Mr Willie lived on Vincent Street, on the same block as the school that my church runs. He smoked a pipe--this is how I met him. Walking to my car after meeting, I saw Mr Willie sitting on his stoop with his pipe, and I commented that I'm a pipe smoker as well. He told me he was trying to quit. His shoes were falling apart. I told him I would come smoke with him, but I never got around to it.
One night, I was walking home from a meeting at church, and I passed Mr Willie's house. Mr Willie had a friend on the stoop with him, and they were looking up at the sky. In Baltimore, it's never truly dark, so Mr Willie was excited because he could see a star.
One time, I went to a community association meeting for the Mount Clare neighborhood. Mr Willie was, I suppose, the oldest person there, and by virtue of his seniority, he was the one appointed to open the meeting in prayer. Mr Willie's voice was notable, it was boyish and warm. He prayed as if he was familiar with God, as if he really thought that God made the sun rise and the rain fall, and that through this, God would always take care of him.
A representative of Mayor Sheila Dixon's office came to the meeting to encourage us to vote in favor of allowing slot machines. He had hipster glasses, and wore a sweater and tie under his sport-jacket. I wasn't sure what to think because I'm a libertarian, and I think people have a right to do very stupid things, but a government-enforced monopoly on gambling isn't very libertarian. None of my neighbors thought that allowing slots was a good idea. This poor gent from the mayor's office got shouted down by the neighbors, but, then, the head of the community association called the meeting to order. Mr Willie then said, "I remember when gambling was outlawed. What has changed that we should allow it now?"