Tuesday, February 1, 1994
Today's job isn't for money. I'm to make a pedestal to raise Bill Ash's bed.
Bill has cancer. Surgery removed most of the tumors that were wrapped around his innards but could not touch the one wrapped around his aorta. He's about my age, and I'm 46. Life isn't fair.
Bill is a La Honda poet who has a day job as a nuclear physicist running the Stanford Linear Accelerator. He loves bad puns and good rhymes. During a head lice epidemic in La Honda (and there is always a head lice epidemic in La Honda), Bill attended a Halloween party at the La Honda school dressed as a head louse. The principal told Bill the costume was "in poor taste." "He has no sense of humor," Bill explained.
Bill would roll up his sleeves and help me mix concrete when I was building a new entry at his house. I've attended the weddings of Bill's children. His daughters Terri and Debra babysat for my kids. I employed his son Richard for construction labor. (There's more Bill Ash here.)
La Honda has always been considered a hillbilly address by the people who live "over the hill" in the Silicon Valley. Bill gave us creditability. In spite of his education he never pulled rank in a discussion and would rather talk football, anyway. It has been said that Bill would suffer fools gladly - unless they were defensive coaches for the 49ers.
Today Bill looks pale and frail. The cancer is squeezing his heart. I'm no good at emotional support, but I can make repairs. It's a guy thing. Instead of hugging, I raise his bed.