Tag Archives: W

The Wrong Number… or was it?

7 Nov

A few days ago I prepared some gluten-free Manicotti for an older friend who is moving to Portland.  I thought having a ready-made meal would make the week before moving a bit easier.  After the Manicotti was finished, I dialed her number to let her know what I’d done and ask when I could bring it over.  After a few rings, a very tired voice answered the phone.

“Oh my Sharon, did I wake you?” I asked, feeling terrible for disturbing her.  “No” she answered, “I’m not feeling well.” “I’m so sorry… do you need anything?”  “No… I’ve got people taking care of me,” she replied, “What can I do for you?”  Confused and still feeling bad about disturbing her, I said “Oh that’s okay. I can call back when you are feeling better.”  And then she said, “I don’t think I am going to get better… you’d better tell me now.”  “What”? I thought, Sharon is supposed to move in a few days!   I quickly explained that I had made her Manicotti… that she could share it with a friend or her daughter… and that is when she said, “I think you’ve got the wrong number.  My name is ______ _______. ”  Immediately I apologized profusely for disturbing her… and then the call was over.

Oh my.  I felt awful.  I’d accidentally called an acquaintance, which is not hard to do in a small town, and I had just found out that she was not well.  What do I do?  What would you do?

The easy thing to do would have been to let it go… say a prayer wishing her well and go on with my life.  And for a few days, I tried just that.  Finally yesterday I gave in to the desire to do something to show that I cared by preparing a pie.  I didn’t think that she would be able to eat it necessarily, but she’d said that she was being cared for by others, so I knew that there would be someone there that she could offer it to.

When the pie was done, I looked up the address and drove over to my friend’s neighborhood.  The house was dark, and I knocked softly.   There was no answer so I left the pie on her doorstep. After I got back home, I called and left a message on her machine explaining that I was the “wrong number” from the other day…offered my apology again… and any assistance that she might need.

A while later my phone rang and it was my friend calling to thank me for the “still warm” pie.  We talked for a few minutes and without asking she shared her very serious diagnosis and her fears.  My heart ached for her… because of what she faces… and because I had no answers.  All I could offer her was my concern… and food, whenever she wanted it.   She thanked me again, and after a few more minutes, we said goodbye.

Even though I cannot fix anything for my friend, I am glad that I followed my instinct to reach out.  Though it is painful to know that she is suffering, I have shown her in my own way that I care.  Henceforth, I will keep her in my prayers, hope for a miracle, and be thankful for the mistake that brought me such a rare and meaningful opportunity.

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Day 99: Uncle Charlie

14 Jul

This morning I was pretty busy and did not get around to making a pie until about 2 PM. As I was cutting the fruit and rolling the crust I wondered, once again, who’s pie is this? After I placed the pie in the oven, I sat down to check my email and found a message from a friend asking “Do you take requests?” She mentioned that her Uncle Charlie was housebound and she thought that he would really appreciate a pie – and she also told me where he lived. I now knew the pie’s destination. Don’t you just love how these pie “questions” get answered?

Late this afternoon, I arrived at the house where Charlie is now living. I introduced myself to his caregiver and told her that I had made Charlie a Strawberry Raspberry Rhubarb Pie. She thanked me and then brought me in to see Charlie. After a brief introduction, Charlie and I settled in for a visit.

Charlie told me so many great stories in the short time I was there. For example, he went into the Army in 1942 and served in World War II. He spent time in northern Africa, Italy and Switzerland. One day, when he was in Italy, his men were in an olive grove early in the morning. Charlie heard a plane overhead and instinctively dove for cover. He said, “That day fifteen men showed up for duty. The next day, only seven were left.” He told me that he’d been in five combat areas and all he could attribute his survival to was “luck.”

Charlie also told me about how he went into business with a man “on a handshake.” He commented on how “that’s not how they do things nowadays.” He also mentioned that he’d told someone that he was interested in buying her property “when she was ready to sell.” Twenty five years later, when she was ready to sell, others showed interest in buying the property. All of those “others” were told “It’s already been sold.” That was back at a time when people gave their word and it really meant something.

I am very glad that I was able to visit with Charlie and it was great fun to hear his stories. I hope that I get the chance to visit with him again soon. It’s nice to visit the past when you have someone to show you around who has been there.

Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.
— Louisa May Alcott (Little Men)