Willard’s Not-Last Meal

by Joan Marie (Lindquist) Carlson

(Retold from the “Tributes to Willard Berggren” in the last issue with the editor’s errors and omission corrected.)

One Willard story began thirteen years ago. Our families were celebrating a birthday with a meal together—Swedish meatballs, korv, horseradish sauce, herring, pickled beets, rice pudding, marzipan cake, and so forth. During that elaborate consumption, Willard remarked, “If I have to go, what a way to go.” By morning he was in the hospital with a serious infection in his body. A malignant cancer was discovered.

After eventual surgery, chemotherapy was suggested as the next step to recovering health. Willard’s comment was, “I don’t have time to be sick; there’s so much to do and many people who should be visited.” He never did have chemotherapy. Each year, the Carlsons and the Berggrens celebrate Tom’s birthday and Willard’s good health. God is Good.

God is good to us all in giving us a friend who is Willard Berggren.