Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is Your Refrigerator Running

“Hello,” I said when I answered the phone. Not even a sigh from the other end. “Hello,” I said again. Again, no reply. I hung up and immediately it rang again. I repeated the same process as before with the same results. And again, it rang.

When I was a kid, Vivian and I would stay at her sister’s home in Greenville. Sometimes they go out leaving us alone in the house. We would head for the telephone to make crank calls. “Is your mother there?” we would ask. When the woman answered the phone, we made some smart remark like “Is your refrigerator running.” Kids.

On one such call, the man who answered the phone informed us that his wife was bedridden and could not come to the phone. Well, that put an end to our calling activity. We both had that sick feeling that results from doing something very wrong.

I picked up the phone. “Hello.” Again no voice on the other end. Quickly I said, “Don’t hang up. I want to tell a story to you.” The silence remained. I repeated the story of Vivian and me and the lesson we had learned. I hung up on the silence.

The phone rang once more. ‘Oh, God give me patience.’

“Hello,” I answered for the fourth time.

“Lady, will you tell my little brother the story?”

I held the phone to my ear stunned. My callers were two very little boys.

“Of course I will,” I answered. Silently, the other child listened.

“Now let me talk to your brother again,” I said. “Where are your mommy and daddy?”

“They aren’t here,” answered the small voice.

“”Is there someone you can call to come stay with you?” No sound.

“Please call your mommy or grandma and tell her you need her to come and stay with you. You are too little to be home alone. And promise me you won’t call on the phone like this again. ”

“Okay. Thank you for the story.” Click.

It was before *69. The boy didn’t know where they lived. I did the best I could with what I had.

I learned a lesson as a child. Perhaps I passed it on to two little boys who perhaps will do the same.

1 comment:

  1. The favorite trick of the boys when I was growing up was to call a store and ask, "Do you have Prince Albert [tobacco] in a can?" If the storekeeper said yes, the boys would say, "Well, let him out!" It was uproariously funny to them.

    What's not funny is very young children being left alone. I hope the young boys you talked to were alone as the result of a miscommunication or other mix-up, rather than being left alone purposely.