. We wait out of the way while her brother chooses a dozen doughnuts. It’s important for me to get Grace to a safe spot, because, people have to serve themselves in the bakery department. They have a tendency to rudely jostle each other to get to the freshest doughnuts.

From the bakery, it’s simple enough to follow the outer wall cases. We stop at vegetables here and there, then go to the meat and bacon sections. Soda, milk, and eggs sections are next. It’s cold along here. As I stop at each place, Grace feels and chooses which items she wants. We like walking through the flower section. The dirt smells fresh if they’ve just watered the plants. The fragrant lilies seem to be Grace’s favorite; roses are mine.

The bulk food section smells pretty good, too; lots of cinnamon cookies, popcorn, and granola. The frozen food cases are too cold and a bit boring, except when the workers’ wheeled dollies make it like an obstacle course. It takes a lot of concentration to maneuver along safely.

In spite of my best efforts, the time I was hit by a car in the parking lot was really scary.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

16 Mar 2017, 2:50pm
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 26. Guide Dog Chronicles: Training Center

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 26. Guide Dog Chronicles: Training Center

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

#23. Loyalties

#24. Sea Dragons

#25. Guide Dog Chronicles: Puppy Raisers

#26. Guide Dog Chronicles: The Training Center

I’d passed all my tests, training runs, and was ready to be graduated as an official guide dog for the blind. I could feel the excitement going all through the Training Center. My trainers knew all about me and, now, they were going to match me up with a compatible person.

Then, she was there, sitting on the couch. I couldn’t contain my excitement. As soon as I saw Grace, dressed in her sensible shoes, I knew she liked to walk. As soon as my trainerr unhooked the leash from my collar and she called me, I barreled into her. It was a good thing she was already sitting down. I began licking her face and it was love at first lick.

When Grace told me to sit, so she could put her leash on my collar, I surprised her by immediately sitting. I didn’t want to lose this new friend. I felt Grace was worried about being able to trust me with her life, but, I knew I could do it. I just had to prove it to her.

The turning point came during a training walk in a small city. We were standing on the corner waiting for the traffic light to change. A big delivery truck turned the corner a bit too sharply. His rear wheels jumped up over the sidewalk. If I hadn’t pulled back on my harness making Grace go backward with me, she would have been part of the pavement. Once Grace learned to relax, it became fun to strut our stuff along sidewalks and country roads, up and down stairs, in and out of revolving doors, up escalators and down elevators, as well as dining in restaurants, meeting new friends, and bonding with each other.

After graduation, we went to Grace’s home where she lived with her parents and brother. I liked them a lot, but, I knew that Grace was my lady and, when I’m wearing my beautiful leather harness, Grace is my responsibility. I take care of her and she takes care of me. We go everywhere together:  to school, to church, into town, and even grocery shopping.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

16 Mar 2017, 6:53am
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 25. Guide Dog Chronicles: Puppy Raisers

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 25. Guide Dog Chronicles: Puppy Raisers

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

#23. Loyalties

#24. Sea Dragons

#25. Guide Dog Chronicles: Puppy Raisers

It was so cool. I couldn’t stop wagging my tail, which waggled my whole body. Last week Grace took me to see my favorite puppy raisers. It had been two whole years since I was taken away from them to go to the guide dog training center. As soon as I got out of the car in their driveway, I remembered where I was. It was such fun being there again. Have you ever had to move to another home and leave everyone you knew behind?

I’ve had to do that many times. After I was born at the Puppy Breeding Center, I stayed with my Mother until I could drink from a bowl. I was taken home by a girl who was a 4-H member in a town far from my Mother.

I was not a happy puppy then because the girl left me alone a lot. I wanted to play and be friends but she had other things to do that were more important than me. I began to feel really sad and angry. I nipped at people when they came near me. I was trying to let them know I needed a friend too. After a month, the girl’s Mother called the Puppy Breeding Center to tell them I should be put in another Puppy Raiser’s home. And that is how I came to live with my favorite puppy raisers, Tim and Rosemary.

I was scared to go to another place where I would not know anyone. I just wanted a friend to play with, a full tummy, and a comfy place to sleep. Rosemary said I was so skinny and small when she first saw me she thought I was a Terrier, not a Golden Retriever. I snapped at her, but, in time, I came to realize that if anyone was going to be my friend, I had to stop nipping at everyone.

I wanted to please my new Puppy Raisers, so, I tried hard to do what they wanted me to do.

One time they gave me a flat, plastic plate like thing with edges on it. There wasn’t any food or anything on it. I had no idea what it was. Then they threw it onto the lawn a short ways away from us. Tim ran after it and called me. I thought it was not too bright of him to throw it away if he really had wanted it! When we got to where the thing landed, he picked it up and threw it again. This time I raced him to it. I couldn’t figure out how to throw it so I sat on it and started to chew it. He tickled me until I got up and ran away with it. He chased me and we had a great time with the toy he called a Frisbee.

I learned how to do a lot of things during the ten months I lived with Tim and Rosemary. I liked walking to the meadow with Tim at piddle and park time. We would run and play. Sometimes he even let me go by myself. They taught me not to take anything from the table; just to eat from my own bowl and not from the cats’ bowls, and to stay off the furniture. I had my own spot to sleep in at night. I liked it best when we rode in the car. I would go into school with them. Tim was a Sixth Grade teacher and Rosemary was a First Grade teacher. I liked being with the children. Going to school with Tim and Rosemary was my favorite thing to do.

They already had an old cat, a kitten, and another puppy from the Puppy Breeding Center. The kitten was OK and fun to play with. The old cat did not seem to like me too much and would sit on the window sill teasing me until I barked. I wasn’t supposed to bark, so, I would get into a lot of trouble because of that darn cat.

The dog wasn’t too cool either. When I first came, I would eat my food slowly and sometimes rest between bites. Well, that big dog would budge right in, finish my food, and get back to his own bowl before Rosemary could catch him.

That bully would take my NylaBone, too. I didn’t really like to chew on that bone, though, because, it would get little prickles on it that would poke my gums and that hurt. I’d stop chewing for half a second and, zip, that big dog would have my bone. I figured, it wasn’t worth fighting over. The big dog went back to the training center for final training three months after I arrived on the scene, so, I had Tim and Rosemary (and the cats) all to myself.

My puppy raisers and I had fun learning good behavior in all types of places and situations. I had a lot of visits to the vet to make sure I was healthy and developing properly. Usually the 4-H people took me there and Tim and Rosemary took me everywhere else. Several times a person from the Training Center would come to test me on things like what I did when they tried to startle me with loud sounds and how I behaved if I had to walk alongside a moving car.

One day after dinner, Tim and Rosemary took me to someone’s home where I had to stay over-night in a crate next to two other dogs. I was miserable and lonely. I even missed that stupid old cat! In the morning, we were put into the back of a van and taken to the Training Center. I felt lost and once again abandoned and unloved.

I didn’t know it at the time, but, it was the beginning of the three months that would   give meaning to the rest of my life.

 

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

15 Mar 2017, 2:31pm
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 24. Sea Dragons

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 24. Sea Dragons

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

#23. Loyalties

#24. Sea Dragons

Grace toed up on the starting block to lane 5 at the edge of the high school natatorium  pool. In spite of wearing only a sleek, red racing tank suit, she felt hot and like a sweating hog. The starting horns were too loud; the crowd’s roar blocked her ears; and the shrill of the timer’s whistle sounded angry. She was blind and, now with the loud sounds, she knew what it would feel like to be deaf/blind. This was too close to being blind and deaf  for her comfort.

A few moments before mounting the starting block and the loud noise, Grace heard the mockingly sweet voice of the gum cracking girl she’d met on the first day of school.

“Good luck, Gracie,” Heather said. “You’ll need it.”

The starter’s horn startled Grace into motion.

Was it really only three days ago when the Phys. Ed. Teacher, doubling as the Swim Team Coach, approached Grace?  He had checked her school records and noticed that she’d been on her old school’s swim team. Would she like to try out for the Sea Dragons?

Entering the cold water with a jolt, Grace felt her racing dive was deeper than it used to be. Her powerful kick brought her to the surface, her arms stroking swiftly and smoothly…right onto the rope dividing the lanes. The rope burned her arm, but she adjusted her body and swam until she heard the timer’s finishing whistle. Although, she wasn’t first, her time qualified her to join the high school swim team.

As she hoisted herself out of the deep end, hands clapped her on the back, the crowd roared her name, and the coach congratulated her by placing the official Sea Dragons cape on her shoulders.

No one took notice of Heather as she stalked off the deck toward the locker room. Her face was as red as her swim suit, because her time was too slow to qualify her for the Sea Dragons.

As Grace’s teammates guided her to the locker room, somewhere in the noise, Grace heard an excited bark from Crackers and a loud “whoop” from her mother in the spectators’ stands.

Changing into street clothes, Grace’s teammates peppered her with questions.

“How did you learn to swim? Alexandra asked. “It looks like you’ve been doing it all your life.”

“It was by accident,” Grace replied, towel drying her hair. “There was a family gathering at my Grandma Kit’s Peach Lake cottage. Everyone was on the dock. I was about 5 years old and stood on a rock in the water next to the dock, waiting for someone to come in with me. I slipped on the rock’s mossy surface. They didn’t notice it until Mom heard splashing and jumped in after me. By then, though, I knew it was either sink or swim. I swam!”

“Did you ever have lessons?”  Savannah wanted to know. “You are really a powerful swimmer.”

“My parents used to belong to a swim club, TennAqua,” Grace said, feeling for the in-seam to put her shirt on right side out. “Each summer I did synchronized swimming. They taught me the basics and I memorized the routines. I especially liked doing the Water Wheel.”

“I saw you hit the rope,” Sarah said. “How can you swim straight, anyway?”

“I don’t always go straight when I’m doing the Australian Crawl,” Grace laughed, stepping into her panties and slacks. “Mostly, I listen for the sounds of the swimmers on each side of me. Are they ahead of me?  Pacing me? Behind me? When the timer’s whistle blows, I know to stretch out one arm to touch the lane timer. I prefer to do the Breast Stroke, though. There isn’t as much thrashing around as in the crawl”

“But, when you need to do a flip turn in the middle of a lap,” Martha asked, “how do you know when to do it?”

“If I’m in a place where Crackers can’t come, I count steps or door frames, or curbs. I’m used to counting things. Once I get used to the length of the pool and how many strokes it takes me to get there,” Grace answered, slipping into her sandals. “I can count my strokes and hope I didn’t lose count. One time, I actually ended up with a bloody nose from bringing my knee up too soon for a flip-turn!”

With groans of sympathy and friendly laughter, the team trooped out of the locker room to their waiting families. Crackers strained at her leash to drag Grace’s Mom straight to her and licked her hand. Ken took her other hand and gave her a congratulations kiss on her cheek. Grace felt as hot as lava from tip to toe.

Neither Grace nor Ken noticed the green-eyed-envy glare that Heather shot their way.

Ken and Grace drove her Mother home, then, headed to Family Ties to meet up with Joe and Edie in their favorite booth. There would be many more swim meets, friends to greet, and a memorable Year to experience.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

15 Mar 2017, 2:15pm
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 23. Loyalties

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 23. Loyalties

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

#23. Loyalties

“Hi,” Heather said in her little girl’s voice. “Are we having a good time?  Kenny told me you were here.”

Grace didn’t know what to say. She felt her face flush.

“Heather, where’s your date?”  Edie asked.

“Oh, he’s here somewhere. He’s mad at me for talking to Kenny,” she crooned, taking his hand.

Edie was about to say something else, but a big football player came up and re-claimed Heather. She quickly dropped Ken’s hand as she flounced away with her date.

“She sure is hot for you,” Joe teased. “I think Grace will have to put a leash on you just to keep you safely out of Heather’s clutches.”

“There will be no need for that,” Ken said, taking Grace’s hand. “I know where I want to be and with whom.”

Grace’s face flushed even more. Did she really hear what she thought she heard?

They danced the slow ones. They danced the fast ones. They danced the night away, until, the principal announced that the bonfire lighting ceremony at the beach would start in15-minutes. The four friends returned to Stang and drove to the beach.

The girls took off their shoes and left them in the car. The beach sand felt warm between their toes and the bonfire’s heat flushed their faces. The sound of the gentle lapping of the lake mixed with the chatter of the other students, alums, teachers, and some parents, made the late night festive.

“Oh,” Edie said. “Smell those roasting marshmallows.”

“Ham-m-m,” Grace said, wiggling her nose. “I think some of them are burned, fried crispy.”

Laughing, they picked up some sodas and went for a walk along the shore. The small waves lapping at their bare feet felt cool and soothing. Ken held her hand and leaned close to her ear.

“Grace, do you know how to swim? he asked, nudging her a little deeper into the surf.

“Yes,” she said nudging him back. “But I don’t want to go in tonight!” He relented and guided her back to the warmer sand.

Joe and Edie had spread out a blanket and were quietly talking and sipping their sodas. Ken and Grace joined them. The bonfire died down and people were wandering back to their cars, heading for home.

“Hey, this has been great,” Edie said, “But it looks like it’s time to hit the road. Joe and I will be going to the school’s Memorial Service tomorrow. You two going, too?”

“We haven’t talked about it, yet,” Grace said. “Can we let you know later?”

“Sure,” Joe said. “Now, let’s boogie on out of here.”

Later, with Crackers on her leash, Grace and Ken slowly walked hand in hand along Grace’s street.

“Well,” Ken said softly, “would you like to go to the Memorial Service tomorrow?”

“Okay,” Grace said, not at all sure what would be expected of her. She was used to going to service in her regular church, but didn’t know how Crackers would do in a new church.

“I have something for you,” Ken said. He let go of her hand and put something small and warm in her palm. “Do you know what this is?”

Grace looped Crackers’ leash over her arm and held the item in both hands. She felt a warm, heavy circle with a lump in the middle. She had a good idea that it was a ring, but why?

“Grace, that’s my senior class ring,” he said. “Will you go steady with me?”

She was surprised and in her confusion, she said, “It’s too big. It won’t fit on my finger.”  She was mortified to hear her own voice and the stupid thing she’d just said.

“Well, if you say yes,” he said with a smile in his voice. “I have a solution to that problem.”  She felt a chain going through the ring she held in her palm.

Grace hoped the moonlight showed him the big grin she had on her face.

“Yes,” she happily accepted his ring, as she thought: This was another one of her Mother’s opportunities.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

9 Mar 2017, 6:51am
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 22. The Homecoming Dance

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 22. The Homecoming Dance

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

“What happened to Crackers? Where is she?”  Joe asked from Stang’s back seat, as Grace buckled up in the front bucket seat.

“Crackers is a very smart dog and she’s well trained, but, she doesn’t know how to dance,” Grace smiled, folding her long, white cane into its three parts.

The gym had been decorated with the school colors of blue and gold. There was an arched trellis with tissue paper carnations and green crepe paper ivy leaves on it. A professional photographer, who was an alum took picture after picture of all the attendees of the Home-coming Dance.

“Let’s have our photo taken,” Edie said. “All four of us.”

“Aren’t you afraid the camera will break?” Joe teased her.

Grace felt Ken’s arm snake around her waist, guiding her next to Joe and Edie under the archway. She knew she’d never even see the photo, but she sure liked the feel of Ken’s arm around her.

Grace hadn’t really danced with a boy before. At the residential school, she and her friends had practiced dancing with each other with a pillow between them. They took turns leading and usually fell into giggles until the floor mother came in to shush them. Grace thought that if she could follow Crackers with just her harness on, she ought to be able to follow Ken. She was right.

“You are a fabulous dancer,” Ken said, walking back to their table after their first slow dance. “How are you on the fast dances?”

Grace felt panic rise in her throat. Slow dancing with his touch guiding her was one thing. But the thought of letting go, not knowing what the steps were, worried her.

“It’s going to be a Western Square Dance,” Ken said. “Have you ever done that before?”

“No,” Grace said.

“Four couples form a square. There is a caller on the stage. He’ll tell you which way to turn and how many skip steps, hop steps, Polka steps or Rants to take. There will be a different partner as we go around the square. Do you want to try it?”

“Come on,” Edie urged her. “It’ll be fun. We’ll keep an eye on you.”

So, Grace left her folded, long, white cane on the table and let Ken lead her out onto the dance floor where the squares were forming.

The music began. The caller said, “Allemande left.”  Grace felt Ken’s hand pull to the left and passed it to the next fellow. She followed each new hand until the caller said, “Swing your partner round and round.”

Grace was super surprised to find big, strong hands on her waist picking her up so that she instinctively put her hands on his shoulders. She was a bit dizzy when he put her down, but the dance continued before she could protest.

Where was Ken?  Edie?  Joe?  They said they’d keep an eye on her. The music was so loud. She couldn’t hear the caller anymore. The people were laughing and moving all about her.

When the set finally ended, “Are you alright?”  Joe’s familiar voice asked her, touching her arm. “You look like you’re about to bolt again.”

“I’m not really comfortable with so many people I don’t know touching me,” Grace said. “I wish I hadn’t left my long cane at the table. Do you see Ken?”

“Well, yes,” Joe hesitated. “He’s over on the far side, talking with Heather. She looks upset. I wonder what’s going on.”

There was a sinking feeling in the pit of Grace’s stomach. She remembered last night when she thought he’d dumped her for Heather. Was it really going to happen again tonight?

Joe, Edie, and Grace threaded their way over to their table. There was an awkward silence as Ken and Heather came to the table, too.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

2 Mar 2017, 6:51am
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” book II: 21. And More Questions

“…Eyeballs…” book II: 21. And More Questions

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

“You don’t look blind. I thought all blind people wore those little round, black glasses. Why do you wear aviator glasses?’ Connor asked.

“People like to look into the other person’s eyes when they talk,” Grace replied. “This way it’s more like talking to themselves!”

“Why wear glasses at all, if you can’t see,” Nancy said. “I hate wearing glasses.”

“They keep my face from getting poked, if Crackers misses taking me around a low branch or something,” Grace said easily with a smile in her voice.

Grace didn’t mind answering their many questions about Crackers and how she did what. She knew that the more the people around her understood how she and Crackers worked as a team and what was helpful, meant that she would be safer and more relaxed in public.

“If we want to be ready for the dance tonight,” Edie said, “we need to get home.”

The time had flown by and Grace was looking forward to the Homecoming Dance.

 

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

23 Feb 2017, 6:37am
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Bk II: 20. Mall Cruising

“…Eyeballs…” Bk II: 20. Mall Cruising

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

Grace and Crackers had practiced working the mall during several training trips and enjoyed the freedom of walking effortlessly through the crowd of busy shoppers, moms with strollers, and splashing, noisy fountains. Grace was a bit nervous about how Ken, Edie, and Joe would take to traveling with a guide dog team. “Crackers and I are still relatively new to each other. Would you help me keep up her training?”  Grace asked her friends as they entered the wide, glass, automatic doors to the mall.

“Sure,” they agreed. “What do you want us to do?”

“Let’s let her work. I need to trust her, but, if you could give me verbal directions, I’d feel safer.”

Grace picked up the harness handle with her left hand and said, “Crackers, forward.” Crackers did as she was commanded and the four friends walked along, passing the many storefronts inside the mall.

Crackers would indicate store doors on their right with a little swing of her head, but she kept on walking straight. Straight, that is, until she made a sudden turn to the right, forcing Grace toward an open door.

“Wait,” Ken said. “That’s a coffee shop.”

“Maybe she wants a latte,” Edie laughed.

“Let’s all go in for a latte,” Joe suggested, so they did.

Once at their table, Grace had Crackers tuck in under the table with her head next to Grace’s chair.

“When she sits like this,” Grace explained, “she can see who is coming and won’t get worried for my safety.”

“Will she stay down the whole time we’re here?” Joe asked.

“Yes, she should….” Grace started to say.

“Unless, someone comes by, dribbling a ball!”  Ken teased and they all laughed.

Back out in the mall, they told Grace what was in each store window as they passed by. Crackers did well going straight and avoiding strollers, people, and the fountain pools. Until suddenly she made a sharp left turn. An enormous man almost mowed Grace down. Grace apologized and corrected Crackers, wondering why she’d veered so sharply.

“Put out your hand and feel where she is,” Edie said.

Grace did and felt the plastic fronds of a large plant in a huge, cement planter.

“Why did she do that?”  Joe asked. “She’s supposed to be so smart.”

“I think she is trying to tell us that she needs to piddle,” Grace said. “Is there an outside door near here?”

“Yes, just a few stores to the right,” Ken said.

Crackers relieved herself on the real grass outside and they re-entered the mall.

“Well, there’s something to be said about the power of suggestion,” Edie giggled. “Now I have to go, too.”

“Me, too,” Joe said and they headed for the restrooms.

In the Lady’s Room, Grace said, “Crackers, bathroom.” Crackers took Grace right into a stall and turned around.

“Down,” Grace told her, so the stall door could close by passing over her back.

“Oh, my Gosh,” a lady said. “There’s a dog in here!”

“It’s okay,” Grace called out. “She’s a girl, too.”

Back in the mall, as they were discussing the display in the GAP window, a little boy came up to pet Crackers. Grace felt Crackers nudge her thigh and realized what was happening.

“Please don’t pet the dog,” she said gently, putting her hand on the harness’ shoulder strap. “I can’t see, so, when she is wearing this, she is working to keep me safe and may not play with you.”

Quick as a wink, the boy’s twin brother came up and asked, “Hey! You got eyeballs in there?”

Grace was used to young children asking innocent and direct questions and knew that her reflective lenses prevented people from seeing her eyes.

“Yes,” she said. “I have eyeballs in there, but they don’t work.”

The boys’ mother hurried up with an infant in a stroller. “I’m so sorry. They’re just so hyper and curious.”  She corralled the twins and hurried on down the mall.

Later, the four friends met up with several other students from their high school. There was a feeling of relaxed camaraderie. Even the “big” kids had some questions.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net

16 Feb 2017, 4:53am
Uncategorized
by

Comments Off on “…Eyeballs…” Book II: 19. Making Up

“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 19. Making Up

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin

 

As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.

 

Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

When Grace woke up at eleven the next morning, she was glad she’d taken Crackers out for her final piddle and park when Ken had dropped her off. Actually, they had taken Crackers for a short walk together. The dog was a safe, neutral topic to talk about. They talked about other things, too, even what had happened at the party. She remembered exactly what they said.

“It scared me when that zipper creep came on to me.” She’d said, deciding to tell him exactly how she felt and let him take it or leave it. “I couldn’t find the bathroom by myself, I kept bumping into people I didn’t know and they didn’t even seem to know I’d bumped into them. The smoke was awful and when I heard those boys say you were with Heather, I wanted to leave. I felt embarrassed and just wanted to leave.”

“I’m sorry,” he’d said. “I didn’t know being alone in a crowd could freak anybody out like that. I’ve never felt like that but then, I’ve always been able to see my way around.”

The more they talked, the better Grace felt. By the time they’d returned to her front door to say good-night, she decided not to cancel their plans for lunch the next day.

“Oh, Dear Gussie!” she yelped fumbling to get out from the tangled sheets and blankets that wanted to keep her prisoner. “Ken is due here any minute, Crackers. Get a move on.”

Crackers, though, was way ahead of her and wagging her tail as she patiently waited at the door for Grace. Her big, brown eyes seemed to smile, “I thought you’d never get up.”

Twenty minutes later, they were downstairs busy helping her Mother get lunch ready. They heard Stang in the driveway, a door slam, and the basketball dribbling resume.

Grace and Crackers went out to say, “Hello.” She listened to the easy banter of her brother and Ken. She felt the ball being put into her hands.

“Shoot for a swisher, Grace,” the familiar baritone teased.

“Come on, Sis,” Sandy said as he lined her up to face the rim. “Go for it.”

She had done this before. It was a piece of cake. Sandy always put her in the same spot and had taught her how to throw it.

“Crackers, sit. Stay.” Then, her arms went pump, pump, and pump and smoothly sent the ball up toward the hoop with an accurate follow through. It arched up and came down on the rim. Round and round it went several times. Finally, it went in.

Amid much hooting, laughing, and comments about dumb luck for girls, they headed in for lunch.

Tacos seemed to be everyone’s favorite. Grace thought it would be great because they all used their fingers to eat the tacos. It was just plain messy fun for everyone.

They were just cleaning up from lunch when Joe and Edie pulled up the driveway, parking behind Stang. The four of them had made a date to go mall cruising. Mall cruising was always fun and interesting.

Grace had a sense of déjà vu. Maybe this year won’t be so bad after all, she thought again.

 

kathryngc1@verizon.net