Land Line

there comes an age where boys decide to start calling you. in that time for me there was nary a cell phone and your only option was a home phone. in my house, where i was the youngest of five children, this meant that you had a bad chance of actually answering the phone. lucky for me, my dad did the tryouts and made drastic cuts before any of them ever got to talk to me.

young male whipper-snapper: doot doot doot doot doot doot doot (dials my #)

dad: hello?

ymws: hello may i speak to christin?

dad: who is speaking?

ymws: patrick.

dad: hello, patrick. how are you?

ymws: good. thank you.

now here is the fun part because at this point my dad would stay on the phone. the young male whipper-snapper would sit patiently, assuming my father had gone to get me to come to the phone. if only there had at least been hold music on the land lines in this era, ymws may have had a clue. 


[more silence]

[i promise you this could go on for the length of entire sitcoms]

[oh my word this could very well last until i perish and become part of my obituary]

ymws: hello?

dad: patrick, aren’t you going to ask me how i am?

ymws: excuse me sir?

dad: i asked you how you were and i was glad to hear it. aren’t you wondering how i’m doing?

ymws: oh yes how are you mr. mcgovern?

dad: i’m doing well thank you for asking. let me go get christin.

everyone that knew our family knew that if you called and especially if you picked one of the mcgovern ladies up that you weren’t even coming close if you didn’t ask my dad how he was doing. for years of my life my father would not fetch his daughters for someone who didn’t have the wisdom to inquire as to how those around him were doing.

one of the most beloved memories of my youth was after graduation when all of our friends and classmates were celebrating that we had made it through high school and were off to span the country in our future pursuits. every single one of my guys friends came over and said “well hello mr. mcgovern how are you?”.


i like to think that my dad was training them for more than how to get to talk with his daughters. i like to think that he was teaching them to look up from their pursuits, whatever they may be, and see the people around them. one thing i learned in these 40 years of mine is to look up and see those around me. and also to run really fast to get the phone if someone you really wanted to talk to said they were going to call.

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