Love makes a phone call for Christmas.

Awaiting the phone call she knows will come.
Pensively awaiting the phone call she knows will come for Christmas.

IT IS CHRISTMAS NOW.

The phone call has been made.

It is a Christmas call I have made for years.

A phone call to a spry, lovely lady now just a hop-skip-and-a-jump – and surely she could do that — from age 100.

It is not easy to complete the call. She has a busy social life, especially at Christmas. One that does not always find her near her telephone.

She has been in my days of Christmas – and many of the other days – for decades.

Since boyhood, when her only son, Tom, and I became lifelong friends. Went through school together. Played football together. Chummed together. Drank root beer floats at the drug store together. Worked part time jobs at the grocery store and other places together.

Her husband — her soul mate and Tom’s father — has been gone a couple of decades now. She misses him dearly, as she mentions each Christmas. Especially at the evening meal when they had their “little conversations.”

Dearly misses Tom, too. Especially on Sunday afternoons, when he always – always – came to visit her. Tom’s been gone eleven years. Now Tom’s widow comes on Sunday afternoons. As often as she can. Which is most Sundays.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

In each Christmas phone conversation, her joy and her delight are there.

In her words.

In her voice.

In her zest for life.

She abundantly shares it, too, on all of the other days — down at the WalMart. At the beauty shop. At her church.

Places to which she drives in her trusty Mercury with oh-so-many years and miles on it.

Has for years.

Has no plans to stop doing it.

Gets her out of the house.

Out of her “do nothing chair.”

Out and about.

Out to where she can mix and mingle.

Spread her special kind of Christmas cheer.

No matter the day of the year.

In this year’s Christmas phone call, she marvels at technology.

“All this modern stuff,” as she puts it.

Just now she and many other family members – gathered for another one of her many Christmas social engagements — have used some of this modern stuff to not only talk to but see on a computer screen a grandson who is in one of those far-off military deployment places where he and so many others find themselves at Christmas. Even sang Christmas carols to him.

Technological joy to the world.

The grandson, of course, won’t be home for Christmas.

Not this one.

Maybe next year.

Maybe the year after that.

Maybe before the hop-skip-and-a-jump and she turns 100.

And, marvel of marvel, she goes on, they not only were able to talk to him and listen to him but “see!” him.

She doesn’t understand this modern stuff.

But, my, o’ my, how glad she is that it is there.

There to bring her grandson “home” to her at Christmastime.

She joyfully updates us on all of her family members.

Her conversation is interspersed with humor, as always.

This time, she says someone at church keeps saying they want to introduce her to some nice gentleman they know. Thinks they would be a good match.

“Introduce him to yourself,” she responds to the well-intentioned one at church.

She has her man. Her gentleman. Her gentle man.

She misses him. Misses him dearly.

But, in a quite real way, he is there for her.

Just as he was for lo, those many, many years. All of those Christmases ago.

After a good while, the conversation begins to come to an end, but not before she says – as she does with each Christmas phone call – that she loves me.

Loves me dearly.

Just as she loves Tom.

The phone call has been made.

It is Christmas now.

Roger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He is the author of The Day Camelot Came to Town and Heart Songs From a Washboard Road. He can be reached at wrs_author@summersights.com

Please click the book cover image to read more about the Roger Summers collection of poignant stories in Heart Songs From a Washboard Road.

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    Roger, sometimes the greatest Christmas gift of all is a voice at the other end of a telephone line. It can make a difference. Beautifully written story. It’s one that should be told every Christmas.

  • Don Newbury

    Roger, your gift of beautiful reflections constitute either the last gift of 2014, or the first of 2015. Caleb mentioned a while back that you’d probably start writing again after the first of the year. About mid-October, I stopped looking. Welcome back!

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