If you enjoy the following excerpt from my newest book, The Blind Visionary, which I co-authored with Virginia Jacko, president & CEO of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, you’ll want to order your copy of the book when it comes out in mid-December.
This excerpt is from The Blind Visionary, “Part Two – The Miami Lighthouse: Personal and Professional Rebirth”.
One Saturday, when I was back at my condo in Miami, Tracker and I were walking along my condo property looking onto Biscayne Bay. You know, your guide dog is trained to lead you when the harness is on. I was just bending over to put the harness on Tracker when, unknown to me, as I found out later from a security guard, a nanny came along with a baby buggy and cut between Tracker and the grass where he was finishing doing his thing. When I bent over to put the harness on, Tracker stepped to the side to let the nanny and buggy pass between the grass and him; this meant I also stepped to the right and immediately realized my right foot was not on the ground but, like in slow motion, I was on my way into the Bay. I’d never seen Biscayne Bay, of course, and naturally I never thought about whether the tide was out or in. That’s wasn’t a small thing, since at low tide the drop would have been about twenty feet – onto cement-like sand and rock.
So I told myself to let go of Tracker, since it’d be tremendously difficult to get him out of the Bay on a ladder, and I resigned myself to having a swim, just like in a pool. Indeed, the tide was in and the water was deep, so it really was like falling into a swimming pool. When I came up, a gentleman who was standing on the sea wall looking down at me yelled, “Virginia, I’m a friend of your husband’s. How can I help?” By the way, I was a little embarrassed since I was sure he’d heard the expletive that popped out of my mouth when I got my breath – understandable, but not my normal style. Bobbing in the water, I looked up and said calmly, “Oh, why don’t we get a ladder so I can climb back up.” That’s what he did, and I climbed back up to the sea wall, to the applause of a crowd of onlookers that’d gathered for the unplanned entertainment. What a sight I must have been! Someone was nice enough to walk with me and Tracker back to my apartment. Tracker had just stayed on the edge watching the show, by the way. I thought to myself, “Virginia you’ve got to change your clothes pronto and get back out there and walk around.” And that’s exactly what I did. You see, Doug, for one thing I didn’t want to get scared and lose my confidence. And I wanted people to see I was alright and not to worry.