Blindness did not deter him from shuffling every day down the path along the Canal at Buckeye Lake to Harry's Bar for a few beers, white cane, a gift from the Lions Club, extended in front of him like a giant ant feeler. Perpetual attire consisted of shirt, pants, Romeo slippers and soiled cardigan. He smelled slightly of urine. Returning to the cottage, he slid tiny steps forward until he nudged his naugahyde recliner, dropped onto the seat and exhaled a sigh. Then he would close his eyes, merely a formality, and sleep. I used to stand nearby, stare at work-worn hands and wait for him to awaken. He never hugged or shook hands with me. His touch had replaced light and was only a tool against wrong turns and guesses. The man who took careful steps to his chair used to walk a herd of cattle fifty miles from Bainbridge, Ohio to Columbus. Later in life, he painted letters on railroad cars at the roundhouse in Columbus, ran a farm tractor after he came home from painting, sometimes into the night, and helped to raise ten kids with perfect table manners. Seventy years later, I stand in my garage on Frebis Avenue, wrap fingers around his shovel and hoe, hoist them to my shoulder and head toward the garden. I will break soil in his memory. — R. NIKOLAS MACIOCI
R. Nikolas Macioci has a PhD from Ohio State University, and for thirty years taught for the Columbus City Schools. In addition to English, he taught Drama and developed a Writers Seminar for select students. OCTELA, the Ohio Council of Teachers of English, named him the best secondary English teacher in the state of Ohio. He is the author of seventeen books.