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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 4


The ringing of the telephone at two a.m. in the morning is always a frightening thing especially when one has as large a family. Uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephew's one and  all are and have been in accidents or for some reason or another can need assistance. Dee and Sam had an on going disagreement about having a telephone in the bedroom. He had always wanted to take the calls coming in during the night. In his kindness he always tried to protect her from what might be a traumatic message. However, as the years pushed along she had to end up answering it anyway because he plain would not hear it.

As quickly as she could go sliding down the hall she did. There was the chance of waking her daughter or waking her mother.  Dee's mother  was 90 but that made no difference. She was as lithe as anyone and she would answer the thing if no one else did.

Dee looked down at the caller I.D. and did not recognize the caller. Neither did she recognize the person's voice who was speaking. Having had languages bounced off her from Native American to Spanish, Elizabethan dialect of her cowboy family and years of voice training it was with this she listened to the young man as he asked for someone she did not know. Mentally she was judging him to be approximately twenty-six or seven. He was no youth and had a certain  worldliness about his voice.  She recognized even the part of town from which he hailed. Like the professor in My Fair Lady she was mentally evaluating his speech.

“I'm sorry!”  He told her.  “I'm sorry.”  “I think I have the wrong number.”

“No one by that name here.”  Dee was relieved, and would have hung up the phone but he continued.

“You poor thing.”  He said.  “What are you doing up at this hour.”

Dee would have been the first one to admit she sometimes was too quick with responses, but for some reason she did not retaliate.  She kept silent.

In her mind she was saying, “Look!”  “Whatever you are, drug dealer, con artist, seeking revenge for something, or just really a wrong number, I have that number on my caller I.D.”  When she was younger she probably would have.  Age does have its rewards at times.

The call did unnerve her a little.  The Bible study she had attended earlier was in that same neighborhood holding this man's almost indistinct dialect.  Had someone in that neighborhood seen her go into the building where the study was held?  Was it his warped twisted way to terrorize her?  All these thoughts were going through her mind and almost as if her mother suspected something was amiss she quietly spoke to her daughter.  “Who called?”

Of course, Dee was not going to voice anything of her thoughts to her mother. There wasn't anything certain about anything.  “Just a wrong number, Mother.”  She reassured the older woman.

“They didn't want anything?”  Her mother at ninety was not easily  lied to either.

“No, he said it was just a wrong number.”  Dee told her.

“It was a man?”  The older   woman had not been a social worker for nothing. She was ever alert as to possible trouble.

“A young man?”  Dee told her.

“It wasn't someone calling one of our girls?”  And she was referring to those many grandchildren she had.

“He didn't ask for anyone in particular that I recognized.”

The two women for decades had worked through so many crisis situations it was like they went about the thing as easily as they had done so many times before.  Quietly they visited over a hot cup of tea.

Finally,  Dee told her Mother, “I don't think he will call again.”  “I believe I'm going back to bed.”   She did go through the house checking the doors one more time though, and she was angry with herself  for allowing the pro of a con man get to her this way.  It wasn't as if she was ignorant and had not experienced this heavy harassment years ago. On one occasion  a person they thought they knew came in the middle of the night asking for money for the trip to Oklahoma City to see his baby in the hospital.  She had been so gullible to give him money.  It didn't even help to hear the many other people talk about having been done the same way in order to feed the young man's habit. That feeling had nothing to do with the money. It was just the sadness to think someone they knew as a boy growing up, a neighbor, was so brought to his knees by a habit to have to con neighbors for money.

The next morning as her husband was early to rise he pointed at the caller I.D.  “Who called at two a.m?”  He wanted to know.  It was five thirty at this time.

“I'm not sure.”  “It almost sounded like someone I know.”  “But, I can't tell you exactly who.”   Dee found it was best to be honest with her husband.  He usually had a solution.

“Well, anyone who calls at two a.m. should have the favor returned.”  As he dialled the number, he wasn't rewarded with an answer. That was worrisome too. The young man had a caller  I.D.  too?


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