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On Communication

By Leon (Papaw) Stewart


Recently I received a phone call from the nursing home where mom stays. They informed me that she was being transported to a nearby hospital. My wife and I left immediately for the hospital. We arrived at about the same time that the ambulance, that was carrying my mom, did. Shortly my brother joined us. We went to the receptionist, and informed her who we were, and she told us that we could see mom when they had her stabilized.

We waited about forty-five minutes and my brother went back to the receptionist who told him that we should be able to see mom shortly. We waited about thirty minutes longer, and a nurse came into the waiting room, and called my name. I answered her and she told me a very interesting story.

She said, "Mr. Stewart, I have called your place of employment, your home, several times, and we could not reach you."

My brother, who is very outspoken, said, "Did you try calling the waiting room?" She said that that would have been a good idea. How could this happen in the twenty-first century?"

One would have to travel far and wide to find a business, an organization, or even in a large family where a computer could not be found. In my home we have three laptops and a desktop computer, and this is for a family of two. We have the five o’clock news, the six-o’clock, and the eleven o’clock news. We have three telephones, and I now have a loner cell phone.

How could we have a problem in communicating? We talk, when a commercial is on, we share thoughts at least two minutes a day. One day my wife fussed at me and said, "I know that you have ADD [attention deficit disorder,] but you must pay attention.

I looked at her and said, " I had rather deal with my problem, than to deal with what you just said." Most of us work, and usually this is the subject that we discuss the most. I have been married for thirty-nine years, and the one subject that my wife repeats the most is this.

"You just don’t listen to me, you have ears like a hawk," she says. I have often thought about this statement. I must tell you at this point that I love my wife dearly, and I will do almost any thing for her. But I have a question. What does she mean by that statement?

She will send me to the grocery store with a list, and in addition she will tell me what she wants. Often I will return with the wrong item, and she will say, "You just don’t listen."

Some time back my brother was visiting from Las Vegas. His father-in-law was sick, and was not expected to live. I was having one of my hectic days, and I was running around trying to go to work. I had stepped out of the house, and when I returned a message was blinking on my answering machine.

It was nearing the time to go to work, and I hurriedly pressed the button to retrieve the message. It was one of my nieces in Vegas. I could have sworn that she said that my brother’s father-in-law was dead. I tracked my brother down, and told him the bad news. He said that he knew that the end was near, and he was expecting it.

Anyone that doesn't know my brother would understand what he did then. He got into his old Porsche and drove straight through to Vegas. He did not call his wife, he just drove. It is over fifteen hundred miles to Vegas.

He told me latter that when he stepped onto his front porch he heard the oxygen machine that was hooked up to his father-in-law. He then realized that the death was greatly exaggerated. After the mess that I had created was cleared up, the whole truth can now be told.

My niece said that her refrigerator had died, and she wanted to speak to her dad. I kept the message from the answering machine to help me remember that I just don’t listen.

Copyright Leon Stewart

* * * * *

I have been blessed with being a guest on a local TV program every week for over a year. [The Wayne Harris Show on Charter Light 98 at 9:00 PM Thursday nights] I am honored to have a twice-daily radio program in Marshall, NC. [WHBK 1460 AM, 6:55 AM and 4:30 PM] I have a call in story line in my home 828-665-9594. Anyone can listen to a three-minute story. I have finished my second book called Papaw's Shorts containing 40 short stories. This book is self-published. If you will email me at [email protected], I will tell you how to get one. I also go to local grade schools and tell stories, when I am asked.


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