“Times Winged Chariot Hurries Near…”
As Eric shuffles towards his eighty third birthday he recently shared with me his thoughts on what he’s learned from his run.
A theme he returns to often is that people today have lost sight of what’s most important. “They run this way and that way looking for more stuff to make them feel good about themselves.”
He shares that when he was a kid in Kansas, before the “big war”, no one had much of anything. “We made do with what we had. We never seemed to want what the fella down the road had. I mean, if he was doing fine we were happy about it. Not jealous.”
As the War ground on, Eric, barely a teenager, got a job selling farm equipment. He was good enough at it to squirrel away a little bit of money, after contributing to the family needs, towards his education.
He did well enough in high school to get accepted into college. Later, at the University of Kansas he earned his PhD.
He didn’t wander far off campus after graduation. He taught, on a part time basis, anatomy and physiology to pre-med students.
Money was very tight in those Kansas days!
In order to pay his bills, and help out his family, Eric agreed to work for his uncle who operated a successful mortuary in town.
Until 1980 he remained in Kansas working full time in the funeral home. The call of the west, and changing times in Kansas lured Eric to the Pacific Northwest.
“When I got into eastern Washington I was completely enveloped in a cloud of dust. It was so quiet, eerie quiet! I didn’t know the volcano had blown until I stopped at a diner off the hi-way. Boy, was I ever surprised!”
Eric made Bainbridge Island his home for years.
He ran a number of funeral homes until the doctors told him, after his fourth heart attack, that he needed to consider moving to the “mainland.”
On a good day Eric’s heart is operating at about 30%.
The doc’s have said they could try for a repair but the odds were long on his surviving the operation.
Eric is okay with that news.
He has chosen to live on knowing that he is in “right now” and able to enjoy, and be ready, for whatever comes his way.
When we are together we laugh a lot about the craziness around us. He likes to poke fun at some of the zanier politicians wondering why they are so mean. “Don’t they understand how quickly this will go by? In a snap your stay is over. Why not share your heart while you’re here rather than wasting time chasing things and broken ideas.”
M. Barrett Miller