Story, Photo & Film – Joseph Boyle
My friend, Andy Gernon, and I were talking the other day. She mentioned she is giving tennis lessons to another old friend of ours, Bill Ludwig. On the face of it, there is no story to write. My reason for writing this story quickly becomes evident when I add that our friend Bill is confined to a wheel chair, having suffered a serious stroke in 2011.
Bill, who served our community as a pharmacist close to 40 years, owned the Ludwig Pharmacy in Lakewood. For decades Bill was active helping his customers overcome sickness, injury and disease. Now a stroke has left him paralyzed on his left side.
Many people in Bill’s condition would quickly become negative and bitter. Most of us might become painful to be around because of constant complaining.
Bill’s wife, Janice, and his tennis coach, Andy, both told me Bill is a positive inspiration to anyone struck down with a disease or a debilitating physical condition. Bill never complains.
After making significant progress in physical therapy, Bill asked Andy to give him tennis lessons. That is how it all started.
A day or two later I stopped by Lakewood Racquet Club to see Bill and Andy during one of their lessons.
Check out the attached video. You can tell Bill still has a good sense of humor. The look on his face is priceless as he asks Andy, “Should I hit Joe with a tennis ball?” As he asks the question, his body language emphasizes that I am about to be pelted with tennis balls. Can you see him motion toward me with his tennis racquet? Coach Andy replies, “That’s up to you Bill.” The laughter you hear is generated by me as I am hit with two of Bill’s well directed tennis balls.
Bill shared with me that he chooses to maintain a positive outlook because although life has served him a foul ball, he realizes his time on our planet is growing limited. While he is here, he plans to make the most of it.
I wish to thank Bill for being such a positive inspiration. And before I go, I must also thank you Andy for your enthusiastic willingness to play tennis with our friend Bill.
Readers, it is impossible to measure the good Andy Gernon has done for so many individuals, young and old, and for our community as a whole. Andy, please let me close by thanking you for your decades of amazing selfless service to the citizens of Lakewood. Both you and Bill are an inspiration.
Laura Stewart says
I am glad read how Mr. Ludwig is learning to play tennis. BTW, audio is fine, but the picture didn’t come through on your video clip.
Joseph Boyle says
Sorry about the video. It is working for others. Sometimes technology will get the best of us.
Helen McGovern Pilant says
Andie has and still continues to be an inspiration on how to live a life of generosity. She is tireless in giving back to a community as a whole or, as you have shown, to one person at a time. It is an honor to have her for a friend.
Kirsten Ludwig Sanford says
I can’t thank Andy, Doris, and the Lakewood Racquet club and members (men’s coffee klatch) enough for the amazing support they have given our family since dad’s stroke.
Rod Ladd says
My father Ottie Ladd is looking down from heaven smiling
Andie Gernon says
Working with Bill for about 20 min each Sat, has been such a joy . Doris Claypool, a spry 81 and a tennis friend for over 35 years, fills in if I am out of town. We get far more than we give as had been the case for all my volunteering. Thanks, Joe, for your kind comments.
Edra Zook says
The human spirit with it’s desire to overcome is a beautiful treasure. Very heart warming story.