Sunday, June 10, 2007

Passing The Phone

Reminder: Assignment is due this coming Wednesday. All links sent to me at that time will be put up either late Wednesday or early Thursday. For those who may not have seen the prior can follow this link or scroll down

My parents died of cancer some years back.

The other day, while doing dishes, I saw a picture of my mother and thought: "I'd like to talk to her." It's been close to twenty years since she passed. It was a strange thought. Just a phone call. Just: "Hi, how's it going?"

I mentioned this to my wife. She asked about conversations I had with my mother when she was alive. I smiled. "If I called my mother, we would talk for about twenty minutes, and after that I would be asking myself why I had placed the call in the first place."

"And your dad?"

"I would probably talk to him for five minutes before he became so frustrated with me that he would mumble: 'here, talk to your mother' and pass the phone."

"Why would you argue?"

"Who knows. He would say: 'You should go back to school and be a cartoonist.'"

I would roll my eyes: "Dad, it's not like there are a ton of people out there begging for people who can draw."

"Then be a teacher."

"I don't want to be a teacher."

"Then you should go back to school and take law."

A pause. "Actually dad, I've been thinking about becoming a professional pirate. Can you lend me a couple hundred dollars so I can buy a parrot. A pirate isn't worth his salt without a parrot."

"Here, talk to your mother."

All that being said, I'd still like to call and say hello.


DesLily said...

maybe you wish you could tell them that you are a published author??

Your dad wouldn't have passed the phone so quickly if you were telling him such good news!

Stewart Sternberg said...

thanks deslily. Nice sentiment. Actually, I think if I could call my father back, I would take him to a baseball game.

SQT said...

You capture the push and pull of child-parent relationships very well. I can talk to my mom but my dad has very monosyllabic conversations. His health is poor so I'm pushing him to talk to me a bit more though. I wish it didn't have to be like that, but at least I have a little time--hopefully longer than I think.

I need to get writing too! I've been gone this weekend on a trip with my daughter's Brownie troop, so I'm a little fried. But I will get it done tomorrow for sure.

Travis said...

I'm feeling very fortunate these days that I have my mom and my stepdad so close now. Many of my friends are losing parents - four of them over the last year.

It reminds me that I'm at the age where that begins to happen. But my folks are healthy and happy, and I'm grateful for that.

And now you've reminded me that I didn't call my mom today.

Oh - I'll have a post for the assignment.

DonkeyBlog said...

Aaaah, no good, I sent you an incredibly funny, Wilde-esque comment but Blogger seems to have chewed it up, and so I guess no one will ever recognise my comedic brilliance. Ah well.

Mr Sternberg, I just wanted to let you know that the assignment is in, and can be found here;

Susan Miller said...

Beautiful, Stu. I especially enjoyed coming here and reading you would take him to a baseball game. That made me smile and consider things that I would just like to do with those people that have gone. And how I would treasure every moment.

Charles Gramlich said...

Even at 48, when I talk to my mom, I get mostly advice and the general commentary on how I'm probably not living my life exactly the way I should in God's eyes. I hope my later conversations with my son will be a little less "parenty."

Stewart Sternberg said...

SQT, I used to make my family crazy. I still do.

Sue, thanks. The problem with enjoying the moment is that we can't or shouldn't try and make the moment special. It needs to be a quality that we strive for.

Charles, having your own child turns you into your parent. It's part of the catalyst I think.

Donkey, I will post the I SEE THINGS IN DARKNESS...this coming Wednesday. So far I think I've received three entries.

miller580 said...

I was just telling a friend how I dread the phone calls with my dad. Dread isn't the right word, but its the first thing I thought of. I know that sounds really bad, but the call lasts about 5 minutes and usually takes an hour.

How's the kids? Great...One is doing this and the other is doing that (2 minutes)

How's the wife? Great...keeping busy with work... (90 seconds)

How's school? OK, tiring...bla bla bla (90 seconds)

I ask: Did you get your (retirement) papers?

The f'ing this and that (5 minutes )

then a lull in conversation: 15 seconds

So what's new? "Nothing really, just studying and hanging with the kids" 30 seconds.

I ask: How about those (insert sport franchise here). (five to ten minutes)

Repeat lull...return to What's new?

I get along with my dad, but we simply don't talk. Never really did.

BTW: I too want to be a pirate!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Isn't it odd how the things that annoy us in people are often the very things we miss most about them when they're gone?

Conversely, we are often drawn to partners because of qualities that become annoying with time.

What perverse creatures we humans are.

I wanted to be a pirate as a child, but my mother assured me that I couldn't because I was a girl. So I researched female pirates to prove my worthiness, but by then she had lost interest in talking to me.

SQT said...

I just re-read the assignment and realized I totally forgot about the whole change-ten-words thing. Good thing we have until Wednesday.

I feel like I'm in school again--albeit this time willingly.

Fab said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fab said...

Strangely enough, I have better conversations with my mom on the phone than in person. Face to face they always turn out into a her trying to make me feel guilty about something or as if we have 2 different conversations at the same time. Mothers, a species apart. One day I will be one to; I dread the thought and feel pitty for that kid.

DesLily said...

Ok I posted the story.. but I better not be graded on this! LOL

avery said...

I was just feeling the same way yesterday, Stewart. It was my grandmother's birthday. She died three years ago in May and I kept fighting the urge to pick up the phone and dial her old number so I could talk to her again. If she knew I was doing that, she'd tell me to stop being stupid and go outside to enjoy the day.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'd like to talk to my Grandaddy Grover again, Stewart. He passed in 96. I've outlived way too many people.

Lee said...

My parents just wanted me to be married. When they realized how horrible I was at it, they stopped giving careeer advice.

I still have my eye patch, but I get seasick.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Good to see you, Wayne. I know people who have lost a spouse and they keep their spouse's message on the answering machine. Strange sensation. Good to see you back online Wayne.

Avery, I did that once. Long ago. It was late at night, and I called my parents' number. Knowing they were long gone. Just out of the emptiness that hits the soul. Someone answered. I hung up. It was sad. I wonder if I did it more than a few times if someone could accuse me of stalking the dead.

Lee, an eyepatch is a fine thing. It's the first step to getting a parrot. Then a wooden leg and a firstmate named Scrappy.

Christina said...

Your emotions were really well written. It makes me want to call my parents up right now while I still can.

Lee said...

The wooden leg is a serious commitment.

Stewart Sternberg said...

christina, good to see you weigh in. You and Emory seem like you two are having a great summer. And Lee...there are worse materials a pirate can pick for a leg. Such as styrofoam.