My Friend Lloyd

I worked with Lloyd for 35 years and he is still one of my closest friends. We are both old retired farts and we get together from time to time for coffee to catch up and exchange witticisms. He thinks I am funny, so I love having him around. He is a gentle and interesting man and I cherish his insights into the workings of the human mind.

I used to listen to MPR in my office and Lloyd would stop by and listen with me. One day I had the radio on and was grading papers so I wasn’t really listening, though I did realize that I was listening to Beethoven’s violin concerto. Lloyd listened for a while and asked if it was Fritz Kreisler playing. I didn’t know, because I had turned the radio on part way through the piece, but when they identified the performer after the piece was finished it turned out it wasn’t Kreisler. But it was a student of his whom Lloyd recognized immediately. “You could hear the master’s touch,” Lloyd assured me. Kreisler had apparently broken the little finger on his left hand as a child and taught himself to switch to the next finger when playing the high notes. Lloyd assured me that Kreisler taught his pupils to do that and you could hear it when it happened. Well, he could hear it. I was lucky to recognize the violin!

Lloyd once appeared in court as a witness to an automobile accident that occurred a block away. His description of the accident was the most accurate one the police managed to get from several witnesses who were even closer to the accident. In the Summers he worked with a friend doing small carpentry jobs: replacing siding and shingling roofs, that sort of thing. He also taught himself to work with power tools, including a ban-saw, so he could manufacture clock parts. He repairs clocks in his spare time. He has fixed a cuckoo clock of mine a couple of times. It works beautifully.

People are often amused by the sight of Lloyd walking in Winter all over Marshall, a town of about 12,000, with his wool ski cap turned around backwards on cold days to protect his entire face. He says he doesn’t care about the back of his head: he has hair there. His face needs the warmth on below zero days in the Winter. He walked daily the three miles from his home to the University, and since his retirement he walks to the YMCA for his daily workout and then to the “Bagel and Brew” for his cup of coffee with his friends. It doesn’t matter how much snow is on the ground or how hard the wind blows. He is a familiar sight to all who drive past him, Lloyd and the latest of four dogs he has had since I first  knew him.

As you may have gathered by this time, my friend Lloyd is blind. He has been blind from birth and he is perhaps the most remarkable man I know. I have told him repeatedly that he is my hero. He shows more courage every day just doing “ordinary” things than anyone I know. He is gentle and caring, always upbeat and cheerful, his hearing is extraordinary (as is his memory), and he is well read. And he refuses to recognize anything as impossible. He is a remarkable man and I love him dearly.

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15 thoughts on “My Friend Lloyd

  1. Lloyd is indeed a most remarkable man. I loved learning German from him. On top of reading Goethe and a bit of Kant in the original language, Lloyd and I spent time listening to music, talking about Hugh Curtler (we both admire him a great deal) and annoying Dusty, who was his service dog when I knew him. He is one of the most joyful people I have ever known. He is definitely in the top 5 of favorite people of my life.

  2. Graduated from SSU (aka SMSU) in 82 and then worked in Marshall until late 84. Lloyd was a fixture – both in college and as a member of the greater community. A man loved, respected and admired by all. His intellect, perspective and intuition really are legend.

  3. actually? I had no clue that he was blind. Isn’t it amazing the gifts we posses? And that nothing is impossible for anyone once you put your mind to it. Your friend is a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing him with us.

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