Written by THE WISE ONE
Ours today is a story of a little boy who grew into a man. He was originally living with his parents in Seattle, USA.
When he was quite young, his father had one of the first telephones in the neighbourhood. It was one those housed in a polished case fastened to the wall. Only the shiny receiver hung on the side of the box.
He was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when his mother talked to it. Then he 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 anybody's number and the correct time.
His first personal experience with this genie-in the-bottle came one day while his mother was visiting a neighbour. Amusing himself with his father’s DIY toolkit in the basement, he whacked his finger with a hammer. And boy did that hurt?
The pain on the boy was terrible, but there didn't seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. So, what to do?
He walked around the house sucking the throbbing finger, and finally arrived at the stairway. Quickly, he ran for the foot stool in the parlour and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, he unhooked the receiver in the parlour and held it to his ear.
"Information Please," he said into the mouthpiece just above my head.
A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into his ear, "Information."
"I hurt my finger," he wailed into the phone; and the tears flowed freely now that he had an audience.
"Isn't your mother home?" came the question. "Nobody's home but me." He blubbered.
"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
"No," he replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open your icebox?" she asked. He said he could.
"Then chip off a little piece of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.
After that, he called "Information, Please" for practically everything.
He asked her for help with geography and she told him where Philadelphia, Africa and all sorts of places were. She helped him with math too!.
Then, there was the time Petey, this was the boy’s pet canary, died. He called "Information, Please" and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child, but the young boy was inconsolable.
He asked, "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 the boy’s anguish, for she said quietly, "Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."
Somehow he felt better.
Another day he was on the telephone. "Information Please."
"Information," said the now familiar voice.
"How do you spell fix?" he asked. All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.
When Paul (the boy) was nine years old, he and his family moved across the country to Boston. Of course he missed his friend very much.
"Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home, and somehow he never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall of their new home in Boston.
As he grew into his teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left him. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity he would recall the serene sense of security he had then. He appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on his way to college, his plane put down in Seattle. With about half an hour or so between planes to kill, he spent 15 minutes on the phone with his sister, who lived there now.
Then without thinking, he dialled the hometown operator and said, "Information Please."
Miraculously, he heard the small, clear voice he knew so well, "Information."
He hadn't planned this but he went on to say, "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."
Paul couldn’t help himself but laugh. "So it's really still you, 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."
He told her how often he had thought of her over the years and asked if he could call her again when he came back to visit his sister.
"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."
Three months later he was back in Seattle. He called and a different voice answered, "Information."
He asked for Sally.
"Are you a friend?" She asked.
"Yes, a very old friend," he answered.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally has been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."
Before he could hang up she said, "Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul?"
"Yes," he replied.
"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 I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."
Paul thanked the new “Information” and hung up. He knew exactly what Sally meant.
Never, ever, underestimate the impression you can make on others. And by the way, whose life have you touched today? Last week? The past month?
It’s never too late to make amends. Stay blessed!
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.