Sunday, January 11, 2009

Adventures in Calling

“Hunny, did you hear someone knock on the door?” she asked.

He checked; and yes there was someone at the door. It was Gonzalo! “Hey, Pablito! How are you?”

“We’re great!” Pablito cried out with surprise. “What about you?”

“Who is it, Hunny?” she called. Pablito could hear her footsteps leaving the other room.

“It’s Gonzalo!” He called over his shoulder. Turning back to his friend—a former neighbor—he held the door wide and offered, “Come in! Come in!”

“Well, are you busy?” Gonzalo asked. “Because my wife and girls are in the car.”

“Oh, trigailos, tambien!”

In just a couple of minutes, Gonzalo, his wife Kelly and their two girls were in the house. Six excited friends, all talking at once. The joy of friends, come to visit.

Something simple and pleasant ended in America sometime near the end of the 50s. I believe it’s something severely forgotten.

That is, a person or a couple or a family “called on” another person, couple or family. It was a simple unannounced visit with no agenda and no expectations. My father mentioned “calling” several times in his diaries. Usually a cup of coffee and maybe a cookie was offered the visitors. If children came, too, they usually got two sugar cookies or a few raisins. And everyone visited in the living room, unless there was a puzzle on the dining room table. Then everybody got a chance to put a piece in place. The radio was turned off and the record player was put out of sight. The kids came in from the back yard to participate in the visit, sometimes library books and comic books were compared. After about an hour, maybe less, the visit was over.

It was our great good blessing Saturday afternoon when Gonzalo knocked our door. When everyone was inside and settled down in the living room, Kelly (the wife) said, “We just wanted to stop by and see how everything is going with you. Are you doing alright?”

“Well, the kitchen’s a mess,” My First Wife said. (It wasn’t.)

“See my game. Santa gave it to me!” The girls got two sugar wafers and a few caramel rice snacks. They each had to go potty, as little girls often do in other folk’s homes. They played with whatever was available (a couple of tennis balls and a stuffed tiger). They explored other rooms till their parents hollered them back. “Where’s your shoes?”

And we learned that the girls are excited and happy in their new home. “I play soccer now!” Kelly is much closer to work. Gonzalo proudly voted for the first time as a new American citizen. Their church is a good one. They live just around the corner from a city park. They need more storage space. We got all our home and e-mail addresses straightened out.

They’re a happy family and they called on us in the middle of the afternoon—on purpose—just to see how we’re doing. It took us ten minutes to hug and say our goodbyes. The joy of friends, come to visit.

My First Wife and I looked at each other and asked, “When’s the last time someone just dropped in for a visit?”

“You mean 'came calling'?”

We decided that it was the first time in our marriage. It was warm and wonderful.

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