Last night I came in from giving the dogs their evening snack, then set about preparing supper for Farmer H. Yes, my priorities are in proper order. After getting his food ready, I walked through the living room for some errand I can't remember. That's what happens to us retired people, you know. Nothing is ever really urgent. One day blends into the next. I was probably moving something Casinopalooza-related from the end table to where it belongs.
As I went past the curio cabinet that houses my red depression glass set of dishes that my grandma gave me, I noticed that the house phone was blinking a message. "Huh. I guess that came in while I was on the porch giving the dogs their snack. I wonder what it is." I picked up the phone to listen. Things really must go in one of my ears and out the other, because Farmer H heard most of the message. It was an old lady from a not-so-near town, home of the Tigers, the longtime rivals of Newmentia's Bulldogs. Also the town where my great-grandma lived to be 98 years old at The Baptist Home. Anyhoo...I did not know this old lady, but I knew OF her. My mom used to talk about her all the time.
Old Lady identified herself, asked if I was me, said she was a good friend of my mom, and then said, "I read about your son The Pony in the Hillmomba Daily Record. And about Genius, too. From me to you, your mom would have been very proud of those boys. I want to briefly talk to you about them. Many times when I talked to her, they would be at her house. I want you to hear it from my heart like it would be from your mom's heart. I'll talk to you later. My number is [REDACTED]."
I went back to fixing my salad. I figured I'd call when I got back to my dark basement lair. It would have to be on the house phone, though, because of the reception. I didn't especially want to sit on the front porch pew in the chilly wind, with darkness falling, to chat with an old lady. She DID say she wanted to talk briefly. It wouldn't hurt to call. She was expecting it, you know. Like the old people do. It's common courtesy to return a call.
Once in the lair, I called. I should have known, really. Old Lady was just like my mom. A talker. She'd never heard what happened to Mom, and was shocked back then when a mutual friend had told her Mom passed away, so I filled her in. She was grateful. She told me how she went to high school with Mom, and how they did things in the later years, and how Mom was so generous, giving people little cross-stitch things and treats in Mason jars, and how my mom would get to laughing and couldn't stop. I shared the story of stopping by Mom's grave for a talk, and then realized I had poured out my heart to the wrong grave. Old Lady chuckled. Yes, Mom would have really laughed at that story. Old Lady mentioned Mom's friend who died recently, and I told her about the dream I had exactly one week before that death, of Mom telling me that the friend had just passed away.
Old Lady said that she, too, has dreams about Mom. And that last year, right about one year after Mom died, that she was sitting home one night and wanted to talk to Mom. So she picked up her phone and dialed the number, and got the answering machine with Mom's voice on it, and left her a message. "Dot, I never got a chance to say goodbye. So I'm calling to tell you that I miss you." She said it meant a lot to her to hear Mom's voice.
I told Old Lady that we had left the phone service connected until we got the house cleaned out. Because there was no cell phone service there, and Sis and I wanted to be reachable while we were there. And how it was kind of sad when Sis called to disconnect it. And how, a few days later that week, I had a dream of sitting in lawn chairs on a Little League game sideline talking to Dream Mom, waiting for Dream Sis to get there. And Dream Mom told me, "Oh, I'm having such a time. And now I can't get my phone to work!" And Dream Me told Dream Mom, "I guess you'll have to talk to Sis about that!"
Yes, Old Lady was just like Mom. We talked for 45 minutes. On the house phone. Long distance. That's going to cost a pretty penny. Oh, well. It's not like I'm a pauper or anything.
I wouldn't be surprised if some source of money turns up before that phone bill comes...
Mom always looked out for her Five-Dollar Daughter.
(This call was Wednesday night, March 15, 2017. We'll see what develops.)