The way Bill Wundram figures it, he must be in good stead with his maker.
Wundram, accompanied by his wife, Helen, made a surprise appearance Wednesday night during a Christmas party at the Outing Club in Davenport for volunteers and sponsors of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 and revealed to the crowd that he suffered a stroke Saturday.
Wearing a Santa hat, the newspaper's longtime columnist and associate editor was introduced by Bix 7 race director Ed Froehlich and handed a conductor’s baton. That was a reference to Bill's successful fundraising quest to lead the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra in the song “Sleigh Ride” at the Nov. 23 Holiday Pops concert.
“Last night at this time I was in the hospital,” Wundram said Wednesday night. “Well, I had a bad situation.
“I don’t want to bring up awful things like this, but last Saturday I had a stroke,” he continued to audible gasps from some audience members.
Wundram, always with a smile on his face, related how he could not speak for a time.
“All of a sudden, I was in the hospital, and, believe it or not, I couldn't talk. I thought that would always be a physical impossibility,” he said to laughs from the audience.
“I thought, 'Well, here is the final curtain. I’m going to turn up my toes.'
“But I don't know, it's a miracle. God must like me; I don’t know why,” he said, bringing applause.
Froehlich then led Wundram to conduct a group of singers in a version of “Mr. Sandman” with the words “Mr. Santa” substituted in the lyrics.
Wundram left the Outing Club ballroom to a standing ovation.
He is recuperating at his home and said Thursday that their Havanese dog, Molly, the subject of many columns and reader inquiries, will not leave his side.
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Wundram said he’ll be taking a little time off from writing his column, but added that he has many ideas circulating through his mind.
He spoke of a visit by longtime friend Sister Ludmilla Benda while he was recovering at Genesis Medical Center-West Central Park Avenue, Davenport.
At the time she arrived, Wundram said, he was getting his hair groomed.
With a stern smile, she looked at him and said, “Is this a hospital or a salon?”
She then told him, “You have a real good guardian angel.”
Wundram said the appearance at the Bix 7 party energized him.
“Last night gave me a real charge,” he said. “I floated all the way home.”