The Lighter Side to Facing Vision Loss
IF THE COAT FITS…
“Let’s go and get you squared away at the hotel,” my new and remarkably energetic friend, Sally, said at the end of a long
“It’s so nice of you to volunteer to take me,” I said through a yawn.
“Happy to do it.” She gestured in the direction of a coat rack some distance away. “Grab your coat.”
I spied my coat hanging near the door. Sliding it off the hanger, I slung it over my shoulder, too lethargic to even put it on. ”Brrr,” I said as I stepped into the Kansas wind.
“You’d better wear your coat,” my friend advised. “The wind has kicked up a notch since this afternoon. I don’t know what it’s like in Pennsylvania but Kansas in November is pretty harsh.”
“Huh?” I strained to hear her through the rattling wind. “Oh-h. My coat. I’ll be fine.”
As always, it took my eyes time to adapt to the darkness. My night blindness made it difficult to see anything. I relied heavily on her voice to guide my fumbling steps as I caught glimpses of the shadowy figure I hoped was Sally.
Where did she go? “SALLEEE,” I called as I scanned the darkness around me. I imagined how easy it would be for me to blow off onto the Kansas prairie like some hapless tumbleweed and redoubled my efforts to keep track of my friend.
“Over here, Amy!” Sally laughed as she backtracked to where I’d veered off. I held onto the cuff of her coat and let my cane skip forlornly behind me like a wandering child who had ceased to interest me. Sometimes I find it best to simply go with the flow.
At the car, I uncurled the frozen fingers wrapped around my cane and leaned it against the side of the car. of course, it promptly fell. I shook my finger and addressed my cane, jokingly. “Okay, be that way. You’ll just have to wait.” I opened the back door, dropping my coat onto the seat, my briefcase onto the floor and my purse on top of that.
With my hands finally free, I reached over and picked up my cane and folded it.
Sally opened the passenger door. “Okay, hop in,” she said and dashed around to the driver’s side.
A sudden gust of wind tossed me into the seat and I giggled. “The wind moves at sound of her voice!” I folded up my cane. “H-h-eat, p-please!”
“Coming right up.” She turned the key in the ignition and slid the heat to the highest setting. “Time to get this baby rolling!”
The next morning, I woke up early and got ready for the conference. God was going to give me a memorable day. I knew it. “I might as well go down to the lobby and get some orange juice and a doughnut.”
I gathered up that day’s schedule and shrugged into my coat. When I stepped over to the dresser to pick up my purse, I nearly tripped! What … ? My eyes traveled down to the hem. The coat hung to my ankles.
I frowned as I dug through one pocket, feeling for my lipstick No tube of Coral Me Crazy to be found but my fingers grabbed onto a crumpled tissue and … one glove. I checked the other pocket. No glove there. “Hey, this is weird.” Did I drop one or something? Did I even bring my gloves to Kansas?
I ran my hand down the length of the coat and felt a smooth diamond-thread design sewn into the cloth. It must be inside out, I thought, wondering how I could forget that the coat was reversible. I stuck one arm through the sleeve and reversed it, then the other.
Something still didn’t look right.
In a moment of playfulness, I flipped my big hood up; the tip came to my nose!
What was going on?
I ducked over to the mirror. A dwarf looked back at me!
“Wait a minute. My hood has fake fur around it!” This had none. I squinted to see better. ”Hey, my coat is darker. Purple.” I inspected the light gray color that engulfed me. I slid my hand over it. “Nylon.” Mine was suede leather.
This looked nothing like my coat except for the big hood. Wrong color. Wrong size. Wrong design.
I covered my mouth and giggled into my hands. And, ta-dah! Wrong owner!
The laughter spilled out of me as I shook my head in amazement. I couldn’t believe I picked up the wrong coat! This was a new first even for someone losing her vision!
When Sally picked me up, I told her of my dilemma. She said, as if it were the most natural mistake in the world and happened every day, “Well, put it back. The owner will claim it soon enough.”
At the conference center, I furtively looked around before stepping over to the coat rack and ever so casually hung up the coat then sped away. With a cup of coffee in hand, I spied on the rack for a few minutes to see if anyone came to claim the “stolen” coat.
That night I selected my coat with care. I felt for the suede leather and my faux fur around the hood. The length was right. The ultimate test, the pockets. If I had any doubts, they fled when my fingers found the Coral Me Crazy tube of lipstick in my right-hand pocket.
I never knew why I picked up such a different coat. Did I see mine and reach for the one next to it? Was I that tired? Or maybe a combination of the two? Just Call Me Crazy but sometime it seems to me that God feels I need a good laugh to revive me and He uses my low vision to supply it.
My take-away from this winter coat fiasco was: make sure the coat fits … first!
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If you like this story bye Amy Bovaird you can read more of her writings at her blog, http://amybovaird.com/if-the-coat-fits/