Even though his name is Bill, people call him ‘Doc.’ And even though he spent most of his life working at a hospital, it was as an orderly not a medical doctor. He got the moniker after all four medics in his group had been killed in a “hellfire” battle. Grabbing one of their medical bags, Bill began to stitch and patch up his comrades and thus earning the name Doc.
Doc still rides his Harley (although he had to downgrade to a lighter Sportster model), which seems at odds with the fact that he walks with a walker. He is a widow. His wife died when they were 76. And of all the “stuff” he’d seen over the years, watching his wife die was the worse.
After her funeral, which took place back in their hometown in New York, Doc grabbed two giant bottles of whiskey – “One for each saddle bag” – and he began to ride the roads he and his wife used to travel on. This was a two-year journey that took Doc across the country and back to LA. Doc fought for our freedom overseas. And when he needed it the most, he found his freedom here on the open road – mourning and celebrating life and love.
I liked meeting Doc. He was friendly, funny, and enjoyed life. I thanked him for his service and for taking the time to talk with me. He was more than happy to have someone to talk to. That's a lesson we all should remember as we go out to meet people. There are a lot of lonely people whom we just past by because we are walking our dogs, or hurrying off somewhere "hinting" for something better to do than to stop and talk to a stranger. But if they are anything like Bill, not only do they welcome the conversation, they also add to your life.
When I told him what I was doing, he told me he had heard of things like this where people challenged people to do stuff. I told he should do it. And what I suspect to be typical Bill style, he smiled and said, “I just did.” He shook my hand hard. “Once a Marine. Always a Marine”
Semper Fi, brother!
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”