‘I ain’t dead yet’

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 25, 2005

GREENSBORO – On a brisk November afternoon, 93-year-old Will Green stood on the porch of his Greensboro home.

With a brown hat, brown jacket, yellow wind paints, and a tan and brown plaid shirt, his clothes were coordinated from his head to his knees.

Five years ago, Green lost his legs due to poor circulation that stemmed from what his daughter, Rose Chisholm, called a “bad toe.”

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“Like that tree there with the dead limbs,” Green said as he pointed to a tree in his well-kept yard, “My leg was dead. I would walk a little bit and it would just quit.”

Rose said her father always had high blood pressure, but when they took him to the doctor, they learned the combination of his pressure along with an infected toe had led to poor circulation, and the doctors would need to amputate his leg right below the knee.

“I remember they put me in the hospital and when I woke up I saw the man and he asked me how I was doing,” Green said. “I looked down and I saw what they did … I said, ‘I didn’t tell you to take my legs.'”

But Green did not let his loss get him down.

Years ago, Green used to run a lawnmower repair shop in Greensboro. He still works in his shop today because the wrong thing to do is to give up, he said.

“I ain’t got nothing to walk with, but I’m still working in the shop,” he said. “Folks come by and they say, ‘You ain’t done yet?’ and I tell them, ‘I ain’t dead yet.'”

When he isn’t working in the shop, Green keeps the grass in his yard cut low and the hedges neatly trimmed.

“I just got through cutting the hedges around back,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I cut the grass for my health.”

“I grew up with his son,” Rep. Ralph Howard said. “He’s always worked on lawnmowers and he has not stopped since he lost his legs. He’s just amazing.”

Howard said he would visit Green’s shop all the time, as a child, for bike repairs.

“He was always willing to help us,” he said. “If we had a part broken on our bike, he would just stop working on the lawnmower and fix our bikes.”

Howard could also remember Green’s wife, who passed away almost 10 years ago.

“She used to bake cakes and that peanut brittle,” Howard recalled.

Green and his late wife had 11 children, three of whom are deceased.

But no matter what happens around him, Green always keeps high spirits.

“You just have to live accordingly and don’t worry about suffering,” Green said. “You goin’ be what you goin’ be and go when you go.”

“People always stop and tell me that my daddy is an inspiration to them,” Rose said.

“I love to work,” Green said. “I ain’t satisfied if I go to sleep at night and I ain’t done nothing all day.”

With 93 years and still going strong, Green is beginning to wonder why he’s still on this earth when everyone else is leaving.

“If these younger generation keep going like they’ve been going, it won’t be long … we running short on them now,” he said. “I look around and see how many folks done died since I’ve been in Greensboro and you get scared. I’m starting to wonder why I’ve been here so long.’