SEE NO EVIL...HEAR NO EVIL
POP: PART TWO
To understand more fully what's going on here, you might wish to read POP: PART ONE (Saturday March 14, '09...otherwise, (insert 'salute' here!) "CARRY ON, SHARGENT"!
The following is only as I, Rosanna Anna Dana--Oooops, I mean Steve E. (hope ya got that one?!) recall, and there may be inconsistencies...but I was present for some of this story.
My father, also Steve E., who I shall call Pop, was totally blind. Twenty-five years before he died, he suffered nerve deafness, and in a matter of a few years, became totally deaf. He used a Tellatouch, a device which helped end social isolation for hundreds of deaf-blind children and adults.
My parents and three siblings (I was the--ahem--oldest of us four) moved (down-sized) to a 25-acre farm with a nice pond, and new house, and quite a large barn. Being the 'free spirit' I was (did I hear "am"?), I had moved miles away from that group of people--my family--as soon as I could, somewhere around age 17, 18, or 19. A lot of my life is a bit hazy, due to my great friendship with the gang: Smirnoff, Bond and Lillard, Jack Daniels, Rot Gut, Thunderbird wine, etc. I was always...ALWAYS...surrounded with many of those kinds of friends--the only ones who "really cared". Frankly, they were all I cared about, to tell the truth.
Gobble Gobble Gobble:
It was in these 'digs' that Pop raised turkeys for a number of years. In the incubators he rolled the eggs daily. After the birds hatched he nurtured, fed, watered and talked to them, even though he could not hear them. Each year he raised upwards of 200 birds, slaughtered them, cleaned them, wrapped them, weighed them and retailed them, one at a time, mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some he froze for use throughout the year. All this while not seeing, or hearing a blessed thing, in complete isolation, except for that Tellatouch. He did have family help for these activities. We are products of a large German tribe.
I remember visiting my parents, and playing my violin. Of course, he could not hear it. He would put his hand right on the instrument grabbing it tightly, feel the vibrations, and give us a mile-wide smile. Those moments did give me a thrill. You see, I wasn't all bad--yet. But our disease--alcoholism--had me well-hooked years before.
After some time, six miles was not enough distance between "us and them" so wife number three and I moved 1,200 miles beyond, to Naples FL, in early 1965. Still ensconced in this village, I and wife number four, "Prayer Girl" live very active and (I think?) happy lives in Alcoholics Anonymous.
At the Beach:
Pop and Mom visited each winter for about seven years, lived in a 'mobile home' (hate that word also!). Using the Tellatouch seemed to be such a chore for adults, either not wanting to try something different, or shy of the "deaf-blind" guy, who knows.
Children however, LOVED to play with the little typewriter look-a-like, and they flocked around Pop whenever he was at a pool or the beach. He loved children--and children loved him. That's the way it was. They also enjoyed swimming with him, he was a good swimmer. Problem was that he'd go out in the Gulf, reach one of the barrier sand spits, and not know which was the way back to shore.
Imagine being out there, unable to hear a thing! Strangers often shouted to him that he was swimming toward (Houston?) Texas. They did not know he was deaf AND sightless. One of my sisters brought down to Naples a 100-yard boat line, tied it onto his swim trunks, and anchored it on my mother's chair. She tugged, and he returned to the beach.
At his deathbed--we had not realized he would be dead in three days--I wrote to him on the Tellatouch, "Pop, I love you, I have always loved you." He nodded that he understood, but did not respond. He did ask for a cup of water, and we 'talked' about some other things, before I left, with tears in my eyes. That's the last time I saw him alive. I was age forty-five.
Two nuns wrote a book about him after he died, title: "LIVING WITH JOY" That is the way everyone saw my father. He died in 1978, I was four years sober. NOTE: In our book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step 12 dissertation begins, "The Joy of Living is the theme of AA's Twelfth Step..."
I hope that one day when I have 'crossed over' it could be said of me, "He did live with Joy, No Matter What!" (And he lived with L.O.V.E. in his heart!) AND THAT WOULD ALL BE TRUE! -grin!
In love and service.