Not too long ago, I was visiting Powell’s Books with my mom. We decided to have lattes, so we wandered into the cafe. As we waited for our drinks among the several other people who were doing the same thing, we noticed a gray-haired lady who was knitting away at a pink preemie hat. She was going incredibly fast, and the work looked like it had been done by a machine. Then we noticed that this lady wasn’t even looking at what she was doing – she was just kind of staring forward.
Mom’s curiosity got the best of her, and she went over to introduce herself and ask the lady how she did such perfect work without looking.
It turns out that the lady has Macular Degeneration, a condition in which the center lining of the eye suffers thinning and atrophy. It causes blindness in the center of vision, and gradually spreads so that one can only see through the ‘corners’ of their eye. I have a family friend with the same condition, and it is a very debilitating thing to have.
This lady in the Powell’s cafe was sitting and waiting for her friends… since she cannot see the book titles, much less read the books, she chose to work on her charity preemie hats project. She knits by feel, and has been doing it for years, so she hardly needs to pay attention. Not only was she knitting, she was talking to my mom while doing it, and going along with the needles like there was nothing out of the ordinary.
I wanted to give her a hug, just for getting through all that. And doing most of her blind work for charity. She was a true inspiration.