His curly hair is singed, his jaw is bloodied and broken in two places, and his left ankle bears a long burn marking the spot where a lightning bolt left his body.

Despite his wounds, James Harris knows he's a lucky man.Harris, 61, was taking his usual morning walk along Dayton's flood wall about 10 a.m. Tuesday when a storm blew in over the Ohio River. He wasn't worried.

"There wasn't any lightning at all. I thought I could make it back," Harris said Wednesday from his room in the intensive care unit at St. Luke Hospital East in Ft. Thomas, Ky.

"The rain was hitting me in the face, and it felt pretty good. Then all of a sudden there was a crash of lightning, and I thought, Uh, oh."'

He never saw or heard the bolt that struck his head and flung him face-forward to the ground.

"I was walking real fast, listening to my radio. The next thing I know, I'm on the asphalt," he said.

When he regained consciousness minutes later, Harris noticed first that the credit card-sized radio he had put beneath his Kentucky Wildcats cap was blown to bits - along with the cap. His socks were shredded and burned.

Then he realized he couldn't feel anything below his waist. He hollered for a nearby workman, who called an ambulance.

"I owe that guy a great deal of gratitude," Harris said.

Harris eventually regained the feeling in his legs.

He believes one reason he's alive is because he's in reasonably good shape. He has lost 38 pounds since he started walking three to six miles each day about four months ago after doctors diagnosed him with diabetes.

"But I give all the credit to the Lord. If it wasn't for God, I wouldn't be here, I know that," said Harris, a deacon and trustee at East Dayton Baptist Church.

His doctors have marveled at his luck.

"They told me to go get some lottery tickets," Harris said.

Though it's painful to talk with a jaw held rigid by wires and pins, Harris has noticed one improvement.

"My eyesight is better," he said.