There was a tone of resignation in his voice. Although Rockefeller said in his retirement announcement that he will continue to fight and work for causes he cares about, the weariness is evident.
As one Rockefeller associate put it, would you rather spend your remaining days traipsing through the corridors of the Hart Building (the Senate office building) or playing with the grandkids in your Pocahontas County home?
Another thought is that Rockefeller faces a difficult re-election challenge in 2014.
The likely Republican challenger, Shelley Moore Capito, is a popular Republican congresswoman. Rockefeller would not get the usual pass that accompanies a sitting U.S. senator in West Virginia.
Sure, Rockefeller could win a sixth term, but it wasn't going to be easy.
In the late Robert Byrd's autobiography, "Child of The Appalachian Coalfields," the iconic senator waxed eloquently about the stages of his life:
"It was a road filled with hopes in the morning of life; preparation when the sun was at its meridian; and service in the long afternoon with lengthening shadows that stretch away to hills of the night."
Byrd watched the shadows from his beloved Senate, the place where he was truly home, the place where he would spend his final days.
Rockefeller, it would seem, has other plans.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.