Two for 51 and counting

For 51 years, I’ve worn glasses. I got my first pair when I was 16, after failing the Missouri vision exam when I applied for my driver’s license. Until that time, I just assumed the world was a bit of a blur to everyone.

One of my most vivid memories is putting on my new glasses, walking out of Paul’s Optical on the Plaza in Kansas City, and seeing the big fountain there, with water spraying out of the colossal horses’ noses. I could see every droplet! Who knew?
I’ve worn glasses – big ones, little ones, plastic frames, and wire rims — ever since. Mine survived foolishness in college; two years in the Army, including one trudging around Vietnam; and 45 years in the newspaper business.
In all that time, I never broke a pair. When I met Jenny, I was wearing glasses that she thought had to be at least 10 years old — her way of saying they were out of style, I imagine. But why replace frames, I thought, when there was nothing wrong with them.
… Until a couple of months ago, that is. That was when I came in after mowing the yard, took a shower, and then couldn’t find my glasses. It turned out I had left them on the bedspread and then sat on the bed while I was getting dressed.
The frames were mangled and the lenses had fallen out. How could I have been so stupid? I thought. I was particularly chastened because I had just given our son Joe a big lecture about not being careful after he had broken his glasses a few weeks earlier.
Luckily though, the optical shop still had my same frames, so in a few minutes, the optician had put my lenses into the new frames and I was on my way. Oh well, one pair of broken frames in 51 years wasn’t bad, I reasoned.
Make it two. Last week, I broke the new frames. I don’t really know if I broke them. I just know they got broken while I was trying to break up a dog fight.
You read that right – a dog fight. It all started when we were walking our three dogs around the neighborhood, something we do every afternoon. Often as we pass one house, we see a beautiful white Alaskan husky on a chain lying in the front yard. She’s a friendly tag-wagger who rarely gets up when we go by.
But this day was different. The husky raced toward the street, broke out of the collar and jumped on our Boston terrier, who, for once, hadn’t picked this fight. In the melee, my glasses ended up on the ground, broken. (As it turns out, it wasn’t the same dog we usually see. The tail-wagger was in the fenced back yard; the family had gotten a second dog and the two weren’t getting along.)
Anyhow, off we went Saturday morning to the optical shop. The optician heard my poor-luck story, took a look at the frames, and then she said with a smile, “They must have been defective. See, they’re missing a piece. No charge.”
In five minutes I had new frames.
Sometimes a sad tale can be priceless!

T. Wayne Mitchell, Gazette publisher, can be reached at 662-534-6321 or at