George and Mable reminded me of Snuffy and Loweezy Smith from the comic strip. They were parallel to the couple in both appearance and the relationship dynamics. The fact that Mable outweighed George by 300 pounds it never diminished her energy level. They lived in a rural Texas farmhouse surrounded by the fields full of the cattle that they raised. When you turned in to the long, dirt driveway and drove into their yard, you had to wait inside your parked car for either Mable or George to come out with their whip to chase off the mean cattle to keep from being attacked. No doubt they never had to worry about a burglary.
Once they had chased off the cattle, you would be warmly encouraged to come inside and indulge yourself in one of the dozen or so of eggs that they kept in a bowl on the long kitchen table. This was what they kept on hand for snacks. Mable would bring small bowls to hold the eggshells to be peeled off of the handy snack. I always secretly wondered why they had such a huge kitchen table. They only had two children and both of them were grown and had long moved off.
This story occurred back in the day before people had cell phones or even were able to dial their own home phones. Whenever someone wanted to initiate a telephone call, they would pick up the receiver on their home phone before hearing the voice of the operator who would say, “Number please”.
The caller would recite the number that they were calling before being connected by the operator. The telephone had proven itself as a comfort to Mable while living in the country without any neighbors living close. She tried calling one of her friends when the operator informed her that the line was busy. She got frustrated but said, “Ok”. The truth was that Mable’s friend liked to talk just as much as Mable did, so the line was frequently busy. Mable was always asking the operator to break in on the call, but she never would.
One day she was particularly frustrated and wanted to talk badly. She tried calling her friend and the operator informed her that the line was busy. She asked the operator to break in on the call, tell them to hang up because she was trying to call. The operator refused.
Mable, in her frustration said, “Well, you just go to hell!” Then she slammed down the receiver. Unfortunately for her, as she did this, George had just walked through the back door. As he wiped his feet on the rug, he overheard Mable telling the operator to go to hell. He frowned and called to her.
“Mable, who was that you were talking to that you told to go to hell?”
“Well, it was the operator,” answered Mable.
“Why on earth did you tell her to go to hell?” George inquired.
“I was trying to call Betsy. And you know that operator, she said the same thing that she always says: the line is busy. So I told her to break into the call and tell Betsy to get off of the phone so that I could call in and speak to her. You know she wouldn’t do it?! She makes me so mad!”
George replied, “Now Mable, that is no reason to tell someone to go to hell! You call her back and apologize to her right now!”
Martha didn’t want to fight with George because of the grumpy old operator. So she picked up the receiver.
“Number please”, said the voice on the other end.
“Is this the operator?” Mable asked in a sheepish voice, with George standing there watching and listening.
“Yes it is.”
“Well, are you the one that I told to go to hell while ago?” Mable asked.
“Yes it is”, answered the operator.
“Well, you don’t have to go to hell if you don’t want to I guess”, replied Mable. With that, she hung up the phone. For today, that was the best apology that Mable could offer.
Note: The above story was related to me by my friend Kathy Shaw about people she knew from her childhood. She granted me permission to tell this story. I elected to tell it as if I knew these people.
Thankfulness Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:
41. The wonderful life of Kay Woertink.
42. Safe travels.
43. Curbside garbage pickup.
44. The countryside.
copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins