“A Different View” UB Articles

One of our members, Ernie Jones, writes a monthly column about various aspects of blindness for the Union Bulletin called, “A Different View“. Below is a list of links to his published columns:

01/14/2016 NOTE: The Union Bulletin has switched to a new content management system for their web site and as a result the links below for articles published before 2016 no longer work. We’re working with them to see if we can get these articles back online as soon as possible.

Title Published Excerpt
‘Blind’ as a bat: Neither literally nor figuratively true 1/12/2016 “I once knew this little lady who was blind as a bat,” spoke a woman as my wife Dorothy and I were leaving the church. “Her husband would lead her around by her hand — it was so cute!” Then, after catching her breath, she added — while still looking at my wife — “Well, how is Ernie?”
Mysterious nighttime noisemaker needles homeowners 9/8/2015 Having always lived in a one-family house, I was not used to hearing sounds above me. But one night it seemed like a new resident was taking up housekeeping overhead
Driving blind: Fun at every turn 8/11/2015 We had just arrived, expecting to spend a couple of restful days with family who lived on the banks of an inlet of the Pend Oreille River, when my nephew said, “Tomorrow you will drive the Rhino, the John Deere and the zero turn.”
Blind don’t see sharp, still can be natural musicians 7/14/2015 “Ernie, will you join the church choir if I join?” asked a friend who was losing his eyesight.
Eating in the dark 6/9/2015

I was taken aback one day while eating at a large potluck. A man sitting next to me asked, “How much can you see?”

Column: Blind don’t need looking out for 5/12/2015 While talking to an acquaintance we had known for years, my wife said, “I am taking an extended trip back east to assist our daughter. I may be gone over a month.”
Column – Despite blindness, life can be great 4/14/2015 In last month’s column I related people’s thoughts about going blind. This month I’d like to present what people have told me about learning to cope with blindness after the initial shock lessened, and what they did with their lives. No one wants to be blind, but life can still be great.
Column: The blind share their viewpoints 3/10/2015 How would you face blindness if today you were told you were going blind? As follows are things other blind people have shared with me, as we try to show that blindness may not be all bad.
Column: Well-behaved dogs allowed to fly 2/10/2015 Several months ago I heard a news report about a blind man and his guide dog being removed from an airplane, after the crew stated the dog was disruptive. I don’t know the full situation, but would like to make a few comments.
How the blind make themselves at home 1/13/2015 When planning a move, people typically check out the new house or apartment to make sure there are enough bedrooms and bathrooms. Will the kitchen be serviceable, and is there room for all your furniture and other belongings? You will want to know where the nearest school is, how far to the supermarket, how far to your work and what the neighborhood is like.
Column: ‘Seeing’ without eyesight 12/30/2014 The words slam into you as you hear the doctor say, “I can’t restore your eyesight. You will be going blind.”
Sight not needed to have ‘vision’ 11/11/2014 I often hear a person has impaired vision. Why is one considered impaired just because they are blind? To me, being impaired means the person is unable to perform normal daily tasks. True, we can’t drive the family car — something that is really hard to give up — and we usually can’t read normal print. But does that make us impaired?
Column: Guide dogs like to have fun, too 10/14/2014 Did you know our guide dogs like to enjoy life, even if this may not be according to the strict laws of being a guide dog? Here are a few examples of the other side of the guide dog existence.
For pity’s sake, get a grip 9/9/2014 Have you ever had a Poor-me Pity Party? If honest, I think every person at one time or another has had such a party. Why did this happen to me? Why did I trip over that crack in the sidewalk? Why did my marriage fail? Why did I go blind?
Industrious or foolish? Depends on your point of view 8/12/2014 Growing up, I was taught that the fact that I was very nearsighted and had to wear thick glasses was no excuse to be lazy. I was expected to do my share of house, yard and garden work, the same as my other siblings. Thus, I have never been one who likes to ask for help in doing needed work, such as simple construction and yard care, regardless of the task. I do remember many times when a friendly neighbor offered to do certain jobs and how much I really appreciated his help, but I can’t let blindness stand in my way.
Column: How to talk to the blind 7/8/2014 Do you know how to greet a blind person you meet? I’d like to share some examples of how you, the sighted, can respectfully interact with the blind.
Guide dog keeps her charge out of hot water during hike along lake 6/10/2014 “Watch out!” my brother shouted.
Without accessible buttons, appliances are out of control 5/13/2014 Blind people have quite a difficult time operating devices that have hidden or confusing controls. But many appliance manufactures use hidden grids of controls, and remote controls feature arrays of identical buttons. Is it because this is supposed to look better? Is it because they can crowd more controls into one small box?
Insomnia issues shed light on circadian disorder 4/8/2014 With the aid of a sleeping pill I had fallen asleep shortly after turning the light out, but was wide-awake two and a half hours later. Many nights I got only two hours of sleep.
Variety of resources available for the blind 3/11/2014 “So what am I to do?” I asked. Just a few weeks earlier, noting a problem, I had made this appointment with my ophthalmologist, never expecting this verdict.
This dog is more than just a man’s best friend 2/11/2014 ‘I can sure tell whose dog he is,” the field trainer said, smiling, as he watched Randy. “That dog has eyes only for you; he is your dog for sure.”
Columnist breaks down macular degeneration 1/14/2014 Crash! — and the glass full of water fell to the floor.
Blind technician oversees setup of new computer 12/10/2013 I grew up doing garden and yard work, so although I’m blind now, caring for a garden is not that difficult. But when it comes to upgrading to a new computer I am lost.
‘Seeing’ can involve more than meets the eye 11/12/2013 People use their eyes to see the beauty that lies all around them — the blue sky, fluffy white clouds and that old crow perched on top of the spruce tree. With their eyes they see the storm clouds rolling in from the west and they see that blackened area where a recent fire swept through.
Mountain trail no match for blind hiker’s resolve 10/8/2013 ‘You are going to do what?” My wife Dorothy and I, along with my guide dog Randy, were at our yearly church campout. As in past years we looked forward to having a great time visiting, sharing and, of course, eating delicious food. But I had another plan: To once again hike up the rugged mountain trail that climbed the hill directly behind the camp.
Readers respond to Ernie’s columns 9/10/2013 I’m encouraged when I hear that something I have written has helped another person, so in this column I want to report and comment on a few calls I have had over the past months.
For service dog training, there’s no place like home 8/13/2013 Heritage Service Dogs, an Oregon nonprofit corporation, is an agency located in Milton-Freewater. The agency, operated by Barb Pierce, breeds AKC-registered standard poodles specifically to work with the disabled, and also assists people with disabilities through the process of selecting and training their own service dog.
Week pays tribute to hard-working service dogs 7/9/2013 This is the first in a two-part series about service dogs and the benefits they provide to humans. The second part will be published in August.
Going blind is not end of life 6/18/2013 Why do many people think going blind is the worst thing that could befall them? When told they are legally blind they go home and try to hide this fact from their family, their neighbors and friends. For some reason they don’t want anyone knowing they are blind and because of this reticence they miss out of a lot of life.
Out to pasture on a four-wheeler 5/14/2013 “Ernie, how about taking a ride on the four-wheeler?” my nephew, Loren, asked me that warm summer day.
Woodlands trek experienced by touch, smell and hearing 4/23/2013 Although a light coat felt good as we started our walk this late spring morning, there was a promise of a warm day.
Randy’s day to be the classroom pet 3/26/2013 With a confident stride, Randy took me down the long hall at Rogers Elementary School in College Place.
Visions of snow and warmer memories 2/26/2013 I listen to the conversation as the van carried us up the hills that cold December afternoon. I must confess that I was going along, not because of my desire but just to please the others who were bent on getting wet and cold in the snow.
A few words on speaking with and among the blind 11/27/2012 “Hello,” I hear a voice say to my wife and me as we pass the crowded foyer.
All in a day’s work for a service dog 10/16/2012 I am often asked how long it takes to train a guide dog. The short answer is, the life of the guide dog.
Vision disorder not a show-stopper for kids 10/2/2012 “Watch out where you’re going,” Jim shouted to his friend.
DIFFERENT VIEW: Good dog owners make good neighbors 8/21/2012 I expected some response from the blind community after my July 24 column about the attack on my guide dog several years ago and a continuing problem of unattended animals. But I was not prepared for the volume I received from sighted folk.
Unruly dogs turn stroll into a walk on the wild side 7/24/2012 The attack caught me completely off guard and in mid-stride I was jerked around to face the direction I had just come from. I found my guide dog lying on the pavement with the attacking dog just out of my reach, growling menacingly at us.
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Unruly dogs turn stroll into a walk on the wild side 7/24/2012 The attack caught me completely off guard and in mid-stride I was jerked around to face the direction I had just come from. I found my guide dog lying on the pavement with the attacking dog just out of my reach, growling menacingly at us.What had started
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Phantom vision a phenomena when loss of eyesight occurs 5/15/2012 I was sitting in my favorite recliner chair watching what I could still see on the television screen. Other than the TV, the room was quiet and I wasalone. For some reason I turned my face and nearly jumped.
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Help is there, but first you have to want it 4/17/2012 ‘I don’t need any help; I am doing fine,” the husband said.Turning to walk out the door, he cracked his head on the door jam.’So I bump into things, but so do many with good eyesight,” he said to his wife while rubbing at the pain on his head. ‘Besides, w
A DIFFERENT VIEW – One man, one dog and a world of trust 2/21/2012 One early autumn morning a while back my brothers, nephew and I decided to walk the four-mile trail that wandered from end to end along Sullivan Lake in northern Idaho.Although it had rained during the night, the morning ushered in blue skies. Immediately
A DIFFERENT VIEW – A view to last for a lifetime 1/10/2012 It was a crisp autumn day as I walked up the lonely gravel road years ago near Colville. The sun shone brightly on the hillside; no smog dulled the atmosphere.A chill hovered in the narrow valley, and I zipped up my wind breaker as I walked through the sh
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Sound and fury of a windstorm creates images of nature 12/20/2011 After zipping up my coat we headed out for my guide dog Randy’s first morning relieving. Not a bird did I hear singing from tree or shrub, but that didn’t mean the world was silent. There was a roar, almost like a freight train as the wind howled through
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Glaucoma a stealthy eye disease 11/15/2011 I remember the day clearly.’You have glaucoma,” my eye doctor said. ‘Put these drops in your eyes three times a day.”
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Blind or not, tear down dark walls of pity 11/1/2011 The sun seemed to hide behind a dark wall as I listened to my ophthalmologist:”You are legally blind, your work as a nurse is over. No more driving, no more using the mower, saw or garden tiller … .”And the list of what I couldn’t do continued.
The long, visionary road to Randy 9/20/2011 That I can move about independently in my rural Walla Walla County neighborhood with the help of my guide dog is owed to horrors of a long ago war and a young Tennessean who, like me, had been frustrated with his limited mobility due to blindness.A Vander
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Sight or no, life is a learning experience 8/30/2011 For the blind, finding one’s way may take practice but is very workable.A mechanic needs training before to work on your car’s engine. The auto body repairman needs training if he is to do good work. It takes training to become a good computer repairman,
A DIFFERENT VIEW – No need for eyesight to enjoy local birds 7/19/2011 I wake to the song of a robin perched high in the maple tree just outside our bedroom window. Then from high in the locust tree floats out the lovely trill of the meadowlark.While taking my guide dog out for his morning relieving I listen to a myriad of b
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Unfamiliar surroundings pose challenges for sight impaired 6/14/2011 I am independent when in my own familiar surroundings, but drop me in an unknown place and my independence may waver. Thus was a recent trip to the south hill of Spokane, an area I knew many years ago.I doubt I could have been any more confused as we walk
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Guide dog training continues at home 5/17/2011 There is a lot more in the training of a guide dog after the dog is placed in the home with the blind person than most people realize. Actually the training goes on continually.Different schools will vary to some degree in their methods.Once the dog is pr
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Blind pet teaches lessons 4/12/2011 This is not my normal column and I hope this is okay as I am stepping out just a little to share with you a couple letters I received recently. They may explain more regarding blindness and whether to help or not to help a blind person.”One thing I’ve not
Program helps blind write 1/11/2011 Thanks to the advancement of this electronic age there is a way that almost everyone can use the computer.
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Winter wonderland full of silence, sounds as well as snow 12/14/2010 The air had a bite to it as my guide dog and I set off on our walk that quiet, frosty morning.
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Visiting another home a challenge to blind 11/9/2010 Have you ever thought what it might be like for a blind person to enter a house he has never been in before? This can be challenging, interesting, confusing and at times, even amusing, as a recent weekend visiting family might show.First, I had to remembe
DIFFERENT VIEWS – Road construction turns walk into a mystery 9/7/2010 For several hours, I had puzzled over the noise rolling across the valley. It didn’t sound like farm machinery, and that was all I could think of. Only after my wife told me there was road construction could I put a picture to the noise. Thus, that mor
FOOD & FAMILY – Preparation is the key to successful gardening 7/13/2010 Whether people do gardening or have never had garden sreally makes little difference in their reaction to the news that I grow a large garden. The most common question is, “How do you tell a weed from a good plant?”The answer is knowing what is growing in
A DIFFERENT VIEW – Guide dog’s harness a multipurpose tool 6/8/2010 Frequently I am asked what the guide dog’s harness handle or leash are used for. The dog harness has evolved over the years and may vary from training school to training school. Though the leather is thick and strong, the harness is light weight. I do rem

NOTICE: Links to Ernie’s articles are presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion here does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the United Blind of Walla Walla.