I love my Dad. He has always been there for me.
When I was little, he carried me on his shoulders. And when I got married, he walked me down the aisle.
He dished up ice cream sundaes and banana splits in good times, and cried hidden tears in bad.
But now that he’s past 90…
He needs to understand that when you live 2000 miles away, an unclear phone message means something. And even the lack of a message means something.
Once my Dad phoned the house and left the ominous message: Hi, Honey, it’s your Dad, call me.
Well , since my Dad never phoned me, this being the usual task assigned to my Mother, who wouldn’t assumed the worst? And So my husband dashed over to the shul where I was teaching fifth grade Sunday School students about Jewish sages. He wrangled the Principal out of her office, and followed her down the hall to my classroom to inform us all that Dad had called and that I’d better come home.
Shaking and tearful, I called him. Dad, is everything all right? Is Mom okay?
Of course, he said casually, What’s your zip code? Uncle George wants to send you something.
And it happened again just tonight. The phone rang, and before I recognized the number, all was quiet.
I called back as quickly as human fingers can push those stupid buttons, and left a message: Sorry I missed your call, Dad. Please call me back.
Time went by. Dad didn’t call.
Finally, as dinner was about to be served here in the NW, I tried again.
I got your call, is everything all right, Dad? I asked him when he ansered.
Oh, I dialed the wrong number, he said casually. Once again, my heart was racing for nothing.
What can I do? Short of scolding him like a toddler for scaring me half to death? Warning him that if he calls unnecessarily I am liable to panic…?
So I simply say once more: It’s great to hear your voice, Dad.
Who cares if my dinner is cold, if my heart is pounding frantically in my chest. My Dad is on the other end of the phone, still talking to me, still signing off with I love you, too.
But hey Kids, if I make it to 90…!