Too Proud To See

by Specs4ever

When I become overwhelmed by my world, and the pressures of life take me close to a point at which I start to loose my sanity, I jump on my Harley and head out of the city for a place in the country, where the panic rush of city life has is absent and everything is simplicity. I have no particular place or area that I ride to, but usually it is a 2- or 3-hour ride. I like to leave around sunup, and I avoid the Interstates and only ride on paved 2 lane roads. The roads I like the best are the ones that are winding and narrow with hills. Sometimes, I ride south into South Carolina, but today I had gone to the west, to the Smokey Mountain area on the Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee borders.

The road was windy enough to be a challenge, and I leaned into every curve, almost touching the pavement with the pegs. A rusty old speed limit sign loomed ahead of me, and I quickly braked the bike down to the 30-mile/hour limit. No way was I going to be the prize catch of the day for a local hillbilly sheriff. A quaint little mountain town loomed in front of me. The old, stately houses looked to be well kept with lots of trees and neatly mowed lawns. The town had an air of prosperity that was unusual for this area. As I rode slowly through the town, I found what I was looking for, and was even more surprised to see that it was a small, fairly modern, well-kept major chain, grocery store. It was getting close to lunchtime, and I often go to the local grocery, and buy some buns, cold cuts, and cheese, as well as a cold can of brew. Then, I find a place where I can safely leave the Harley, and I have a picnic in the woods, by myself, just the way I like it.

I entered the store, and saw one other customer walking the aisles. She was young – likely in her early 20’s, with a small child, who I took to be around 2-years of age, walking along beside her. I walked over to the area where they were shopping, and got a better look at the mother. She was tall, and a bit on the thin side, but she was quite pretty. And, I suppose that if she were a model, she would likely be just right, as thin seems to be in for the supermodels. She had long, straight blond hair that framed her face, making it appear almost angelic. I said “Good Morning,” and she looked at me with a vacant stare. Oh great – a gorgeous lady, and she is a mental midget. I grabbed my package of buns, and glanced at the lady again. She was looking at a can of food, holding the can very close to one of her eyes to see what it was. It apparently wasn’t what she wanted, so she put it down and picked up another can from the next shelf, and repeated the process of bringing the can right up to her eyes. And this time, I saw that she had closed one eye, and was looking at the can with the other eye. This lady seemed to be nearly blind. I guess that is why she gave me the vacant look.

“Could I help you find anything, Miss?” I asked.

“Oh, no sir, I can find most everything, ceptin when they change the store around,” she replied.

I don’t think I have ever taken longer to purchase buns, meat, and cheese in my life, but I managed to end up at the cashier’ counter right behind the young lady and the child. The cashier rang up her meager order, and when she counted out her money, she again held it very close to her eyes. It turned out, she was almost two dollars short.

“What can you do without this week, Lilly Mae?” asked the cashier.

Before Lilly Mae could answer, I took out a couple of ones, handed them to the cashier, and said, “It’s Ok, this is on me.”

“Mister, I won’t be beholden to nobody,” came her sharp reply.

“Ms, I don’t mean this as an insult, but with the money I make, and spend, this will not ever be noticed,” I replied.

She steadfastly refused to take my money, but knowing that her eyesight was extremely poor, I managed to signal the cashier to give Lilly Mae all the groceries she had chosen. The cashier went along with it, and made a slight of hand show about taking out one item, and reducing the bill accordingly. I then paid for my groceries, along with the extra item Lilly Mae had left the store with.

I asked the cashier about Lilly Mae, and was told that she never could see very well, even as a very small child. When she was 19, she had married Jim Bob, but Jim Bob got himself killed while cutting down a tree just before the baby was born, and now Lilly Mae was back living with her Dad in a trailer up in the woods. The cashier also volunteered that Lilly Mae’s Dad was pretty sick, and if he died, Lilly Mae and the baby would be by themselves and wouldn’t have any money, as the only income was her father’s pension check.

I had spent longer talking to the cashier than I wanted to, and when I left the store, I could see no sign of the girl and her child. She had intrigued me with her beauty, and although she was probably 10 years younger than I am, I wanted to know more about her. I fired up the bike, and rode a little way out of town, hoping to catch her walking on the side of the road. But, I must have chosen the wrong direction, as she was nowhere to be seen. I found a nice place to park the bike, but instead of going off into the woods, as I usually do, I made my sandwiches and drank my beer rather quickly.

After eating, I started the Harley, and cruised back into town, leaving the same way I had originally arrived. It had been around 30 minutes since Lilly Mae and her baby had left the store, and I felt that I would likely never see her again. Just as I was about to wind the bike up, I noticed Lilly Mae and her daughter sitting on the side of the road, a couple of miles from the town. I pulled over, put my kickstand down, and shut off the rumble of the Harley.

“Are you all right Miss, or do you need a hand,” I called out from across the road.

“I stepped into a hole on the side of the road, and my ankle hurts awful bad mister,” came her reply

I walked across the road to where she and her little girl were sitting, and I could see that her ankle was starting to swell. I offered to help her and her daughter home, and although I knew that it hurt her pride to accept help from a stranger, she accepted. She told me that she lived up the next road a ways, and that maybe I should take my bike off the main road, so it wouldn’t get stolen. That was exactly the thought that was in my mind, so I rode the bike up to the corner, turned up the dirt road, and found a tree that I could chain it to. Harleys’ are just too expensive to leave lying around without taking as many precautions as possible. I walked back to Lilly Mae, helped her up, and put her arm around my neck. We began to walk, or should I say her daughter and I walked, and Lilly Mae sort of hopped along. The groceries were in the hand I was holding her little girls hand in, and after a while I got very tired, so the three of us sat down for a rest.

“I aint ever done a stupid thing like this before,” Lilly Mae said. “ But, I got awful bad eyes, and I never seen the stupid hole.”

“I noticed back at the grocery store that you were not seeing very well. Do you know what is wrong with your eyes? Do you think you could you see if you had glasses?” I asked.

“My Pa took me to have my eyes tested in the city when I was about 12, and the doctor said I could probably see a whole lot better if’n I got glasses. But my Ma died, and Pa dint have no money for glasses. Then Jim Bob and me got married, and Jim Bob was workin to get enough money to see if he could get me glasses, when he got hisself killed. And ever since I was pregnant with Katlin, my eyes done got worst and worst, and now I kaint see hardly anything lest I hold things right close to ma eyes,” was her reply.

By this time, I was rested enough to go on, so the three of us continued with our little hop hop. We came around a corner, and in a clearing in the woods sat an old mobile home. The paint was faded, but the grounds were neat, and well kept. An old car sat beside the trailer, but I guessed that it probably didn’t run, and when I asked Lily Mae about the car she confirmed my thought.

An older gentleman was sitting on a bit of a front porch in a rocker, and he started to get up to come to help us as soon as he saw that Lily Mae was hopping along instead of walking. He helped her inside, and she lay down with some ice on her ankle. Lilly Mae’s father, who she introduced to me as John, then made me a cup of coffee, and thanked me for bringing his daughter home. As we sat on the front porch talking, he told me he had cancer, and was not expected to last until Christmas. He expressed his worries about his daughter and his granddaughter. I told him that I found his daughter very attractive, and that I would be extremely interested in dating her, if she wanted to go out with me, and if he approved. He seemed a bit surprised at this, but he indicated that he would not have a problem with it.

I decided that I should walk back down the road and get my Harley, so I did that. When I came back with the bike, Lilly Mae was sitting out on the porch, talking to her dad. I came up onto the porch, and John got up, and went inside, indicating to me that I should take his chair. I sat down, and Lilly Mae began talking.

“Daddy sez you wanna take me out on a date,” were her first words.

“ Yes, I would,” I replied. “I find you attractive, and I think that you are a nice person. I also want to take you into the city and have your eyes tested, and get you a pair of glasses so that we can determine if you can see properly.”

“We caint afford no glasses or no eye test, and I aint gonna be beholden to anyone,” came her response.

I had thought that this might be a problem, so I attempted to explain to Lilly Mae that unless she could see the things that I wanted to show her on a date, it would be a waste of time and money on my part. I also explained that I wanted her to be able to see me, and my surroundings better, so that she could decide if she liked me, and my way of life well enough to join me.

I had never met anyone before that was too proud to see, but this was one stubborn lady. Finally, I had her convinced that my buying her a pair of glasses could be considered a loan, and that after she had glasses that she could see things so much better, she would be able to find work, and pay me back. So, she agreed that she would let me make her an appointment with an optometrist for a week from Monday, and I would come up the following weekend to take her and Katlin back to the city.

As busy as it always was at work, the following week seemed to drag by at a snails pace. Finally, Friday night rolled around. On my way back into the city, I had seen a fairly nice motel, not too far from Lilly Mae’s trailer home, so I had made reservations for myself for Friday and Saturday night. I drove to the motel, checked into my room, and slept fitfully that night. Early the next morning, I drove to the trailer, and told Lilly Mae, and her Dad that I was going to buy them breakfast in town. By this time, Lilly Mae’s ankle was better, so she no longer needed my support, but bearing in mind her poor eyesight, I led her into the restaurant. I could tell that the darkness inside the restaurant was a real problem for Lilly Mae as she was squinting and blinking her eyes almost constantly, but she seemed able to cope, with a bit of help. After breakfast, we did some necessary grocery shopping, and returned to the trailer. I realized that it was a complete waste of time to take Lilly Mae anywhere to see the sights, but I asked John if he had anywhere special that he wanted to go. He thought it would be nice to go and see some of his relatives, so we did go for a drive. John had a great time, and I was pleased that I had offered to do this for him and Lilly Mae.

Sunday, we again went into town for lunch, and after lunch, Lilly Mae packed a bag for herself and Katlin. The three-hour drive back into the city went quickly, with Lilly Mae telling me about trying to go to school with her very poor eyesight. By the time she had reached the 4th grade she was not able to see anything on the blackboard, even from her seat in the first row, so she had failed, and had repeated that grade. When she was 12, and in the 5th grade, the school told her father that he had to get her eyes tested, so John had managed to get enough money to pay for an eye exam. Lilly Mae had brought along the prescription that she had gotten at that time, and I read it. Her eyes, when she was 12, required –12.25D x -0.50D x 180 for her right eye, and –11.75D x –0.75D x 165 in her left eye. I wasn’t sure what these numbers meant, but I knew that this was a whole lot stronger than my own –3.00D. And, I knew that I wasn’t too happy, if I had to go without my glasses or contact lenses for any length of time, so I figured that she was really in trouble and could not see much of anything.

I let Lilly Mae and Katlin sleep in my king sized bed, and I took the bed in the guest bedroom of my apartment. I had asked for the day off Monday, but the company was so busy, and so far behind in orders that my supervisor had convinced me to come in for the morning. I checked out at lunchtime, and went back to the apartment, where I had to wrestle Katlin away from the cartoons on my cable television. They didn’t even have a T.V. set at the trailer, so this was all new and very wonderful to Katlin.

I trusted my eye doctor to do a thorough examination for Lilly Mae, and when he was finished, he was good enough to sit down and discuss Lilly Mae’s vision problem with us. He had looked at her original prescription, and was amazed that she had been able to go another 10 years without getting glasses. But after he had obtained her new prescription, he was absolutely shocked, as her new prescription was now –19.75D for her right eye, and –19.50D for her left eye. He found that the little bit of astigmatism that she had when she was younger was no longer there. He had tested Lilly Mae’s eyes for retinal problems, for glaucoma, and every other possible problem, and he reported that her vision could be corrected to around 20/30 with the proper glasses. He also felt that with contact lenses Lilly Mae could probably reach the 20/20 mark. Though our most pressing problem was to get Lilly Mae a pair of glasses as soon as possible so she could see.

The doctor had a friend who owned an optical lens-grinding lab, so he phoned to see what his friend could do for us in an emergency situation. We were advised to come over, and the owner would do his best to make a pair of lenses for Lilly Mae. So we did.

The lab owner was an older, gray haired gentleman, and he was very interested in helping us out. He advised us that he could grind the lenses, but that the only optical blanks that he had immediately available, that would work for her prescription, were regular plastic. I think he called the blanks CR 39 plastic. He told me that these blanks had a –6D curve, and that he was going to use the –6D as the front base, and that he would then grind the balance of the power into the back side of the lens, but the lenses would be quite thick. We told him we didn’t care, as long as Lilly Mae could see. Lilly Mae had chosen a black plastic frame, with an oval lens shape. The size was fairly small – a 47-18, so we were hoping that the lenses would not be too thick, but at this point, all we wanted was a pair of glasses as soon as possible.

It was close to 5:00 pm, when the lab owner came out with Lilly Mae’s glasses. She put them on, and was so delighted that she was able to see that she began to cry, more from joy than from anything else. The lenses were thick – a little bit over ½” at the thickest point, but the thickness was no problem, as long as Lilly Mae could see. And from what I could notice, Lilly Mae seemed to be able to see very clearly. I paid the owner of the lab for Lilly Mae’s glasses, and we drove back to the apartment.

Lilly Mae was so enthusiastic with her vision that she wanted to see everything all at once. After supper, I got my next-door neighbor’s daughter to sit with Katlin, and Lilly Mae and I went to a movie. Lilly Mae had never been to a movie before and was as happy as a little girl, and when we came back to the apartment, after first asking me if I wanted to sleep with her, she put Katlin to bed in the spare bedroom.

Our first night of sleeping together amounted to just hugging, kissing, and holding. But, I was definitely sexually aroused by her, besides being extraordinarly pretty, she has a nice body with ample breasts that had beautiful protruding nipples. But to me, sex is a very precious gift between two people that love each other, and I wasn’t yet sure that what I felt for her was love. I know I lusted for her, but that is different. By the end of the week though, we had made love several times and sex had become a part of our lives, and I knew that I wanted to marry Lilly Mae, but with her father in such poor health, I also knew that Lilly Mae had to go back to the trailer to look after him.

So, for the next few months, I spent my weekends traveling up to a trailer home in the Smokies. John’s health gradually deteriorated to the point where he was on pain killing drugs all the time. Finally he passed away, and I would like to think that he died knowing that his daughter and granddaughter had found someone to be with for the rest of her life.

We got married at a mountain church in a private little ceremony with just my relatives and a couple of hers, and we moved to a little house in the suburbs of the city where I worked. Once in a while, we will drive back up into the hills and spend the weekend at the trailer, which John left to Lilly Mae, and in the solitude of the mountains, I am especially able to reflect on how lucky I was to have come this way and find my special girl. She is still a very proud woman, but now, at least, she has glasses and can see things quite clearly.

Specs4ever, with much assistance from A.J.
Sept, 2001