I came from good people.
I didn't always know that.
You know, it's funny. When I was 18 I sustained an eye injury. (Okay, maybe it wasn't THAT funny.) The coral I was sterilizing for my fish tank overheated and exploded. I was hit in the eye, scratching my cornea and the rebound of the hit resulted in what the medical folks among you will recognize as a contra-coup lesion of my retina. Think of it like whiplash of the eye...it gets smashed in and then snaps forward and the snapping forward part was strong enough to cause a bit of a tear at the back of my eyeball.
That wasn't the significant part though. The significant part was when the doctor told me I had "the retinas of a 60 year old." During the exam they discovered I had little deposits on both my retina, called drusen, that signify the early stages of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a condition that ultimately results in a person losing the center of their field of vision so they can only see things around the edges or periphery. At 42, I still see fine. Full field of vision. No need for you to worry. (You were a little worried, weren't you?)
Well, I realize that there is actually a lot to be said for peripheral vision and that's how I discovered that I came from good people.
When you look at my parents straight on, this is what you might see: My father is a retired heating and air conditioning wholesaler from the South Side of Chicago. He's mostly a hermit who is happy with his dogs and his garden. He doesn't call. He's not a social butterfly. Never a gabby man, his hearing loss has made him even less so over the years. My mom had 4 kids and a high school education and when the apartment complex she worked for was bought out by a new company and she was let go the only job she could find at age 60 was as a pit clerk in a casino in Northwest Indiana.
Pretty simple people, really. You might notice them shopping at Sears or seated at the table next to you at The Wagon Wheel ordering the Country Breakfast.
But when you start to shift your gaze, you see in my father a man who passed up a chance to attend the Art Institute of Chicago to run a heating and air conditioning warehouse so he could support his family. You'd see a 73 year old man who still talks to his best friend from 1st grade nearly every day. A man with the touch of St. Francis (his name is Frank by the way) who could probably get a grizzly bear to eat from his hand. And you would see in my mother a woman who turned away from a full college scholarship because she wanted to be a mom. And you'd hear her laugh. And you'd notice how no matter where she went somehow people in need would always see that she was someone who would listen to them and they would readily seek her advice. You'd see a woman who, although she can't always afford it, appreciates craftsmanship and quality and the history behind an artfully wrought object.