The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 3, 2013

Mike Pound: Fundraiser today supports great cause

When I was in second grade, I developed lazy eye and had to have surgery to correct the condition.

Actually, the term “lazy eye” is not the correct name. The correct name is longer and more complicated, but it basically means — follow me here — lazy eye.

After the surgery, I was told that I would have to wear a patch over my hardworking eye for a few months so my lazy eye would get off its Limbaugh and get to work.

I was OK with the idea of wearing a patch because I thought I would get to wear a cool pirate patch. When I found out that the patch was basically a big eye Band-Aid, I was not OK with it. Instead, I was humiliated and self-conscious.

In addition to having a lazy eye, I also had trouble saying “L” and “R,” so whenever someone would ask me why I was wearing an eye patch, I would put my head down and quickly say: “I have wazy eye. I have to waa a patch.”

Naturally, the person asking about my eye patch would not understand what I was saying and would repeat the question, causing me to put my head down even farther and say faster: “I HAVE WAZY EYE. I HAVE TO WAA A PATCH!”

As you can imagine, back in second grade I was quite the hit with the ladies.

At the time, I thought I was just about the unluckiest kid in the history of kids, but as I grew older, I came to realize that I was, in the fact, one of the luckier ones. I had parents who noticed I was having a problem. I had a great surgeon who was able to correct that problem and develop a plan that allowed me to regain the strength in my eye.

As a result, I had and continue to have pretty good vision. I mean, I can’t hit a 95-mph fastball, but neither can anyone currently on the Kansas City Royals roster.

I learned at a pretty young age not to take my eyesight for granted, and if I ever need to be reminded of that, all I need to do is chat with the folks at the Joplin Association for the Blind.

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about the group, in part because of my personal experiences but mainly because of the good work being done by staff members and volunteers there every day.

By the way, folks who volunteer at the association are hard-core volunteers. Today, for example, 20 or 30 volunteers and staff members will be serving up some of the best food in town at the association’s annual spaghetti red fundraiser at 311 S. Schifferdecker Ave.

For several days, volunteers have been busy chopping, slicing, dicing, peeling, pouring, stirring, baking and cleaning in order to serve heaping ladles of chili onto large mounds of pasta served with a drink and homemade dessert.

It is a neat deal.

The fundraiser runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then from 4 to 7 p.m. today. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 12. Takeout orders are available by calling 417-623-5721 or by faxing 417-623-1968. In addition to great food, there will be a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing.

Stephanie Mann, executive director of the Joplin Association for the Blind, said the spaghetti red feed is one of the agency’s two biggest fundraisers.

“We have the spaghetti red fundraiser in the spring, and the chili and soup fundraiser in the fall,” she said.

The money raised will be used to help support the many activities for adults and children served by the association, and to purchase equipment and help maintain the agency’s Low Vision Center.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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