Magoo Moments: A Walk for Sunshine

First, let’s get some administrative details out of the way. I was informed today by my oldest and most trusted friend in the world that I misspelled Taya Kyle’s name. To Mrs. Kyle, I sincerely apologize for this. I would love to blame this on blindness and an inordinate amount of brain damage. But I must confess that I am a Marine and a Cop, and the well-known issues both professions have with grammar and spelling probably have more to do with this problem. Marines and Cops tend to rely heavily on the phonetic alphabet. Again, I am sorry and will try to do better.

As I have detailed in my book, “Officer Down, Man Up,” there are many times when my blindness leads to a funny moment. In my house these are commonly referred to as ‘Magoo Moments.’ Here is the example of just one.

Yesterday was the beginning of the yearly ritual called the Dance Recital. My daughter Sam has been participating in this weekend-long event for nearly thirteen years now. Since my injury I have cut down my attendance to only the rehearsal the Friday before said event. This year I was reminded of a funny moment that took place last year.

A good friend, who I will refer to as “Princess,” was selling t-shirts for the dance studio as I was engaging her in intermittent conversation. At some point, she became busy and I stood back from the table. As I did so I found myself standing next to a slender figure in what appeared to me as dance clothes. Short shorts, t-shirt, etc. Not wanting this to be one of those uncomfortable moments, I decided to strike up a conversation with this person. After a few niceties which were noticeably not returned, I assumed that this person was lacking in manners. That is until I suddenly became aware that this person had not moved. This is when I became aware that I was trying to talk, heck, not trying but actually talking to a mannequin. A classic Magoo Moment. I laughed pretty hard at myself and when I shared this with my wife and daughter, well, let’s just say, I have not heard the end of this. Even this year when we approached the table where Princess was selling t-shirts, Alison couldn’t help herself. She said to me, “Looks like your girlfriend isn’t here this year.” The mannequin was left back at the dance studio.

For this week’s audio book review: “A Walk for Sunshine,” by Jeff Alt. Jeff takes the reader on his six- month adventure of walking the Appalachian Trail. He through-hikes from Georgia to Maine, completing the 2160-mile journey as a labor of love. Jeff’s brother was born with Cerebral Palsy and is mentally handicapped. As a result he lives in a facility that is properly able to care for him. Jeff, after stints in the Army and college, decides to hike to raise money for this facility. He raised over $16,000 dollars!

It is said that nearly two thousand people attempt to through-hike this trail every year, but eighty-five percent don’t finish. To complete this journey is truly remarkable and Jeff documents it in an informative and entertaining manner. He covers the characters he meets with trail names such as “pack rat” and the “vegetarians”. Some people were enjoyable and others were not. The weather, terrain and simplicity of worrying about very little (except for eating and sleeping) all hold weird sorts of attractiveness. They did to me and I suspect they might do for others. If hiking the trail is something you have ever thought of or are thinking of now, “A Walk for Sunshine” is a must read. Enjoy.