Blind Leo Takes a Drive

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"Hey Boy!! Get away from those dogs!! They're vicious!"

I snapped my hand back, looking up at the tall crotchety old man restraining the animals by their leash. Gazing at the vicious beasts, I saw that they were leaning towards me, straining on the leash, tails wagging their entire bodies in anticipation of any affection they might receive from me.

"They don't look vicious," I said, "leaning back in ."

"Well, they are!! Get back!" With that, Blind Leo yanked the two dogs with their leash, making them yelp, and dragging them down the street.

I did not understand why a blind man needed two see and eye dogs, and I certainly did not understand why he was dragging them instead of letting them lead him.

My dad said he wasn't sure Leo was blind, but Leo sure wanted us to believe so. He used a long white cane, and whipped it back and forth everywhere he walked, clearing a path through pedestrians as they dove out of the way.

The cane would hit the sides of buildings, poles, anything in it's path, snapping a warning that Blind Leo was coming! Leo seemed to believe the cane was to get everyone out of his way, not to direct himself around other people.

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When Blind Leo came to an intersection, he would pause, wave the cane in front of him, and start walking. If the walk light did not happen to be in his favor, Blind Leo didn't know, or seem to care. Tires would squeal as cars stopped to avoid hitting him.

Leo seemed to believe that since he was blind, the world should just stay out of his way, and give him whatever he wanted.

He used to have one large see and eye dog, which appeared to be trained for that purpose. Leo would beat the dog with his stick, and word was that the dog trainers took the poor animal away from Leo. For quite a while, he did not have any dogs, and then he came up with these two lovable mutts.

If the dogs were vicious, it was only to Leo, who mistreated them.

We noticed something peculiar for a blind man. When a good looking woman would walk by, Leo would turn his head as if looking. Perhaps he had psychic powers'

Leo would walk in to the grocery store and hand my dad a list, "Here, find these for me!" No please or thank you, just a demand. Dad of course would oblige and get the items politely for him. When Leo paid for the groceries, he would hold the money right up to his eyes, indicating that he did have a little sight.

Leo lived in a little house, on the side of a hill. The condition of his house actually helped to confirm that Leo was blind. It would seem anyone with sight would have been appalled at the condition.

I helped to install a deck on the side of Leo's house one summer. Dave Grimshaw, a local contractor, hired me to give him a hand with it. I did not understand why we were doing it, but Dave said it was being paid for by the state. The house itself was worth no more than $7000.00, but we were putting a $3000.00 deck on it.

While I worked on the house, Leo complained about how long it had taken the state to get off their duff and put this porch on for him. I pictured some poor state worker being bombarded with complaints from Leo until they finally gave in and gave him his deck.

Leo was well know around town, because he spent a lot of time walking. Everyone knew that this was Blind Leo.

And then it happened. Leo's mother lived at the top of Thurmond Hill, a steep paved road. It was a nice day, sunny, clear skies.

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Key Facts:

Size: Small
Height: 25 - 27 cm (10 - 11 inches)
Weight: 6.4 - 8.1 kg (14 - 18 lb)
Life .....
I observed that Leo's mother was backing out of her driveway in her old car. Seemed odd, because she hadn't driven that in quite a long time, usually depending on Leo to bring her groceries and medicine.

As the car backed into the street, and started to come down the hill, it wobbled toward the middle of the road. Then the panic started, someone screamed, "It's blind Leo! Watch out!!" I looked, and sure enough, Blind Leo was driving the car, was he crazy'

People who had been on sidewalks ran up between houses to get out of the way, Leo proceeded down to the first intersection and took a right on to Burkett Street.

People coming towards Leo in other cars, recognizing who was at the wheel, would suddenly drive off the road up onto the sidewalks to get out of the way!

Blind Leo was taking a drive!

As I watched Leo drive down Burkett Street out of view, I could still hear horns honking, and tires screeching!

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