Today a very special friend of mine would have been 72. But we lost him in 1999 when he was only 53. Sometimes it seems forever ago since I saw that grin, and sometimes I still expect him to be bouncing into the room with some mischievous prank in mind. My nieces and nephew called him Uncle PissWillie. I’m not sure why, but it always made him laugh.
He taught me alot about being there for others. He was devoted to his parents and cared for them until they passed from this Earth. He was a hard-working person, never missing a day of work unless he simply could not get up at all. And he did it cheerfully. Whatever he had to do, he did without complaint. He just accepted his place in the world and did the best to make it brighter for everyone who knew him.
He loved children, and they loved him. He took my friend’s toddler son to the garden to show him all the different plants. This child was amazed about tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and watched intently as my friend explained each one to him. Then he said, “Where are the macaroni plants?” It was a classic moment I will remember forever.
When he fell ill with lung cancer, I was devastated. His diagnosis came in March of 1999 and by May 1999 he was gone. When he was taken home from the hospital for the last time, they tried to get him to use oxygen. He refused, “If you put me on oxygen, I won’t be able to go back to work.”
God doesn’t make people like that anymore. If I could have traded places with any person in the world, I would have traded with him so his light could have shown longer.
He was the brightest star in my life, and my world will always be in the shadow of his light.