Monday 8 August 2011

The Old Phone on the Wall

I was sent this lovely story about a telephone yesterday and I wanted to share it with you this morning. I don't know if it is true, or who even wrote it, so if it was you, forgive me ahead of time for not giving you credit. All I know for sure is that it is worth sharing:

~The Old Phone on the Wall~

When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighbourhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbour. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.

"Information, please" I said into the
Mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.


"I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."

"Can you open the icebox?" she asked.

I said I could.

"Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for
help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, "Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, " Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar voice.

"How do I spell fix?", I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much.

"Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I
Somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle ... I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.


I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying,
"Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any
idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me.
I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered,


I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" the voice said.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, "She said, Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up, she said,
"Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?"

"Yes." I answered.

"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you."

The note said,
"Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.
He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

We should never underestimate the impression we make on others with our words and deeds. Every kindness, every helping hand, every ear to listen . . . has invaluable worth, and can touch another's life in an immeasurable way, no matter how small you may feel your gesture is.

I hope that you are not tired of salads just yet! (It's turned very cold here now! Not like summer at all!) Here's a delicious salad made with grilled corn! Grilling the corn gives it an extra special flavour and texture. I just love it done this way!

*Fresh Corn Salad*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

A delicious corn salad that starts on the grill! Be sure to plan ahead as this needs to marinate for several hours before eating.

8 ears of corn, shucked
6 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 spring onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (Wear gloves and handle with care. Do
not touch any skin on face, near eyes. Wash hands well with soap and water afterwards if you have not worn gloves.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
4 TBS white balsamic vinegar
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Brush the ears of corn with a little olive oil. Grill the corn until lightly browned, turning often to cook evenly. Allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the corn from cobs into a large bowl.

Toss the corn together the with tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, pepper, jalapeƱo, cilantro, vinegar, and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Toss and marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

We're talking about fish today, over in The English Kitchen. There are three tasty recipes for cooking and presenting three kinds of fish in a very delicious way.


  1. That is a great story I had read it before but it never fails to touch me...
    Have a great week..
    Love Sybil xx

  2. I enjoyed that little story today. It is always good to hear how a little kindness touches others. A good reminder for all of us. Hope your Monday is a wonderful one!

  3. What a sweet story... and lovely way to begin the week there, Marie! LOVE the corn salad--I never tire of salads, not even in winter. ;o) Happy week, dear friend--LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  4. what a beautiful story,, just lovely.Sounds like something you may have written Marie.I 'm sorry its cool in England,, maybe you should box up some of that cool air and ship to the states they're still sweating down there.its cooler here also,, fall is coming fast!We never tire of salads around this joint!


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