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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
The eyes have it! (02/17/2008)
By Janet Lewis Burns
A recent eye-opening fad has been sweeping through subway terminals in American cities. It seems certain individuals are catching subway rides without their pants on (on purpose). What is the statement here? "I'm too sexy for my pants?"¯ More like an eyesore.

Since one doesn't make eye contact with anyone on the bustling street or in a bus or subway, according to city commuters, people have been forced to eyeball colorful boxer shorts, knobby knees, and hairy limbs. Eye yie yie!

In small-town USA, people have no qualms about looking one another in the eyes, perhaps flustering and irritating transients. In Winona County, locals stand out in crowds because of family resemblances, the ease at which they greet one another everywhere, or maybe they're recognized from somewhere they work.

It was written all over my face. The other day, a pleasant young man with "Jon"¯ on his shirt helped me find something in a Winona store. Detecting my pain, through my bent back and frowning face, he insisted on carrying my basket to the checkout for me. It made my day!

There's a charming waitress at Wasons who makes a point to greet me with compliments and encouraging words about my columns. Thanks for tuning in, Bertie!

I had an experience a couple of years ago that just goes to show you there are kind people out there who dare to get involved when they notice someone in need of help, and dive right in without hesitation, often risking their own safety.

I had been visiting my late Aunt Ellen at her HCO home on Winona's East 8th when we decided to go on a wheelchair excursion, though I had never operated one of those contraptions before. What's to know?

Anyway, we set out at a lively clip, talking up a storm. My delightful Aunt Ellen was nearly deaf so I doubt she heard a word I said. I felt giddy, as though we were running away from all restrictions on a picture-perfect day! It reminded me of the nursing home escape in the old George Burns movie (except Auntie didn't smoke cigars!)

Not every curb is handicapped accessible, as we found out! When I pushed the buggy off the curb, the foot pedals seemed to melt into the pavement, nearly tipping Ellen into the steamy street. She began hollering in her own endearing way. It was all I could do to hold onto her thankfully small body to keep her from sliding out into the street!

Like a bolt out of the blue, two young men had pulled up at the stop sign. Detecting the anxiety and desperation in our expressions, they jumped out of their car and immediately set Ellen aright.

She turned on her charm, as she was quite flattered by all the attention. She had little mercy on me, however, playing into my guilt by repeatedly ranting, "Janet dumped me in the street!"¯ Maybe it was the crazed look of fear in my eyes as I tried to discern if she was hurt, but in a blink of an eye she burst into gut-busting laughter. The sparkle in Aunt Ellen's eyes ignited a warm glow in mine with each unpredictable visit.

As I looked those angels of mercy in the eyes to graciously thank them, they grinned and nodded through their olive skin, not understanding what I'd said. Words had not been needed.

Our eyes often tell the story. You know how it is with sisters and that mischievous exchange between us when we hear or see something that reminds us of a family joke"¦private, silent communications.

What wife hasn't rolled her eyes at a husband's remark at one time or another? It's that evil eye he'd better watch out for if he gets the notion to ogle over that classy blonde who walks her dog by the house every morning. Let's face it, we don't always see eye-to-eye!

You never know when you could be a godsend to someone. Keep your eyes open"¦and follow your heart.

Janet Burns lives in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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