My Dad is the last surviving member of a family of thirteen, the youngest of eleven children.
This week, he has been reminiscing . . .
One of Dad’s elder brothers, Alonzo (hereinafter known as Uncle Lonnie), became a wealthy man by the simple practices of thrift, caution and wise investment.
Besides being brothers, he and Dad were good friends and often ranched together.
Which necessitated good communication.
Living fifty miles apart, this meant telephoning.
I should explain here that, in the late sixties, phone plans had not yet been invented.
You had two options.
You dialed a number directly. And paid.
Or, if you weren't certain that the person you wanted was home, you could dial ‘person-to-person’ and have an operator facilitate the call. This was more expensive if your party was there, but cost you nothing if they weren’t.
Moving on . . .
Uncle Lonnie, he of the sound mind and thrifty practices, needed to talk to Dad.
But it was the middle of the day, a time when phone calls were at their most expensive. Uncertain if he would find Dad at home, he opted to have an operator place the call.
Dad answered the phone.
The call went something like this . . .
Operator: “I have a person-to-person call for Dr. Mark Stringam.”
Dad: “This is Dr. Stringam.”
Operator: “Go ahead, sir!”
Uncle Lonnie: “If I’d known you were actually there, I’d have dialed directly!”
Dad, grinning into the phone: “Well, I’m here!”
And he hung up the phone.