A friend of mine called me on my cell phone yesterday. She caught up to my wife and I while we were shopping. Wonderful things, cell phones. They can bring you sunshine with friendly voices, sometimes they carry sorrow, and, yes, sometimes annoyance with pest calls.
Sunshine comes from friends who want to chat. Sorrow comes from those calls no one wants to make and no one wants to get. Sometimes though….. ……sometimes …. Sometimes they just have to be done and so we were shopping for light bulbs at a Home Depot and the phone rang. I almost dropped the phone trying to wrestle it free from its new belt clip and was afraid I wouldn’t get it off and open before the call ended. But I managed it and I immediately recognized the voice of the caller and she said she had bad news.
I always hate those words: I have bad news.
She paused, waiting, thinking of the right words to say and waiting for me to say it was okay and for her to go ahead and tell me what she found the need to call me about. But I dreaded that. I knew it had to do with one or more of my friends and so I took a deep breath and with a sigh told her to go ahead and tell me what she had called about.
She, being Gina, was in Florida at the VA Vet Center in St. Pete where she works as a counselor and Jan and I being in GA visiting friends and our alpacas on Ted and Pat Kraft’s farm in Albany.
“You weren’t in group today,” she began. Group is a collection of Vietnam Vets that meets at the Center. “I’m in Georgia,” I told her. “Oh, yes, I forgot. You told me you were going up to shear your alpacas.”
A long pause.
“Bad day for me,” she began again. “I lost one of my World War II vets. He died suddenly.” But I knew it was more than that and I said I was sorry and then waited for the next hit to come as she sighed again.
“Dan called and said he had gone and had some tests made because he didn’t feel right and well…..he has pancreatic cancer and they gave him 3 months to live.”