I don’t really know how old he is. I asked him once, “When is your birthday?”, and he looked at me and said, “Now Barbara…that’s just rude!”
I wasn’t asking to figure out his age. Just thought it would be kind to drop him a birthday card in his mailbox. This man is my neighbor and somewhat of a Guru. If I ever have a question about everyday life, I ask him because he will have an answer. If he doesn’t know the answer, he will find it.
There are clues of a well lived life. As of now, he lives alone with a couple of dogs, but get him talking about his past, and he refers to, ‘We’, so there was a ‘we’. He was in the Navy, and still has a love for the water. He used to own a boat, but I feel something tragic happened because he sold it, and doesn’t like to talk about it. When I tell him, “Mr. M, you have an answer for everything!”, he says, “No Barbara, I’ve just been here longer.” I’ve lived beside this man for almost 4 years, and still don’t know how old he is.
After Christmas I excitedly reported to Mr. M that my daughter gave me a cordless drill, so he wouldn’t have to walk over with his every time something needed fixing. He shared his philosophy with me about drills. He hasn’t invested in a new one in years, so the ones he buys are considered throw aways. They only last a year, or two if you get a good one. They’re refurbished and he picks one up at the junk shop for $20 as needed. I know he’s getting up in age, but it’s like he didn’t want to outlive a drill.
He’s looked at the really nice ones at the home improvement stores, but they’re expensive and an investment. What we invest into this life, determines the quality in which we get to live. That day we were having this conversation while sitting on his front porch, but as I stood to leave I told him…”Mr. M, it’s okay if your drill outlives you.” I saw him a month later, and he proudly showed me his new Ryobi drill.