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Father resembles The 6PM Evening News from yesteryear. When I call him to ask about his welfare he tells me all the news about the relations. Like Walter Cronkite he talks and I listen for half an hour – most of the time I don’t any real information about him. This has been our mode of operation for telephone conversations since my college days. This morning I heard about the movers and  the construction happening at Brother #3’s house and the various comings and goings of everyone in the family. Cousin Chad came to town to remove Uncle David’s vintage car from Brother #3’s garage (and there is much rejoicing). The various nephews seem to be sometimes at college and sometimes not. I don’t need to call anyone as I know about their shenanigans before they tell me.

Calls to my late Mother were also one-way listening endeavors but she talked about her health.

Sometime in the long ago it got into my head the notion phone calls were best done in a business-like manner: goal oriented without gab.  Apart from my parents whenever I received a call I went into the ‘what do you want?” or ‘what needs to be done?” mode often miffing others who were merely calling to see what I was doing at the moment.

Just when I learned to loosen up in the phone calls they changed. Nowadays nobody calls to just chat. Whenever there is a phone call from some number I don’t recognize I don’t dare pick answer on the grounds it is likely trouble. What phone calls I receive are indeed ‘business-oriented’ done by telemarketers, fund raisers, scam artists, and other crooks in the trade all with the common goal of saying mumbo-jumbo and asking for money.  I think I would like some calls where nothing is expected but talk but these are past.

I take comfort in hearing Father’s daily unaltered presentation of the Spo-house evening news. He doesn’t want to gab and he doesn’t want to charge my credit card with a donation. He wants to tell me the news and I let him.  

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