The black phone
By Georgeann Wearin
It has been my experience that no good news can come from a bedside phone. We have a cordless phone on our nightstand that we refer to as “the black phone”. We call it that because; well … it is black!
During the day when the phone rings no one answers the black phone because we use the one in the kitchen or in the office. They are handier and we are never in the bedroom unless we are sleeping.
Therein lies the problem. We are sleeping when the black phone rings and so when my husband answers it and wakes me and says, “It’s the black phone, hon.” I shudder. It’s probably like when one of the President’s aids say, “It’s the red phone Mr. President.” You know it ain’t gonna be good!
I have groggily answered the black phone to find out that my oldest son is stuck in a pasture while coyote hunting at 20 below and at 1:00 in the morning. It is not fun to help my husband into coveralls and gloves to go out and start the tractor and start the search! It is very hard to lie there waiting for hours in a warm bed, fighting sleep and hoping all goes well, let me tell you!
The black phone has startled me out of a deep sleep only to find that son number two is done at the high school dance and needs a ride home because his brother wants to stay and he is sooooooooo bored!!
“Please mom!” I always hold my breath when I make those trips to town hoping I don’t get into an accident or that the policeman doesn’t pull me over because I am donning flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers! It must scare my partner as well because he has taken to making those trips instead of me recently.
We have had horrible calls on the black phone relaying tragedies about friends or family that still make my heart hurt when I think of them. Those are times when I really hate the black phone.
Well meaning neighbors have called on the black phone to let us know that there are cows on the road, strangers in pastures where they shouldn’t be, or wondering about lost dogs. I am very glad they let us know about those things, but once again it is not a joy for my husband to have to go out into the dark and cold to check them out. I have spent many a night cuddled in my blankets worrying if he’s okay or not!
I have also used the black phone to dole out bad news from my end. I wake up at midnight to find that a certain son, who shall remain nameless, is not home yet and has broken curfew. “Hand me the black phone,” I angrily say to my snoring hubby. I dial my son’s cell phone and make him shudder at the conversation I harshly spew out on the phone. I’m thinking at this point he doesn’t like the black phone any more than I do!
I guess we all have to have a “black phone” in one form or another. Life can be hard and someone has to keep us informed of the bad things even if it is at night and while you’re in a deep sleep. I just wish that once I could get good news on the black phone. I can hear it already. “I’m sorry to call so late Mrs. Wearin but this is Ed McMahon. We are in town and can’t find your house and you have just won a million dollars!”
“That’s great!” I would reply. Then I would have to sit up, turn the light on, clean the sleepy out of my eyes and lovingly elbow my sleeping husband in the ribs and say. “Honey, could you get up and meet the Prize Patrol in town? I’m in my ratty pajamas, I was sound asleep and it’s soooooooo cold!” Oh the sacrifices I make when that darned black phone rings!