called in to see us yesterday. He usually comes about once a month and always on a Tuesday. It is the day his wife has female friends in to play bridge. My godfather does not play bridge and, while happy to act as butler, is aware that the women would rather be left alone.
He makes the most of the day by calling in to see us and then going to his son's place or his daughter's place to do some maintenance. His son is a lawyer, his daughter a doctor. They both have long working weeks. He helps them out by doing little jobs that are simple but take time. Calling in a tradesman to do them is not an option. It is hard to find someone willing to just repair a latch on a screen, change a washer on a tap or fix the hinges on a gate. Yes there are people who will do those things but the cost is not worth it unless there is something else to do as well.
I well remember the occasion on which our late but very independent neighbour opposite was charged an enormous sum by an electrician who came in to change a single light bulb she could not reach. She had not liked to ask my father (who would still have been able to do the job with ease back then) to do the job because her son should really have called in to do it. He was "too busy".
We are fortunate enough to have my brother-in-law, my two nephews here and two other people we can call on to do the very small things like changing a light bulb. My father hates asking - because he could once do all those things himself - but he knows it is necessary. He can no longer climb a ladder. I cannot climb a ladder. Other people need to do that now. As they have pointed out too there will come a time when they cannot do it. Someone else will have to do it for them.
I can understand my father's frustration at not being able to do the things he once did. It pleases me when my godfather turns up and shares that frustration because he can no longer climb ladders either.
But both of them are still useful people. They know how to do things. They can tell other people.
My nephews say they have much to learn from their grandfather. My godfather's grandchildren can say the same. That is what matters.