Amy Bowers - TV Talk

It couldn't have come at a better time. I suddenly have work as a camerawoman and I can suddenly see.

A small surgical team at Lasik America in Albuquerque sliced a flap from my cornea and counted me down while I stared at a flashing red target. The laser nibbled at cells in my eye for seventeen seconds, reshaping my cornea to correct my miserable myopia.

I see trees that are green, red roses too. I watch them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world. (sung by Eva Cassidy, a singer who died young)

I see hawks in the trees, tiny print too. My viewfinder looks sharp, I see my children too, and I think to myself, I see everything!

Two days after Lasik surgery, I shot a commercial for CH 41, the Spanish language station here in New Mexico. I triumphed with the help of a river of eye drops streaming down my face.

Three days later, I flew to Oklahoma City for BBC to produce radio stories on reactions to the McVeigh execution. There I met Constance Favorite, whose 21-year-old daughter Lakesha was killed in the Murrah Federal Building, and Dolores Watson, who saw the building turn to rubble with her grandson PJ inside.

Dolores and Constance invited me to Sunday services at Avery Church, an African Methodist Episcopal house of worship, gospel, and amazing grace. I saw love and faith.

After, we went to Pearl's, a New Orleans-style house of cuisine and amazing margaritas. I saw friendship and courage.

I met PJ, bright and friendly, who miraculously survived his devastating traumatic injuries. I saw an engaging little boy who plays with action figures. He smiles easily, and has a permanent tracheotomy. Dolores says there is so much information available about the bombing that PJ, now 8 years old, will learn what he wants when he is ready.

Constance explained that although she was eligible to witness the execution on closed circuit, she didn't want to. She said she wouldn't want that image to exist in her brain. She said she gets upset when Lakesha's son watches violent cartoons on TV. Because my mother was killed by a bad man who blew up a building, he asks?

Early the next morning I saw something I hardly thought possible: in Oklahoma City the assembled media treated the survivors with care and respect. No ugly television gang-bang scenes emerged, no overt scrapping for morning show guests.

After viewing the execution on a closed circuit transmission from Terre Haute, Indiana, many of the two hundred or so witnesses made public statements at a staging area near the airport. Several walked the grassy press area and found our microphone. I saw these survivors restore dignity to those who died in an undignified fury.

I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do, but they're really sayin' I love you.

When I returned to my home base in New Mexico, more Spanish language TV production awaited my healing eyes. I shot commercials for a Chinese buffet and a frame shop.

In the following weeks I had two assignments shooting mini-dv, small-format digital video. One involved a ride-along with law enforcement. The other was a soccer tournament.

I heard a cop ask his partner how much he tells his children about his work. The cop expects that he'll need to think about these things in his future.

I heard a Soccer Mom declare, The mountains are so beautiful.

And from behind the bleachers I heard a girl holler, "Guess what!!! I saw my first tumbleweed!!"

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of the people passing by.

Newspukes record it all, good and evil, beautiful and not, dead or alive.

I have a digital video camera and I have eyesight. There is work for those with vision. Mine couldn't have come at a better time.

Amy Bowers

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