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June 13, 2013

WILLIAMS: What sense could you give up?

If you had to give up a sense, which one would it be? This is the kind of stuff I ponder when I’m lying in bed at night.

For living things, I think the hardest sense to lose would be touch. It is so often our connection to the things we love — kissing a parent, tousling a child’s hair, stroking a pet, hugging a friend. And it is not only with people but the world around us. Think of digging in the warm soil of a flower bed, the feel of fresh linens at night, kneading dough, turning stone or metal or cloth into something beautiful.

For me, the next most necessary sense is sight. Without it, I would lose all the activities I love most – writing, reading, watching NASCAR, drinking in the beauties of nature. There is Braille, of course, and I’d make the effort but I’m probably too old to ever learn to use it with facility. So, sight would never be the sense I would willingly give up. I couldn’t bear to think I’d never see a hawk flying high in the sky or a perfectly blooming rose or a plunging waterfall, never race through another suspenseful book or see Jimmie’s Johnson’s car take the checkered flag.

Taste? Are you kidding? How many of the most pleasurable times in our lives are associated with taste? That first cup of coffee in the morning that starts every day off right. The sensuous feel of cocoa fudge melting in your mouth. Mom’s fried chicken and chicken gravy, the greasy confluence of flavors in pizza. I’m too self-indulgent to ever willingly forego the sense of taste!

I sometimes think I could do without hearing. I like silence. If I’m home alone, I generally leave the television off. But then I think of music and the way it has played counterpoint to my life. Any piano rag takes me back to the Eagles in Logansport where our whole big, close family danced together. I think Jim and I fell in love partly because we both loved Bob Dylan when no one else knew who he was. Music and places are intertwined — CCR was the Club Royal: ZZ Top was the Warehouse.

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