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In this excerpt from PLUS: The Power of Faith, a woman finds the faith to go on after losing her sight.
“What…?” My fingers touched some slightly sticky leaves. I fingered the blooms. “Petunias!” My hand brushed another flower. It came away with a distinct odor. “Marigolds!” “Right.” suddenly we were playing a game.
With a few hints, I correctly named pansies, primroses and lobelia–flowers Billy had grown familiar with from helping me in my yard year after year.
“Do you want me to plant them?” he asked. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he and his mother had wasted their money.
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“Yes. Just the flowers. And I suppose you’d better do a little weeding as you go.”
I would pay him a generous amount for his work, enough to cover the price of the seeds and flowers, too. To my surprise, he returned after school the next day. “Mrs. Ruuth, I got an idea. Okay if I check out the shed?”
“Sure.” I heard clanking and banging in the shed and then he was back.
“Listen, I found a ball of twine and some stakes. What if I drive stakes into the ground and run twine to mark the rows, and you can plant those seeds?” He was so enthusiastic; I couldn’t say no. When he had the first row staked and marked with twine, he handed me a seed packet. “What is it?” I asked. “Guess.” opening one corner, I shook a few seeds into my hand. They were sharp-edged little rounds. I rolled one between my thumb and index finger.
“Nope,” Billy said. “Guess again. Here are the carrot seeds.” He pushed an open packet into my hand. I put my finger into it and encountered much tinier, harder seeds. I felt the first seeds again.
“Right! Hey, you’re good. I guess being blind ain’t the worst thing that could happen.”
That was his opinion–he could see. But that was the way we went, guessing and planting and driving stakes and running twine. When the last seed packet was crumpled in the pocket of my old gardening jacket and Billy had put the tools back in the shed and left, I went into the house.
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After scrubbing my hands, I took out my Braille lesson. Billy’s “Hey, you’re good” still rang in my ears. An hour later I dialed Jean Haugland’s office. That in itself was a feat I had not accomplished before. When Jean said hello, I felt like whooping for joy. “Jean, this is Bev.”
“Bev! How are you?”
"Fine. When is that next mobility class starting?”
There was a pause. “In two weeks. Are you coming?”
“Wonderful. Did Ero finally convince you?”
“No....” Explaining about Billy would take too long, so I just told her, “Jean, I planted my garden today. And I dialed your number without any help. As a young friend recently said to me, I guess being blind ain’t the worst thing that could happen to me.”
Jean laughed. “It sure ain’t.” After we said good-bye and hung up, I went out and sat on the back-porch steps. A light breeze brought me the fresh scent of tilled earth and new growth. Hello, God. You are always there. Thank you!