Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Phone Tag: The Original

Call me!

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.
Understand?
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 . . .
Dad: “Hello?”
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.
Gotcha.

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You've certainly got him pegged, Delores!

      Delete
  2. I liked Uncle Lonnie's comment when he phoned Dad back. Unfortunately I can't repeat it here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I never heard that part of the story . . .

      Delete
  3. Quite the solution! C'mon, George, spill it :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember travelling between Red Deer and Edmonton. Mom always wanted to know that I make it home to Edmonton safely. So I would call 'person to person' and as for me. She would say I wasn't home. So Mom knew I made it to Edmonton safely and the phone call didn't cost anything. Not the most ethical way to do it, but since 'texting' hadn't been invented yet, it would suffice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Getting this comment has been quite the ordeal. Anyway, sharing that when travelling between Edmonton and Red Deer, Mom always wanted me to let her know that I had arrived home safely in Edmonton. So I would call 'person to person' and ask for me. She would say I wasn't home. That way she knew I got to Edmonton safely and the phone call didn't cost anything. Not the most ethical, but 'texting' wasn't invented yet.

    ReplyDelete

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