The Black Telephone
Those of us old enough to remember when the phone was wired to the wall, usually in the kitchen, can relate to this story. I loved this read.
When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box.. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked 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 anyone's number and the correct time.
My personal experience with the genie-in-a-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 seemed no point 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 the icebox?" she asked.
I said I could.
"Then chip off a little bit 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, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not 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, " Wayne , 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 in the now familiar voice.
"How do I 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 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 a half-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.
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 your finger must have healed by now."
I laughed, "So it's really 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 Wayne ?" "
"Yes." I answered.
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 there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."
I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
Never underestimate the impression you may make on others. Whose life have you touched today?
Points needed: 600
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning.
He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service... only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food... NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the usher if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation...
"We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek"... The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation... The homeless man sitting in the back stood up... and started walking down the aisle... the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him... he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment... then he recited:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning... many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.... he then said... “Today I see a gathering of people... not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples... when will YOU decide to become disciples?” He then dismissed service until next week...
Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.
She was a hard working woman and determined to keep the ranch, but knew very little about ranching, so she decided to place an ad in the newspaper for a ranch hand.
Two cowboys applied for the job. One was gay and the other a drunk. She thought long and hard about it, and when no one else applied she decided to hire the gay guy, figuring it would be safer to have him around the house than the drunk.
He proved to be a hard worker who put in long hours every day and knew a lot about ranching.
For weeks, the two of them worked, and the ranch was doing very well. Then one day, the rancher's widow said to the hired hand, "You have done a really good job, and the ranch looks great. You should go into town and kick up your heels." The hired hand readily agreed and went into town one Saturday night.
One o'clock came, however, and he didn't return.
Two o'clock and no hired hand.
Finally he returned a round two-thirty, and upon entering the room, he found the rancher's widow sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine, waiting for him.
She quietly called him over to her..
"Unbutton my blouse and take it off," she said.
Trembling, he did as she directed. "Now take off my boots."
He did as she asked, ever so slowly.. "Now take off my socks."
He removed each gently and placed them neatly by her boots.
"Now take off my skirt."
He slowly unbuttoned it, constantly watching her eyes in the fire light. "Now take off my bra.." Again, with trembling hands, he did as he was told and dropped it to the floor.
Then she looked at him and said, "If you ever wear my clothes into town again, you're fired."