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Reaching Out!
When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well, the polished, old case fastened to the wall and shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother used to talk to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person ? her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. "Information Please" could supply anybody?s number and the correct time. My first personal experience with this genie-in-the-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement. I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible, but there didn't seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information Please," I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. "Information" "I hurt my finger?" I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. "Isn't your mother home?" came the question. Nobody's home but me," I blubbered. "Are you bleeding?" the voice asked. "No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts." "Can you open your icebox?" she asked. I said I could. "Then chip off a little piece of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk, that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called "Information Please" and told her the sad story. She listened, then said the usual things grown ups say to soothe a child. But I was un-consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?" She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. "Information Please." "Information," said the now familiar voice. "How do you spell fix?" I asked. All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then, without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information, please." Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. "Information." I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?" There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess our finger must have healed by now." I laughed, "So it's really still you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time." "I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls." I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. "Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally. "Are you a friend?" she said. "Yes, a very old friend," I answered. "I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago." Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul?" "Yes." "Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you." The note said, "Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean." I thanked her and hung up. I know what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others. Whose life have you touched today? Why not pass this on, I just did.

BACK WHEN....


Let's go back..Close your eyes..And go back..Before the Internet or the MAC, Before semi automatics and crack, Before chronic and indo Before SEGA or Super Nintendo, Way back........ I'm talkin' bout hide and go seek at dusk. Sittin' on the porch, Hot bread and butter. The ice cream man, Eatin' a 'super dooper sandwich', Red light, Green light. Chocolate milk, Lunch tickets, Penny candy in a brown paper bag. Malts at the corner store. Hopscotch, butterscotch, doubledutch, Jacks, kickball, dodgeball, y'all! Mother May I? Hula Hoops and Sunflower Seeds, Running through the sprinkler (I can't get wet! All right, well don't wet my hair....) The smell of the sun and lickin' salty lips.... Wait...... Watchin' Saturday Morning cartoons, Catchin' lightening bugs in a jar, Playing sling shot. When around the corner seemed far away, And going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Bedtime, Climbing trees, A million mosquito bites and sticky fingers, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, Sittin on the curb, Jumpin down the steps, Jumpin on the bed, Pillow fights, Being tickled to death Running till you were out of breath, Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt Being tired from playin'.... Remember that? I am not finished just yet... Crowding around in a circle around the 'after school fight', then running when the teacher came. What about the girl that had the big bubbly handwriting?? Eating Kool-aid powder with sugar Didn't that feel good.. just to go back and say, Yeah, I remember that! There's nothing like the good old days! They were good then, and they're good now when we think about them. Share some of these thoughts with a friend who can relate, then share it with someone that missed out on them. One can't be serious ALL the time, eh? Remember when... When there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds, and the only time you wore them at school, was for "gym." When it took five minutes for the TV to warm up. When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there. When nobody owned a purebred dog. When a quarter was a decent allowance, and another quarter a huge bonus. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then. When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces. When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done, everyday. When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, for free, every time. And, you didn't pay for air. And, you got trading stamps to boot! When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box. When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed ... and did! When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!


I Just Came Again to Tell You, Lord


A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, Decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray. Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, The minister frowned as he saw the man hadn't shaved in awhile. His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed, The man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away. In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap, Each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap. Well, the minister's suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear, He decided to stop the man and ask him, "What are you doing here?" The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour. Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power. "I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away; as I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say: "I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM CHECKING IN TODAY." The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine. He told the man he was welcome to come and pray just anytime. Time to go, Jim smiled, said "Thanks." He hurried to the door. The minister knelt at the altar, he'd never done it before. His cold heart melted, warmed with love, and met with Jesus there. As the tears flowed, in his heart, he repeated old Jim's prayer: "I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I'VE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER'S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. I DON'T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY."

Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn't come. As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some. At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill. The hospital staff was worried, but he'd given them a thrill. The week that Jim was with them, brought changes in the ward. His smiles, a joy contagious. Changed people, were his reward. The head nurse couldn't understand why Jim was so glad, When no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had. The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse's concern: No friends came to show they cared. He had nowhere to turn. Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile; "The nurse is wrong, she couldn't know, that in here all the while Everyday at noon He's here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes My hand, leans over and says to me:

"I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN. ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY, AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY."

If this blesses you, pass it on... Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. May God hold you in the palm of His hand and Angels watch over you.

Lori Doyle




9/11/01 Rememberence

UNITED WE STAND!

9/11/01



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