The Journey

11 Oct

by William Grant Pendill

I am about to set forth on the longest and possibly strangest journey of my life.  Normally, on a journey of any length, I take  five pieces of  luggage.  On this trip, I am taking only four.  I am forced to leave one  suitcase behind.  The four suitcases are labeled: hearing, touch, taste and smell.  The fifth suit case is called “sight,” but I am not allowed to take it. 

 Why is this? 

 It is because I have an eye affliction called Glaucoma.  I am losing my  sight.  I am going blind.  I am entering the land of darkness, the land of  blindness. 

 My task now is to make certain that each of the four suitcases I  can take  with me has all the items necessary.  My current access to sight allows  me to plan this.  Things like a poem, an essay, a piece of furniture, a  sculpture, the taste of a piece of pie, the smell of hot cocoa.  You  understand. 

 In this assignment, I am lucky to have the help of my best friend —
actually, my mother.  She has taken this journey and so can ounsel me on what to pack in the four suitcases I am privileged to take. 

 Years ago, I helped her pack for her journey. 

 I would be more than glad to help you pack if you find yourself faced with  such a journey. 

 Just call. 

 The end.

Bill Pendill was born in Oak Park, Illinois and graduated from Dartmouth College with honors in literature and art in 1950.  He served in the U. S. Navy during World War II.   His eclectic and award-winning career covered the fields of advertising, television, supermarketing and education.  He is the author of several articles and two books.  In 2011, Bill celebrated his 85th birthday, his fourth as a resident of Friedman Place in near north Chicago.  For this essay, transcription services were provided by Sharon M. Tryba

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2 Responses to “The Journey”

  1. Barbara Hartnack October 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM #

    Bill: I am so touched, what a wonderful poem/essay. I am not becoming blind, but I am making the journey to the final moments with you as I age. It is comforting to know your thoughts and feeling that touch us all. Barbara Hartnack

    • Jean November 29, 2011 at 1:46 PM #

      Bill, this touched me as well. My older brother became diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 30. He is now nearing 34 and the doctors say that he will lose his sight in a matter of years… I will show him your poem and he’ll know that even though he may not be able to carry his sight suticase on this journey, he’ll have other suitcases that we, his loving family, can help him pack…

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