BE AWARE OF OTHERS' PROBLEMS
The following is not true: I am in the hospital one leg chained up to the ceiling, both arms in slings, wrists broken, neck strapped for immovability, and in piss-poor condition overall. I had stepped backwards, and this BIG dog "Lucky" had been laying right behind me. That was a dream.
OK, we do have a loving creature "Lucky", who is always, ALWAYS lurking right under or behind me. It reminds me somewhat of life on the farm.
BACK TO 1935-1950
Animals--and we enjoyed the company of LOTS of them-- followed my father as if they were attached. Wherever he walked went his entourage; dogs, cats, chickens, sometime one of the horses, and often in the mix was a favorite Guernsey heifer. And he was never knocked down by any of those, He never tripped nor WAS tripped in that scenario.
When my father fell down or was injured, it was usually a human mistake which preceded. A door had been left ajar, a chair had been moved, a bucket (full of milk?) sat in the middle of an aisle in the barn, a wheelbarrel left sitting in an open doorway, a ladder had been moved or removed, a pitchfork had been left on the floor, prongs-up. You DO understand, right?
Everything was measured in his brain, distances (how many steps) between the half-dozen barns, from one room to another, or to the door from a couch. So if measurements were changed suddenly, chaos reigned in my father's life...like when the snows drifted. He was utterly lost in a snowstorm. Had not a clue which direction to go.
He was, of course, blind. Blind meant "Blind" then. (Years later the politically accepted word was "sightless", which included also those who could see, but not well.)
In his blindness he "saw" more then most of us. But in his later deafness, he "heard" nothing except the incessant "cricket-like" sounds which affect the afflicted. He accepted blindness, but deafness cut him off completely from society.
We children learned early to be aware of others' problems, and have a healthy empathy for handicapped (challenged?) people. I recall when some unthinking friends would take him by the arm and head for a door, where the Friend-Peep would walk through the door, letting blind Pop walk smack into a brick wall.
If you read this far, thank you for letting me share a glimpse of the early life of a drunk who finally left home at age 17 with a blurry vision of a perfect life with Early Times, Smirnoff, uppers and downers. A drunk who walked with the swagger of an attitude of hatefulness, deathly fear, and whose only words were lies.