DAY 118: Wednesday 5 August
Good morning everyone
Here’s a story by Paul Villard and published in Readers Digest a few years ago.
My name is Paul Villard and as a little boy, my parents owned one of the first telephones. We lived on the plains in America and the wooden box with the handle was installed in our farmhouse. I thought it was a wonderful machine. My mother would wind it up and say, ‘Information please,’ and a lady would reply ‘This is Information.’ It was incredible. Information Please would get a phone number, tell the time, and sometimes even the weather forecast.
One day when I was small, my parents were out and I banged my thumb with a hammer. There was no point crying because there was nobody in. Then I remembered the telephone.
I got a stool stood on it and reached up to the handset: ‘Information please.’ The lady replied in her standard way, ‘This is Information. How can I help you?’
‘I've banged my thumb’ I sobbed. ‘Is your mummy in?’ Information Please asked. ‘No’
‘Is your daddy in?’ ‘No.’ ‘Is it bleeding?’ ‘No.’
Information Please said, ‘Can you get to the ice box?’ ‘Yes.’
‘Hold some ice against it.’ It worked!!.....
After that I rang Information Please for everything, Information Please helped me with my geography homework. Information Please taught me how to spell disappear and when my pet canary died and I cried down the phone asking ‘Why would God make something that can sing so beautifully and then let it die?’ Information Please said ‘Paul, you must always remember there are other worlds to sing in.’
Then my parents moved to New York and I was out of her area, and anyway, I couldn't believe that Information Please could live in the new plastic phone. So I never rang her again…...that is until I was 24 years old.
I was making a trip one day and my plane set down at the airport near to where we used to live. I would have to wait about half an hour and was sitting in the airport lounge when I saw a telephone. I thought… ‘I wonder……’ so I dialled and said, ‘Information please’ and a familiar voice said, ‘This is Information.’ ‘Could you please teach me how to spell disappear?’ I asked. There was a long pause and then she replied, ‘I expect your thumb is better by now!’
I said, ‘have you any idea what you meant to me?’ She said ‘have you any idea what you meant to me? We couldn't have children, so I used to look forward to your calls. My name is Sally: I'm not very well so I only work a few hours a week, but if you're ever in the area, promise to ring me, won't you?’ After that I rang Sally whenever I was in the area and we would talk.
One day, I dialled the number and a different voice answered, ‘This is Information.’
‘Could I speak to Sally please?’ I said. ‘Are you a friend?’ the woman said. ‘Yes’ I replied, ‘I'm an old friend.’
There was a pause, then the operator said ‘I'm sorry to have to tell you, sir, but Sally died 5 weeks ago. She was elderly and hadn't been well for some time.’
‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I'm sorry to have troubled you.’ ‘No, wait…’ the operator said. ‘Is your name Paul?’ ‘Why, yes it is.’
‘Well sir, Sally said that if you happened to ring, we must be sure to give you this message: “Paul, you must always remember there are other worlds to sing in.”
In our 21st century world, we hardly pause to think how much information is instantly available at our fingertips through computers and phones. There are numbers we can phone in an emergency such as – 999 in this country, 000 in Australia, 112 in Europe or 911 in USA and Canada. (I have often thought how poignant the worst terrorist tragedy in USA was 9 September 2001 which in the American date format is referred to as ‘911’ – the same digits as their emergency call service number.)
So, who are you goin’ to call? I’m sure it won’t be ghostbusters!. As Christians we can call on our Father God at any time, not only in emergency but also when we don’t understand such as in the current situation ‘Why is this coronavirus epidemic going on for so long and what are we going to do?’ We don’t need to call 999 when we are confused, troubled or distressed. Try 333 – yes… Jeremiah 33:3 says - ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
Hymnalong for today >>> WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
· Vera phoned again yesterday and she had been out for a short, escorted walk and she was delighted to say, ‘managed without her walking stick.’
· I’ve had a handful of messages of congratulations to Janet & Alan Birchall for their Golden wedding on 15 August. If anyone else would like to add a greeting or message, please let me have it today so I can include the video greeting we are sending from the Chapel.
MAKE YOU SMILE:
· A father is at work when he gets a phone call from his son's teacher. "Hello Mr. Johnson, I was in the middle of a lecture today when your son just got up and left the room without a word. I'm very worried about him, is he alright?" The father just laughed and said, "oh you have nothing to worry about. Billy has been sleepwalking since he was 5 years old!"
· Got a new game on my phone called Titanic but it's really annoying... every time I open the app it syncs.
· What asks no questions but always demands an answer? - A doorbell or a telephone.
· What do you get if you cross a telephone with an iron? - A smooth operator!
That’s it for today – we’ll be in touch again for Sunday which all being well will include another virtual service