|Do you remember when phones were as big as murder weapons?|
I got a new phone with a new number a while back. The man who had my number before was named Larry. Larry wasn't too big on paying his bills. How do I know this? Well, I had creditors and law firms calling everyday. When I tried to explain that the number no longer belonged to Larry, and could you please remove the number from your call list, they got an attitude. Like I was hiding Larry up in my attic and screening his phone calls or something.
Larry had a gambling problem. And a woman problem. He was also a deadbeat dad. He had issues. Which I seemed to inherit on my sweet little iPhone, who never hurt nobody. One day, I had a voicemail from an elderly woman. She had a sweet little Southern twang in her voice, and the call was from an area code I have never seen before. It was on Easter.
Larry, this your mother now. [If you're reading this in the voice of one of the maids from The Help, then you are on the right track] You need to stop that gamblin' and all this foolishness. You need to get your life right. You need to go back to church, make it right with Jesus. The babies are fine, they stayin' with me. But you need to call Loretta. Your family needs a father, your wife needs a husband. I'm too old to be doin' this. I'm praying for you, Larry.
And I was like, I'm praying for you too, Larry. You better get yo life right!
He sounded like he was on a really destructive road--what kind of man abandons his family and leaves them for his mother to care for? After a while, I knew not to answer certain numbers that called. Every week, without fail, I would get a voicemail from Antioch Baptist church. The pre-recorded message talked about their upcoming men's breakfast, their Wednesday night Bible study, their fundraiser that was paying for a new balcony, a bake sale, etc. I mean, I probably knew what was going on at that church more than my own. Michael would laugh at me.
You are so nosy! he'd say.
So today, after I got my weekly Church of Antioch voicemail, I decided to Google them. I knew the second the woman answered the phone, that she was the one who made the messages. I'd recognize that smooth, honeyed voice anywhere. She took my number down and apologized for any inconvenience.
And that was that. They've been calling my number for the past seven months. Can you believe that? Seven months. And all it took was a Google search.
I'm still praying for you, Larry.
Image source: Esparta / Flickr