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After 41-Year Wait, Gift of Sight Brightens Day at 82

Newsmakers

May 19, 1985|CONNIE STEWART

--David Ralla's 82nd birthday present looks like the best he'll ever receive: sight. Ralla, who was blinded 41 years ago in an industrial accident, got a corneal transplant in Milwaukee. When the bandages were removed and a doctor adjusted Ralla's new glasses, he was asked what he could see. "I can see the doctor," he replied. "He's wearing a nice suit, a shirt and tie." Then he looked at the woman across the room. "And I can see my daughter," he said, shedding tears of joy. Ralla's daughter, Erlinda, was born after the 1944 accident that led to the removal of his left eye and the loss of sight in his right one. Two other daughters, Esperanza Rodriguez and Consuelo Alvarez, were born earlier. He has seven grandchildren, but his wife died in 1972. "We are leaving the hospital with a miracle," said Erlinda Ralla, who lives with her father. "When he sees his grandchildren, you can see his whole face light up." Dr. Richard Lernor, the ophthalmologist who performed the operation, said he was delighted. "It isn't often that you have the opportunity to perform an operation and have the patient re-enter the sighted world. I couldn't feel better."

--Country music star Faron Young says the secret to his successful 30-year career is simple. "My secret? Drink expensive whiskey," he said in Nashville. "I smoke cigarettes, but I drink very expensive whiskey." Young, 53, is known for such hits as "Hello Walls" and "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young."

--When dog warden Fred Provencher was dispatched to deal with a stray bulldog, he found he'd need more than a leash. "This isn't a dog," he told the dispatcher. "It's a bull." The critter in question was "T-bone," who had jumped a fence at his home in Enfield, Conn., and gotten into Sally Fissette's yard across the street. Provencher did what comes naturally--he took out a leash. "I figured it wouldn't be too bad because it was young," he said. "But as soon as I got the leash on it, it started jumping up and down and running around and the leash snapped." Provencher got help from police officer Michael McMullen, who took the bull by the horns--and what was left of the leash. McMullen, Provencher and Fissette finally tugged "T-bone" back to his pen with the help of some bread. "He's a friendly bull, but he was scared," Fissette said. "My children pet him all the time."

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