A brief remembrance of Michael Webster
When I read that a pedestrian named “Michael Dennis Webster” was killed in a hit-and-run, I wondered: was that our Michael Webster?
Today Scott Schaeffer-Duffy confirmed that, unfortunately, it was.
I first met Michael when I lived at the Catholic Worker. One night at 2am someone was crashing around the kitchen. I went downstairs to discover a drunk man who’d wandered in (no locks on the doors) to make coffee and a sandwich. He said, “It’s OK, ask Scott.” Turns out it wasn’t OK, but Michael was about the most pleasant drunken stranger you could ask for.
I know Michael caused some people a world of trouble. I was lucky: he was always nice to me, drunk or sober. One person I talked to shared my opinion:
I never had a problem with Mike. I liked his poetry. He did steal my shoes one time. But other than that, he was a cool guy. In fairness, he did take my shoes, and I saw him wearing them, and I asked him about it, and he said, “Oh, is it OK if I take these shoes?” And I said sure. So, in hindsight, he asked permission.
Here’s something I wrote 5 years ago:
I ran into Michael Webster briefly at the Java Hut Tuesday morning, and was glad that he came by the house yesterday morning for a cup of coffee and a long chat. He wrote me a poem and said I could publish it.
Please Lord Jesus take away my fears,
that lead me into the devilâ€™s snares.
Lead me instead towards your heavenly reward,
where the angels play the harpsâ€™ unendless chord.
I pray that Michael shuffled through the pearly gates Friday night, no matter what St. Peter said. Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than ask permission.
Michael’s obituary in the Catholic Radical:
Michael Dennis Webster was struck by a hit-and-run driver just before midnight on June 3rd. He died later that night. He was 58 years old.
Michael was a frequent visitor to the Saints Francis & ThÃ©rÃ¨se Catholic Worker, sometimes asking for food, clothing, or a blanket, but just as often offering a poem or drawing for our newsletter. He was a drinker who slept on the street too often during his shortened life. He was a drinker and a dreamer. He is missed. We pray that he has reached a safe harbor at long last.