Once upon a time, I went out to get the mail. We live off the road a little bit and share a driveway with our next door neighbor. The driveway goes up between the two neighbors who are on the street on which we live. Walking up to the mail box, the neighbor at the street, on the left side of the driveway is an older man, a widower whose children have moved out of state. He frequently is out in his yard doing one chore and then another. We greeted each other and came together to chat for a little bit.
“Did you hear how well Google did in their quarterly earnings report?” I know that some of his retirement money is in the stock market, though I don’t know which stocks he holds. “I wish I would have bought that stock when it came out. I remember thinking about it but didn’t have much money to invest.”
“Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.” He replied.
I didn’t follow, for though he had a tendency to be blunt when he spoke, he wasn’t ever disrespectful or flipant. “Pardon me?”
“I suppose there are many things that if we knew how it would work out, we would have done different than we did. But I think if we could know how things would turn out so we could act differently, buying into a company that would make a killing in the stock market would probably not be something we would bother with.”
“Why not? I calculated how much I would have if I had put my retirement funds into that stock. I could retire today a rich man.”
“Then it is even better for you that you did not do differently than you did. Few people are improved from having lots of money.”
“Okay. How about you? ‘Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.’ If it isn’t a financial investment you would do differently, what would you do differently?”
“I really loved my wife and kids. If I had known cancer would take her when it did, I think I would have been a little kinder and more supportive. And if I knew how the lapse in judgment would cause the car accident I had a number of years ago, I would have been more attentive when I was driving that day. And there are many things like that. Sometimes when I am pulling weeds in my yard, my mind goes to those things in my life that I wish I could pull like the weed they were.”
“Yes.” I replied, shifting my gaze out to the mailbox. “I think I have some weeds to pull in my own yard after I get the mail. Always good to talk to you Bill.”
“Good talking with you, Dave. Say ‘Hi’ to Kelly for me.” After getting the mail I went indoors to pull some weeds.
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