The phone rings and the phone number that shows up in the caller ID is familiar to me. I will answer this one because I KNOW who is calling and I want to talk - to him!
Too often these days our phones ring and the number is “unavailable” or “unknown” or it comes from a zip code that is local but no name is associated with it. Too often the caller id is some political entity or an organization that wants your attention, or you may have contributed to in the past but you’re not in a position to repeat the donation this year. We hear regularly that scammers are “reaching out” via phone and internet and we’re cautioned to not engage, no matter what. Robocalls bombard us throughout the day in spite of the government’s efforts to thwart them. Noise, noise, noise!
But today when my phone rings I know it’s my dad calling because he calls me EVERY day, usually multiple times per day, and for that I’m grateful.
Ten years ago, April 8, 2010, I received a phone call which I refer to as “The Call” and it was a call from my oldest son leaving me a message that “Dad just died…I’m coming home to take care of everything.” No one wants to hear a call like that and it was days before his dad’s birthday and a month before Father’s Day. Father’s Day for my kids will never be the same so we do things to celebrate in a “new” way which includes celebrating MY father more than ever before. You see, my dad will be 91 this year and he is one of the most extraordinary individuals I know.
Dad would be embarrassed, for a minute, if he heard me tell the world that he’s THE BEST father in the world and then he would say, with all of the humility he could muster, “Well, Yes, I guess I am!”
The other day he was wearing a t-shirt sporting the saying - “Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need EXPERT ADVICE!” and he just laughed out loud when I noticed it. Dad works for my company as the Director of Customer Service – or Chief Sales Expert – or just Dr. Jack, the Go-to-guy at BenfoComplete.com! He is an integral part of my work life and that daily call usually has to do with a customer care question or a product question. Dad talks to customers daily, all year long and those conversations have had a profound effect on his health, physical as well as mental.
We’ve found that some of the most interesting people are those who “look or sound different” and when we stop and listen to their life’s stories we find that we’re very similar. Their stories are so interesting and actually enlarge our souls if we just listen and receive.
The same advice of “Stop and Listen” goes for us when we’re around our elderly parents because with time does come wisdom and perspective. Many times the kids will say “Mom, Grampy is repeating his stories” and I say “Yes, he may be doing that but one day he won’t be here to repeat them, so smile, enjoy and RECEIVE the spirit with which he tells the stories.” Often I read the books that dad has written and I can HEAR him telling the stories which he’s written and I giggle out loud…his voice is engraved upon my heart, mind, and memory and for that I’m grateful.
Too often we reach our “elder years” which some call retirement age and then go off to the golf course or the pool, or more often than not just sit at home in front of the TV and disengage from real personal contact with others that may not be in our immediate circles of family/friends.
My dad retired early and spent many years on the golf course with his friends, however with age has come some physical limitations and his golf game isn’t as great as it was years ago, so he has revived an old hobby – setting up a train display that includes each of the helicopters and airplanes that his grandsons fly! Dad’s imagination has no limits when it comes to his building a bridge or an airplane hangar, all to scale (see the picture below!) and when he calls me I KNOW where he’s sitting and that makes me smile.
So today the phone will ring and the familiar telephone number will come up and I’ll pick up the receiver and say “Yessssssssss, hi Pop” and he’ll launch into a great story and we’ll be talking for at least the next 15 minutes…and for that daily call I will be forever grateful. This Father’s Day I encourage you to pick up the phone and CALL, or Zoom but don’t just text. Listen to your dad’s voice and his stories and receive of his wisdom and make it HIS day at least for a few minutes.