The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 17, 2020 1:00 am

Seeing eye to eye

Differing perspectives need not separate us

Frank Hill

At breakfast I often read The Journal Gazette and magazines. Don't tell anyone I told you, but I sometimes read old “Oprah” magazines. While doing so, I keep an eye on the small television on our kitchen counter.

The cover of one “Oprah” issue has a teaser in large letters: “What If You Saw Things Differently?” On the morning I saw that old cover, I also saw on television a brief feature about TV soap operas. Observant viewers know they are seeing something differently.

We viewers were told that soap operas are modifying their traditional kissing scenes. To avoid COVID-19, the actors are kissing mannequins instead of live persons. Romantic leads may worry that such a practice will hurt their images. I doubt it. Audience members understand that trying to avoid the virus by kissing a mannequin does not make you a dummy.

Kissing a mannequin. I bet that got your attention. It reminded me not only of kissing but also of what I saw differently in high school. There was this pretty girl I first saw at a distance. OK, several girls kept me at a distance, but this girl was different. When I got close to her, I realized she had one brown eye and one blue eye.

Having eyes of different colors did not make this girl unattractive. It made her special. I had always loved the song “Beautiful Brown Eyes,” but it only told half the story.

I went on a couple of dates with this young lady. More dates would have been fine with me, but I guess she did not see me as special. She wanted out while the getting was good. Perhaps she had heard about my three-date rule. It was my policy to kiss a girl on the third date. Who warned her?

Years went by and I forgot about my brief crush on my attractive high school classmate. Meanwhile, I lucked out and married above my class. But for Roger Miller's music and lyrics in the musical “Big River,” I probably would not have thought again of my high school friend.

Among the songs I like in “Big River” is “Worlds Apart.” In it we hear Jim, a slave, sing to Huckleberry Finn: “I see the same stars through brown eyes that you see through blue...but we're worlds apart, worlds apart.” In turn, Huck sings that he sees the same stars through blue eyes that Jim sees through brown.

OK, that makes sense – but what about my female friend in high school?

Do we need to have one brown eye and one blue eye, like my high school friend, to see what the other person sees? Obviously not. However, there will be circumstances when the color of our eyes determines what we think of what we see.

For example, my wife and I have different color eyes. Hers are brown; mine are blue. If my high school female friend walked into the room, I bet my wife and I would see her differently.

Looking past visible differences, we might discover common likes or dislikes. Republican George H.W. Bush and some Democrats joined forces in their dislike of broccoli. I suspect both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump like Big Macs. Just guessing.

Certainly politicians are among those seeing things differently, especially regarding the qualifications of nominees to the Supreme Court. We need to remind ourselves that opponents who usually see things differently can agree occasionally.

As we know, Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, became good friends. After acknowledging they held opposing views, Scalia said: “We have formed a very close friendship, and one of us must be mistaken. Or perhaps both.”

We may see things differently but we can be friends. No kissing required.

Frank Hill is a Fort Wayne resident.

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