Journalist and Writer

The Last Time I Saw Cal


Time spent with a wise and talented cowboy artist leads to a revelation about life—and the heartbreaking consequences of waiting too long, waiting for “nothin’.” Read my story.

7 Responses to “The Last Time I Saw Cal”

  1. George Sehy

    Hello Bill! This is your best story yet! So full of passion and compassion, insight and hope! What a wonderful way to bring Cal to life for us! Your narrative is very good. Perhaps this is your own way of “painting a picture” with words? Thank-you! George

  2. Carol Donnelly

    A lovely story of relationship that occurs at any given time in life and teaches us more about who we are and how we live our lives. I appreciated the descriptive elements in the story; they helped to make Cal a real person in the story.

  3. Mark Bryzinski

    Bill, you crafted beautifully this saga of a man’s essence and exuberant command of life, and the sad withering of his mind through age and dementia- not in his control.

    Your story painted vivid pictures in my mind of a wonderful, talented man, his work, his surroundings, and of your enduring relationship.

    Well done!

  4. John Frangoulis

    Bill, the word-picture you painted was every bit as beautiful as Cal’s paintings. J

  5. Elizabeth Crabtree

    Bill – I’m nearly speechless. Just a few weeks ago, I lost my father. He was an extremely talented life-long musician(fiddle player) who got lost in the shuffle of a care facility for nearly a year. Walls of fame there were in the form of bingo winners or resident of the month and insignificant endeavors of that nature. Your story brings to light, so well, the way our seniors are put away toward the end of life, and no one knows who they were or are anymore. It breaks their hearts. My heart cried for Cal because of this. How wonderful it was though that he was able to paint one last time, because of you. I can only imagine how much you regret that you didn’t get back to see him sooner than you did…but the way things turned out, and this story will help to encourage other not to wait too long. There’s a reason and a timing for everything in life, isn’t there?

    About 6 months ago, I sprung my father from the nursing home and we found him a little apartment. He enjoyed hot coffee again, along with his favorite foods, being able to monitor his own comings and goings and if he had chosen to do so, fiddle to his heart’s content…for those final months. He may have lived longer in care, but he would not have lived happier. That’s what mattered.

    In your writing this story, you’re writing for all of us who have lived this in some way. Thank you. I agree with the above, this is your best writing (so far). I was riveted throughout the entire piece.

    Congratulations, my friend,


  6. Alan Fonorow


    Just read your story about Cal and it touched me on many levels. I’m still processing my feelings. You write with wonderful clarity and it would be easy to scan and speed-read, but I found myself prolonging the experience, savoring and reflecting. I look forward to sipping your other stories for betterment and pure pleasure.

  7. Linda Adamcz

    I enjoyed reading the story of your friendship with Cal. Your descriptive writing regarding the land, mountains and experiences you had when you visited him had me feeling like I was right there in Tubac. An important lesson from your writing reminds us not to wait, to spend our time and energy with people and events/experiences that are real and truly matter….and not take any aspect of life for granted.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!


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