|Learn to Listen|
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 heard 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 husbands 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.
|Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky|
[Note: This is one of those urban legends that made it's way around the world via the internet. While it is not a true story, as some claim, I still find it humorous.]
On July 20, 1969, as Commander of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. His first words after stepping on the moon, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", were televised to earth and heard by millions. But just before he reentered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky".
Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American Space Program. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "good luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.
On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 25 year old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had died, so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question. In 1938 when he was a kid in a small midwest town, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit the ball, which landed in his neighbor's yard by the bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.
As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "SEX! YOU WANT SEX? YOU'LL GET SEX WHEN THE KID NEXT DOOR WALKS ON THE MOON!"
|How the Grinch Stole Marriage|
by Mary Ann Horton, Lisa and Bill Koontz
(with apologies to Dr. Suess.)
Every Gay down in Gayville liked Gay Marriage a lot......
The Grinch hated happy Gays! The whole Marriage season!
"And they're buying their tuxes!" he snarled with a sneer,
For, tomorrow, he knew... All the Gay girls and boys
And THEN they'd do something he liked least of all!
"I MUST stop Gay Marriage from coming! ...But HOW?"
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
"I know what to do!" The Grinch laughed in his throat.
"All I need is a Scripture..." The Grinch looked around.
Then he broke in the courthouse. A rather tight pinch.
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most uncanny,
Then he slunk to the kitchen, and stole Wedding Cake.
"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will pocket their Rings."
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
It was quarter past dawn... All the Gays, still a-bed,
He stared down at Gayville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
"Maybe Marriage," he thought, "doesn't come from the court.
And the Gays had their Weddings. They promised for life.
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
The Lord looked down, at the proud and the tall,
The moral of this story is that we don't need a piece of paper and the approval of the state to get married. We can just get married. Instead of having a committment ceremony, we can have a wedding. Instead of partners, we can have husbands and wives. Instead of calling our relationship a Domestic Partnership or a Civil Union, we can call it a Marriage. Whether any government recognizes it is separate from what we call it. It's a free country and we can call ourselves what we like.
In 5 or 10 or 20 years, with plenty of visible same-sex married couples, the world won't see us as strange or scary, we're just the married couple down the street that happens to be gay. Eventually, the legal recognization of our marriages will follow.
If we allow ourselves to voluntarily sit in the back of the bus, we'll never make any progress. Rosa Parks had to sit in the front of the bus to make a difference. We must as well.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Mary Ann Horton. Permission granted to copy in whole, with attribution. This is a parody of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Suess.
|A Happy Marriage|
There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60
years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything.
They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old
woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her
husband never to open or ask her about it.|
For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily." The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.
"Honey," he said, "that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"
"Oh," she said, "That's the money I made from selling the doilies."
And finally, for desert...