• The story of my friend Al generated quite a few e-mails.

    Many of you lamenting his plight: A man who saved his whole life for the good life, now running out of life.

    He's dying. What I left out is he isn't bitter. In fact, he jokes about his frugal life.

    I've seen people who are sick act positively sickly: bitter, angry, even mean.

    Then I see Al. Brave in the face of death — even humorous. He doesn't complain. Doesn't say a nasty word about or to anyone — not a one, ever.

    You know, I've seen some who whine and moan about things that don't matter in this life. Then I see my friend Al, who is losing his life, and not a peep of bitterness, not a hint of resentment.

    I really think you can tell the character of a man — or woman — not by how they handle things that go well, but how they handle things that do not.

    I suppose if you were always a dignified and decent human being who avoided saying bad things about people, you'd be pretty much that way facing death.

    Such is Al.

    A man, whose greatest regret is that maybe he scrounged too much. But if that's the worst you can say about someone — not a bad testament.

    In Al's case, not a bad life.

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