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WITandWISDOM(tm) - March 1, 2002
ISSN 1538-8794

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

It's easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. - Alfred Adler (1870-1937), Austrian psychiatrist

Source: Bits & Pieces, October 10, 1996, Copyright (c) Economic Press, Inc., http://www.epinc.com

Subjects: Freedom


Midnight phone calls stir a mother's heart. We all know what it's like to get that phone call in the middle of the night. This night was no different. Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red, illuminated numbers of my clock.

Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver. "Hello?" My heart pounded, I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my husband, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.

"Mama?" The voice answered. I could hardly hear the whisper over the static. But my thoughts immediately went to my daughter. When the desperate sound of a young crying voice became clear on the line, I grabbed for my husband and squeezed his wrist.

"Mama, I know it's late. But don't . . . don't say anything until I finish. And before you ask, yes I've been drinking. I nearly ran off the road a few miles back and ...."

I drew in a sharp, shallow breath, released my husband and pressed my hand against my forehead. Sleep still fogged my mind, and I attempted to fight back the panic. Something wasn't right.

"I got so scared. All I could think of was how it would hurt you if a policeman came to your door and said I'd been killed. I want ... to come home. I know running away was wrong. I know you've been worried sick. I should have called you days ago but I was afraid ... afraid ...."

Staying on the line, sobs of deep-felt emotion flowed from the receiver and poured into my heart. Immediately, I pictured my daughter's face in my mind, and my fogged senses seemed to clear, "I think ---"

"No! Please let me finish! Please!" she pleaded, not so much in anger, but in desperation. I paused and tried to think what to say. Before I could go on, she continued. "I'm pregnant, Mama. I know I shouldn't be drinking now, especially now, but I'm scared, Mama. So scared!" The voice broke again, and I bit into my lip, feeling my own eyes fill with moisture.

I looked up at my husband, who sat silently mouthing, "Who is it?" I shook my head and when I didn't answer, he jumped up and left the room, returning seconds later with a portable phone held to his ear. She must have hear the click in the line because she asked, "Are you still there? Please don't hang up on me! I need you. I feel so alone." I clutched the phone and stared at my husband, seeking guidance. "I'm here, I wouldn't hang up," I said.

"I should have told you, Mama. I know I should have told you. But, when we talk, you just keep telling me what I should do. You read all those pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all, but all you do is talk. You don't listen to me. You never let me tell you how I feel. It is as if my feelings aren't important. Because you're my mother you think you have all the answers. But sometimes I don't need answers. I just want someone to listen."

I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the how-to-talk-to-your-kids pamphlets scattered on my night stand. "I'm listening," I whispered.

"You know, back there on the road after I got the car under control, I started thinking about the baby and taking care of it. Then I saw this phone booth and it was as if I could hear you preaching to me about how people shouldn't drink and drive. So I called a taxi. I want to come home."

"That's good, Honey," I said, relief filling my chest. My husband came closer, sat down beside me and laced his fingers through mine.

"But you know, I think I can drive now."

"No!" I snapped. My muscles stiffened and I tightened the clasp on my husband's hand. "Please, wait for the taxi. Don't hang up on me until the taxi gets there."

"I just want to come home, Mama."

"I know. But do this for your Mama. Wait for the taxi, please." Learning to listen: I listened to the silence ... fearing. When I didn't hear her answer, I bit into my lip and closed my eyes. Somehow I had to stop her from driving.

"There's the taxi, now." Only when I heard someone in the background asking about a Yellow Cab did I feel my tension easing.

"I'm coming home, Mama." There was a click, and the phone went silent.

Moving from the bed, tears forming in my eyes, I walked out into the hall and went to stand in my 16-year-old daughter's room. My husband came from behind, wrapped his arms around me and rested his chin on the top of my head. I wiped the tears from my cheeks.

"We have to learn to listen," I said to him.

He studied me for a second, then asked, "Do you think she'll ever know she dialed the wrong number?" I looked at our sleeping daughter, then back at him. "Maybe it wasn't such a wrong number."

"Mom, Dad, what are you doing?" The muffled voice came from under the covers. I walked over to my daughter, who now sat up staring into the darkness.

"We're practicing," I answered.

"Practicing what?" she mumbled and laid back on the mattress, but her eyes already closed in slumber.

"Listening," I whispered and brushed a hand over her cheek.

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'" (Matthew 19:14, NIV).

Source: Weekend Encounter, by Dick Innes, Copyright 2001, http://www.actsweb.org/subscribe.htm

Subjects: Parenting, Listening

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

WITandWISDOM(tm) dated February 13, 2002 had a Limerick about the flight of Miss Bright. It turns out that it was a variation of a poem published Aug. 8, 1959 in the Saturday Evening Post as follows:

There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She set out one day
In a relative way,
And returned home the previous night.

In response to the poem Cliff Caldwell of Lincoln, Nebraska wrote to the Letters column: "Limit her journey to an east bound one-way trip across the International Date Line in a jet plane, and the lady's performance becomes not only possible but understandable with no help from Einstein." Thus:

A lady jet pilot named Bright
Took-off, by the dawn's early light,
From Manila one day,
And landed okay
In Hawaii the previous night.

Submitted by Vance Kennedy

Subjects: Limericks, Pilots, Einstein, Speed


When my husband and I went to the local preschool to pick up our four-year-old son, Tony, we asked the teacher about his behavior. Smiling, she commented on how bright and attentive he was. Proud that his behavior reflected positively on our home life, we watched as Tony and a group of boys and girls played in the miniature kitchen area nearby.

Suddenly, Tony stepped up to the toy refrigerator, flung open the door and exclaimed at the top of his lungs, "Hey! Anybody want a beer?"

Contributed to Reader's Digest "Life In These United States" by Tammi Salamun

Source: DailyInBox: Reader's Digest CyberSmiles, http://dailyinbox.com/rd/

Subjects: Parenting, Irony

~~~~~~~ TRIVIA:

Next Stop Mars

Desperate for adventure and glory? The Mars Society is looking for volunteers to test what life may be like on the red planet.

For geophysicist Katy Quinn, 30, that meant spending eight days last summer on a sub-zero arctic island surveying seismic activity in a spacesuit as part of the global group's Mars research project. Members hope one day to thumb a ride with manned flights.

For more information visit:

Source: USA Weekend, January 18-20, 2002, http://usaweekend.com

Subjects: Astronauts, Mars

WITandWISDOM™ Copyright © 1998-2001 by Richard G. Wimer - All Rights Reserved
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