My Calling

Many weekdays, at about 1:00 PM I will also get a call from our older daughter who lives in Hawaii as she is just waking up and getting ready for teaching at The Punahou School. (where President Obama went to school when he was a child) There is a 5 or 6 hour time difference depending on the time of year. On my drive home, at about 5:00 PM each day, I too place a call to speak to my mom in Springfield, New Jersey where there is no time difference but 500 miles separating us. At about 8:00 PM on a typical weekday, my wife and I get a phone call from our younger daughter who lives in Los Angeles. At this time, she usually leaves work and although her commute is short in miles, it is long in traffic. Her call home is a quick chance to catch up. It struck me today how much we take for granted the wonders of technology as we share these brief 15 minutes visits with family who live far away.

Sarah Slater in Hawaii 
Hawaii is home 

Sarah’s calls are often a little different since she is just getting up so our conversations aren’t as energized but she likes the chance to start her day with some vitamin D (for Dad). I listen as she’ll talk about this or that; I’ll ask her about her feline princess roomie (Nani) and we will generally just be together without having to say too much. Sometimes she will give me an update on her friends and some fun stuff coming up that usually involves a beach, the sun and Hawaiian tropical breezes. I like to bathe in that light that comes from the calls.  I hear in her voice a slight cough and I hesitate to ask if she is feeling well and worry about strep throat. She will share with me about students, her coworkers and on occasion, something she cooked. 

Bea Slater and a spectacular
whitefish salad 
Springfield, New Jersey 07081
The calls to my mom in Springfield are often just like a Seinfeld episode as we talk about nothing and everything. They give us a chance to keep in touch, to check up and to make sure all is well. My mom and I will share notes on what we ate for dinner the previous night, any movies we saw and the latest family news. She will listen carefully when I cough worrying that I’m sick and haven’t seen a doctor even though I am talking and eating almonds that are getting caught in my throat.  I guess some things are in our genes. We will talk about help she needs on the computer- how do I get to YouTube again? Or, she will tell me about how much she loves Halibut on the bone but can’t find it anymore at King’s Supermarkets. I will update her on tonight’s plans for dinner or how things are going at work or an update on the girls.  Frequently she will go through a quick review of Lolly, Norma & Al, Florence, Tommy, The lady at the knitting store (Maureen?), the folks from the Temple and of course an update on Henry and Juliet. I’ll hear about my brother and sister and their families and occasionally about one of the cousins. (Mom had a lot of cousins and the few remaining are still in touch) During the baseball season, it is all about the Mets except the occasional lottery ticket that didn't win. 

Hollywood is home
Fanny Slater, movie star, amazing
chef and dental servant 
When Fanny calls from LA, she is often ranting about work or going on and on about a new idea she has for something to cook. She wants to explore flavor combinations or an idea on balancing the textures in a meal. Occasionally she might tell us a story about an upcoming party or event she attended or the latest celebrity sighting she had while going into a coffee shop. We get updates on Olive (her feline roomie) and we give her updates on Shambala. The call will drift between muffins she baked or the importance of caramelized onions in her life. There is an update on her blog or guest posts too. Occasionally, she will help explain a story by using traditional literary references such as Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel and Phoebe. The ever present “my Sara” and “our Sarah” also is discussed and it usually connects with stories about Yogurtland, boys or beer. For some odd reason, we discuss all things plaid. 

In the course of the day, through a little phone in my pocket, I can bring my loved ones closer to me either though there is a great physical distance between us. It is a little blessing but one that I am grateful for as I dial or touch the numbers on the phone.

 Occasionally, I will think about how wonderful it would be to be able to call those who have made their transitions and my wife will remind me that you don’t need a telephone to do that, just your heart.

Staying connected is my calling.