I spent Tuesday morning waiting for the telephone to ring and keeping an eye on Lincoln Drive. I thought there might be a call from the doctor, but it never came. Still, the phone was unusually busy. There were three calls: one a political message, one a surprise and the other a wrong number.
Senator Sherrod Brown was the first to call. It wasn’t a personal call. It was a recorded message; one of those that doesn’t begin until you’ve said “hello” twice and are about to hang up. As it was, I stayed around long enough let the senator introduce himself, and then I hung up. That is the way I handle most recorded messages, especially those received at before 9:30 a.m., or at dinnertime or at any other inconvenient moment, and there is no convenient moment for an automated phone call.
Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I prefer junk mail.The unsolicited message in the mailbox probably won’t be read right away, and possibly won’t be read at all. But if it doesn’t get tossed immediately, I’ll probably end up taking a look at it. Besides, the amount of mail handled by the post office has fallen off twenty-two percent in the last five years, and it could use the business, even from those with franking privileges.
Of course, if I have a message to deliver to a politician – whether he is an upright and honorable public servant or a self-serving scoundrel – I expect his complete and immediate attention. Double standards don’t get a lot of respect, but mine do come in handy now and then.
Mystery was afoot when the phone rang the next time. The call was from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, and the woman told me I had won a fleece bathrobe. Wow! I had no idea. How did that happen? It was from the concert at the church on Sunday, she told me. But I didn’t go to the concert. Your name and phone number are on the ticket, she said. Strange.
Picking up my prize presented a passel of problems. Being dependent on others for transportation, I wouldn’t be able to get there much before four o’clock. She said she normally leaves the church around noon. She offered to deliver it. Flabbergasted by my good luck, I said that would be great. But, ten minutes later it dawned on me that I don’t lounge around in a bathrobe. It’s been years since I had a robe, and I have never had the urge to go buy one. So, I called back and asked that the robe be given to someone who needs it. The church is helping a family through the Halo program, she said, and the robe will be given to them. That gave me a good feeling, but I’d still like to know how the robe became mine to give away.
Between phone calls, as I sat at the computer allegedly writing, but actually doing little more than staring out the window. A woman who lives up the street walked by, as she does twice almost every day. It was a pleasant Tuesday by December-in-northeast-Ohio standards, but this woman is not just a fair-weather walker. I spotted her going by several times last week while it was drizzling and at least once while it was flurrying.
She is older than I – probably in her late seventies – has a pronounced limp and uses a cane. She is always accompanied by her dog. It must be tiring for her to walk when the weather is warm and pleasant. And I imagine walking is downright difficult for her when it’s cool and damp. No matter.
One cold, rainy afternoon last week, her walk was interrupted when the dog stopped in front of a house across the street and used the tree lawn to do his business. When the dog was done, the woman got out a plastic bag, slowly bent down and collected the dog’s business. That’s when I realized that there are times when watching someone do poop patrol can be inspiring.