October 31, 2003


Yesterday, we received a card in the mail. It was an anniversary card. It was a cute card but it was who it was from that really touched me. The handwritten part of the card simply said, “Sorry this is late. Happy anniversary. Bill.”

Bill’s the dad of an old friend of mine. I grew up in a house down the street and grew up with his son, also conveniently named Bill. Bill Jr. and I went all the way to high school together before I moved from Houston to the Washington DC area.

Growing up, Bill Sr. was a pain in the ass. He was strict and everything had to be a certain way. There was a two way stop where our street crossed a more major road and a few cars a day usually ran through the intersection without stopping. Bill would sit at the corner in his old, maroon Plymouth Volare and literally chase after anyone who blew through the stop sign. He just always struck me as a man with a lot of anger in him.

Almost a year ago, we received a phone call. Bill’s wife, Mary, was visiting relatives in Arkansas. She pulled out of her hotel parking lot in her rental car and was struck by a tractor-trailer. She died instantly.

Bill Sr. surprised us all. He’s still a little lost but he’s been able to keep it all together. He’s a grandfather now, something his wife never got a chance to be. But perhaps the most endearing thing is the cards. I’m sure he never had any clue when anyone’s birthdays or anniversaries were. But at some point, he found Mary’s address book and calendar. And, like she did before she died, he sends cards for all those days Mary found important enough to write down. Sure, they’re usually a little late but it really is the thought that counts.

Posted by Chris at October 31, 2003 01:59 PM