Keeping It Simple

Will C. was the first person to greet me at my first meeting, a nooner at the Presbyterian Church in La Jolla, California.  He was 70-something with a well-trimmed gray beard and kind eyes. His face lit up when I told him it was my first meeting. Drawn to his gentle nature, I came to know and love Will in the years before I moved to China. When I think of keeping it simple, I think of Will.  

If you looked up humility in the dictionary you might find a little picture of Will C. He went to Mass every morning and a meeting every noon. Will loved newcomers. On Wednesday nights you could always find a couple of newbies at Will’s apartment, going through the Joe and Charlie tapes together. Will rarely shared, but when his turn came up, he always ended with, “I came for my drinking, but I stayed for my thinking.” These words echo inside my head.

Will had an old poodle he loved dearly named Lucky. Lucky was the color of Will’s beard. Have you noticed how dogs look like their owners? Will and Lucky were like that. They had been together for seventeen or eighteen years when Will died. Lucky died the next day. The AAs who handled Will’s affairs arranged it so Lucky could share the coffin with Will.

Will was a wonderful example of useful and contented sobriety for me. I am forever grateful to have known this kind, gentle man who kept it simple.