My neighbor Bill is a great asset to me. He understands machines. When one of my machines isn’t running and I have no idea how to fix it (pretty much every time), I can ask Bill and get a reasonable, logical and well-informed set of directions. Typically, just what I need. In his own shop he has a Farmall H tractor he’s restored, a garden tractor he built from scratch and a 2,000-pound belt-driven drill press he picked up somewhere. His place is immaculate and Bill’s just about the fittest 80-year-old you’ll ever meet.
Bill spends most of his time caring for his wife, Beverly, who has Parkinson’s Disease. I tell Bill she’s lucky to have him. He says he’s lucky to have her.
Beverly’s taken a turn for the worse since she had knee surgery recently, and the other day a for-sale sign showed up on Bill’s lawn. He told me they’re moving into a retirement home. He’s decided he needs a little more help to give Beverly the life they want for her.
He invited me over to look at some of his farm equipment and tools he won’t need any more.
“I have a lot of projects, but I guess I ran out of time,” he said.
And it occurred to me that he didn’t mean he ran out of time that day, or this week. He meant he’d run out of time. He sounded disappointed but he wasn’t maudlin. Bill seemed to figure running out of time — running out of life, as it were — is a perfectly natural state of affairs.
I guess that’s right.