The Road Not Taken

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson face life and death together in "The Bucket List"

It was one of those “Oh no” moments. I received a call from a former employee saying a mutual friend, Al, who I had had a falling out with, had suffered a “major stroke.”

I had not spoken to Al for almost five years, but when I heard the news of the stroke I felt awful. “What if he dies or cannot speak?” I thought to myself. The annoyance about our past business disagreement evaporated in the anguish of the moment of realization that an old friend was suffering. I texted Al’s cell phone to tell him I cared about him and wished him well.

The next day Al called me to renew our connection. We talked for half an hour about health and business and lapsed friendship. The stroke was “minor” and Al was back at work doing what he loves most – working with his machinery. He does face a heart procedure next week because a congenital abnormality was diagnosed after exhaustive tests in the hospital.

I also learned that he had called to check on me when I was in the hospital three and a half years ago. I did not know that until yesterday.

The phone call from Al was an emotional one for both of us old warriors of the machining trade. I kept thinking as we were conversing, “What if he had died?” I think I would have gone to his funeral with the ashes of regret in my throat. But now I get another chance to be connected with a friend.

Lesson learned – again – I guess.

Question: Do you regret a road not taken?

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4 thoughts on “The Road Not Taken

  1. Jerald Luke


    Thanks for reminding everyone that we all only have a brief time on this earth. So make a friend and remember them.

  2. Lucy Glib

    Great story and a needed reminder that “tomorrow is not promised.” Very glad your friend is okay – hope the procedure is uneventful. Thankfully, modern technology has made staying in touch a little easier, but there are always those people we feel we should reconnect with.

    I often regret my decision to move to D.C. after college when I really wanted to move to New York. D.C. seemed like less of a risk, and I wish I’d been more courageous. But I also recognize that every event that came in my path following that decision would change as a result. And I’ve had too many good experiences and made too many friends to willingly give all that up. Still, to be able to have a “Sliding Doors” peek at one’s life would be fun.

  3. Jim

    Yup. Many times I have not taken action when I could have, similar health situations as you have pointed out with friends or relatives when sick, opportunities to help someone unknown when I have had the means to be helpful, being quiet when saying something factual or good needs to be said, more times saying something when I should have kept my mouth shut, not being humble and quiet in situations requiring tact and grace, that being said I am grateful and continually being humbled and amazed how God can forgive a sinner like me, truely amazing grace!


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