A House Guest In Downtown Toto, My Mama & Her Cell Phone

Greeting to all and welcome to new friends to the EastWing.

Back about 1959 or so, my Dad met a stranger who was new to downtown Toto Indiana. From their first meeting he was fascinated with this interesting feller looking for a place to live, he soon invited him to come live in our house, right there in Toto. We quickly adjusted to this newest member of the family, and my life was never the same after he came into our house.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. If my dad said he could stay, that’s good enough for me, he was family. My Mama and Dad were paired instructors: My Mama taught me good from evil, right from wrong, and Dad taught me to obey the laws of both God and society. But the other feller that lived in our house, well, he was the storyteller. He would keep us fascinated for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. He entertained us all. He made us laugh. He didn’t teach us anything, but taught us lots of stuff.

The guy knew everything about everything, he always knew the answers about the past, he understood the present, and even seemed to me like he was able to predict the future! He took our whole family to the first major league ball game we ever saw in our life. He even took us all to the Kentucky Derby, and we loved it. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. But he never stopped talking, and my Dad didn’t seem to mind, and if my Day didn’t mind then I didn’t mind either.

Sometimes, my Mama would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for him to leave our home, she may well have, but she never said.)

Being a Baptist Preacher my Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but he never felt obligated to honor ‘em. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home, ya just didn’t cuss at my house, nobody, but nobody cussed in the house of the Preacher. Our long time visitor, however, got away with words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol but the he encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely about sex. The only one in the house to do so. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced by this guy. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER, EVER asked to leave our home, or shut up.

More than fifty years have passed since he moved into my life in downtown Toto Indiana. He’s stayed with me all and has blended in wherever I go. But he’s not as interesting to me as he used to be.

As I grew up, went to college , got married and moved away from home, he went with me and is still sitting over in his corner in the WestWing, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. Although I don’t look at him very often. In fact, The She banned him completely from the EastWing, but he’s still there in the WestWing. Just waiting. He’s grown a lot since we first met. Just 14 inches wide and hardly any color in his face. Today he’s 60 inches wide there in theWestWing. And color on his face, oh sure, it’s living color.

His name? Oh, I forgot to tell ya, In the WestWing we call him TV. He has a wife now….we call her Computer. Their first child was Laptop. The second child was Cell Phone. The third child, I Pad. The fourth child, I Pad II. I’m sure they’ll have more babies as time goes on.

Both Mama and my Dad are now gone and I’m left with TV, computer, Laptop, I Pad, and I Pad II. I sure miss my Mama and Dad. My Dad never met computer. I wonder how he’d react to having his picture taken by Cell Phone? Not to mention how he’d react to cell phone itself.

I do think my Dad would’ve loved computer. ‘Cause unlike TV, computer can bring knowledge on anything and everything in the universe. And my Dad loved to learn about stuff he’d never known. Computer can do that for ya, internet and all.

My Mama met computer before she passed away. My Mama loved computer from the first time they met. A few years back, Mama spent three weeks in the EastWing one winter and every day when I came home from work, Mama and I done “computer stuff”. I showed her the magic of the internet, and she loved it.

I answered every question Mama had about computer. Tried to get her to touch the keyboard, she declined. But was still fascinated by computer. Mama said “I’m too old to learn computer”. Yet she looked forward everyday to when I got home so she and I could do the “computer stuff”.

Mama read the news on yahoo.com, read Sophia’s email, and looked at what was being said by everybody on FaceBook. My Mama liked computer. She loved to read Sophia’s email. She would even read it out loud with Sophia setting on her lap. My Mama read the email to Sophia.

Mama also got to know Cell Phone. One day, during a visit to Mama’s house , Mama said “Do you think I need a cell phone?” Now when my Mama says do you think I need a cell phone. That means Mama wants a cell phone. I said “ Mama I think you need a cell phone”. She smiled at me.

At the time my son, RJ, handled the cell phones for the family. I told RJ to get a cell phone for Mama. And so it was done. A day after Mama was introduced to the cell phone. I get a call to my office. It’s my Mama saying “ Can you hear me on this cell phone?’ I heard Mama on the cell phone. Two days later my Mama calls the office again wanting to know if the cell phone is working the way it is intended to work. It was. My Mama called me ever two or three days on her cell phone.

After ‘bout a couple weeks, while I’m at my Mama’s house, I say “Mama how’s that cell phone working out for ya”? She says “Great, I’ve called you nine times and it worked every time”. I say “You call anybody else?” Mama says “Don’t need to ‘cause I know it’s working”. Mama called me at least once a week to make sure it was still working. My Mama never called anybody else on that cell phone, only called me. Didn’t need to, ‘cause it was working, and if she needed to talk to me, she knew she could. My Mama loved her cell phone right up to the time she passed away.

I took my Mama to the hospital on a very cold and windy Thursday Morning in March, just as the night time gave way to a gray, overcast morning. In the emergency room, after the pain medication had been administered and had taken control, Mama asked me to get her pause. When I got Mama’s purse, she reached inside, handed me the cell phone and said “Here’s my cell phone, I won’t need it anymore.”

My Mama died 48 hours after she gave me her cell phone, there in the emergency room. It was 6:30 in the morning, just as the night time gave way to a spectacular sunrise on a crystal clear Saturday Morning, Mama died. Mama was right, she didn’t need the cell phone anymore. But It served her so well when it counted most, that time in her life when Mama wanted to have a cell phone.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, With A House Guest In Downtown Toto, My Mama & Her Cell Phone

I wish you well,