Monday, March 17, 2008

Waving Willie

This gentleman has been a common sight around Waco for many years. Lately, he stays mostly in the downtown area where I work. I have no idea what his real name is, he just got stuck with being called Wavin' Willie by most folks around town. I have no idea what his age is either. He walks many miles each week is about all I know. He waves and whoops and hollers and spins around but bothers no one. He will speak when spoken to but continues on with his waving. His clothing is always clean and neat. He sits quietly when eating at restaurants but as soon as he steps out the door, the waving begins again. Seeing him always makes me smile.....

This is an article that appeared in the paper last week, about the same time that I shot these pictures from the window of my office.

Hats Off To The Waving Man
By J.B. Smith Monday, March 10, 2008, 08:36 PM

I hadn’t meant to write about Waving Willie today. But I saw him this afternoon on the sidewalk at Franklin and Seventh, and he was in fine form. He flailed his arms and flapped his hands like leaves in a storm. Then he ducked low, spun around on one foot and let out a whoop for the passing traffic.

I’ve never learned his real name, though we at the Trib have tried to find out in the past. He looked about the same a decade ago when he first startled me with his peculiar routine.
He appears to be well-fed and clothed, with his buttoned-up flannel shirt and wide-brimmed hat. He never asks me for money, just greets me with waves and whoops.

I assume he lives around here somewhere, maybe with kin, maybe at some group home or institution.

When I talk about the characters of downtown, he is one of the best known. After a while, you learn to wave back and not to get flustered when he keeps waving.