Feb 6th, 2005

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I guess that it isn't this way anymore, what with telecommunications deregulation, and unlimited long distance on any number of carriers, but in my youth, and, I suspect, for many, many others, Sunday mornings were when you made/received long-distance phone calls.
Sunday mornings were when you talked to distant family members. My parents called me on Sunday mornings (and morning is a very relative term) all four years I was in college. When I moved to New York City, to New Mexico, to anywhere other than their home, Sunday mornings were for family phone calls.

When I settled in Miami, and I was my own person, I called them on Sunday mornings.

This is the hardest part of being a fatherless child, this emptiness when there is no phone call on Sunday morning. My mother can't use the phone anymore; she lost that ability a couple of years ago. There was a certain black humor to it at first, hearing my father tell her that of course she couldn't hear me since she was trying to talk into the remote control.

That passed fairly soon. Now she lives down the street, and doesn't know me at all. She is losing her verbal skills at an alarming rate. Would it be any less poignant had she not been a 40-year volunteer at the library, an avid reader, a woman who daily did the crossword puzzles in ink? Now she can't process the words. Sometimes she even is aware that they have left.

But I was thinking about telephone calls. The RLA lost his parents many years before I did. We have few surviving aunts and uncles. How can you call one of them out of the blue, and ask them to speak, so you can have a conversation by proxie with someone who's gone?

I miss my father. It is Superbowl Sunday, and Daddy would have been watching. My nephew would have gotten a call this morning from Daddy, and they would have talked about Dan Marino's entry into the Hall of Fame. They would have trash talked a while about the Patriots. When it was my turn for the Sunday morning call, Daddy and I would have talked about what I was cooking for my party. He would have asked about my friends; which of them would be coming over, and what would Star be bringing.

He and I would have discussed Dan, too. My brother missed out on the sports junkie gene, but he is my mother's child: a man of words. We are all book collectors, fearsome readers and ruthless Scrabble players. That was my mother's legacy to us.

Sunday mornings without telephone calls. This is when I feel the loss most keenly.