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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, December 9 2001

Happy birthday

Yesterday, December 8, was my guide dog Lucky's fifth birthday. We took him to Wal-Mart and he picked out his own squeaky toy. I know for most of you this is more information you didn't want to know. However, I thought I would write about a walk Lucky and I took in Johnstown this summer and in the process answer questions regarding guide dogs that many have asked me over the past three years since Lucky and I have been a team.

We began our walk on the south side of Main Street at the end nearest Point Stadium. The day was hot, sunny, and hazy, the worst possible conditions for me to see anything with the small amount of vision I have remaining. I took the harness handle in my left hand and off we flew. Remember, Lucky is an 85-pound black Lab with the pulling power of a small horse. When we reached the first intersection where the traffic is controlled by a stop sign, Lucky stopped at the curb just as he was trained to do.

I heard no cars, so I commanded Lucky, "Forward." At the far side of the street he failed to stop, a bad habit he got into and I haven't corrected. If there is a step up at the curb, he will stop. However, nearly all curbs are cut now for wheelchair access. This was new territory for him and he was excited. I hung on and we whizzed by slower pedestrians. At the intersection with Walnut Street, Lucky stopped abruptly.

I will interject some information at this point to clarify some misconceptions about guide dogs. They cannot tell when it is appropriate to go. They do not know the difference between red and green lights. The guide dog handler has to make all the decisions. If you see a blind person taking extra time before proceeding across an intersection, it is because he is listening to traffic and trying to discern the sequence of the lights and the different traffic flows allowed.

The intersection of Walnut and Main is easy, because both streets are one-way. As soon as I hear the traffic move on Main Street, I know it's okay to go. If I would make a bad move and step in front of a car, Lucky would pull me back. We cross Walnut and continue past Lee Hospital and we weave our way through many people till Lucky stops us at the corner of Main and Market.

This intersection is a little more difficult, since traffic on Main Street can make a right turn onto Market. Also, this intersection has a walk/don't walk cycle that is short and confusing. I used to put trust in other pedestrians and go with them. That foolishness stopped one day when I found myself in the middle of an intersection dodging cars.

After a few cycles of the lights, I command Lucky, "Forward." I step off the curb and Lucky jerks me backward. A car decided to make a turn onto Market Street. I collected myself and soon we were across the intersection and continuing down Main.

To be continued next Sunday.


Getting Older (part of a series)


1. Sag, You're it
2. Pin the toupee on the bald guy
3. 20 questions shouted into your good ear
4. Kick the bucket
5. Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says Bend Over
6. Doc Doc Goose
7. Simon says something incoherent
8. Hide and go pee
9. Spin the Bottle of Mylanta
10. Musical recliners

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Advent thought for the day

Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me, so I may trust in that. But God won't do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God—a very rare thing. We have only faith in our feelings. I dont believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it, then I say, "now I believe." There is no faith exibited in that. God says, "look to me and be saved..."(Isaiah 45:22). When I have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement—no human ingredient in it at all. Instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy.

— Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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