Mr. Willard

Willard Garbage Bin Resampled.jpg

On this Valentine's Eve, I thought I would post something about my neighbor, Mr. Willard. If your sweetheart is still with you, you have much to be thankful for.... Mr. Willard misses his Sweetheart every day. When you see him walking around town with his garbage bag and his stick collecting cans, now you'll have an idea of what he's thinking about....

Happy Valentine's Day, 24/7 friends!



Tonight was the first  time Mr. Willard ever spoke to me.

He has been living in an apartment on the street behind me for 12 years now, and has consistently averted my glance for all that time. 

I finally tired of throwing up a hand to this fellow...he never seemed to notice I was even there.

I felt invisible!

His ignoring me silently and methodically reinforced all the "big-head" training I received in my youth.

I really don't know what happened tonight.

I got out of the truck, garden-weary, and he was next door going through the trash bin, as usual, but this time, he actually acknowledged my presence!

He waved.  

I waved back.

He said, "Hi!"

I couldn't believe it.

This was even bigger than the Miller Brothers across the street finally telling me to have a nice day.  But it only took three years of regular weekly fillups to break the ice with those two.

I walked over to Mr. Willard. He told me everything there must be to know about him in the span of three short minutes. He started talking and just couldn't stop.

He misses his wife so much he can't stand it.


They were married 54 years. She died last year.

He spends much of his time now walking and collecting aluminum cans. It helps him pass the days away without her. He's always done that, but now he does it all the time.

He  said, "I have to."

I just can't figure out why he finally decided to quit ignoring me tonight.

Maybe he just wasn't ready to talk for the past 12 years.

Maybe he will ignore me again tomorrow and this was just a fluke.

At least tonight he got to tell someone how much he misses his wife.

And I'm glad I'm the one he told.

I hope he feels better now.

And I'm glad he got a lot of cans tonight. He walked all the way to Walmart and back.

---Mary Donna