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Opinion

Pay phone to Heaven


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • May. 11, 2021 - 2:52 PM

Pay phone to Heaven

W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident and retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: theprecinctpress@gmail.com .

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.

There was a time when during our church services, the preacher would call out for the mother with the most children present, the mother with the youngest child and the oldest mother. Flowers would be distributed and accompanied by a rousing round of applause for the winners.

I remember families would all seem to be in the same town to celebrate a Mother’s Day cookout, when moms didn’t cook, but moms always seem to jump right in there to clean up. They just couldn’t help themselves.

Now, families seem so scattered all across this country, chasing job opportunities to further their careers, all missing the sweet ability to just drop in on Mom for a casual visit hoping for that feeling of grounding in a chaotic world full of mixed messages and shifting foundations. Funny how Mom could just calm our concerns with her insistence we try a new dessert recipe.

A lot of us seem to take for granted that everyone has a mother to celebrate with, but many moms have long since gone to be with the Lord, leaving only the memories that fade as the years race by. There is a quiet pause of emptiness when those moms are reminiscently missed while others pat their moms, still present, on the back and hug so tightly.

I am very fortunate to still have my folks alive and kicking in their early ‘80s.

But what about those that no longer have a mom to tell of their day, the achievements of the grandkids, problems to float by them for advice or just to hear that familiar voice they grew up hearing all their life? If you asked these people, whose heart longs for the sound of their mother’s voice: If there was a pay phone that went directly to Heaven, how much would you pay to make that call to Mom? Some would pay hundreds to stand and feed rolled quarters for that connection to be complete. Picture Mom picking up and saying, “Hello, darling.” Whoa … how long would it be before the tears stopped falling and the composure to speak finally came? What would you say or ask? Or would there be a desire to remain silent and just listen to her voice?

The longer I live, the more I realize it’s not the fear of death that gets me, it’s the sudden absence of a loved one that I’ve come to enjoy the company of and conversation with that would abruptly stop and the realization that communication would be cut off forever and I … still remain.

Considering that thought, what about those that still remain? Do I look at them as a permanent fixture in my life, or should I be more strategic, confronting the absolute limitation of our time together, to value future conversations and in-person moments and plan accordingly?

Maybe make more phone calls, schedule more dinners, plan more camping trips and purposely make more memories. My wife and I have a new favorite saying: “Life is short.” Buy that camper, that boat, that vacation, that electric bike. You don’t want to outlive your money, but you sure don’t want to end up sitting around counting a pile of money and no memories to show for it either.

Unfortunately, there is no pay phone to Heaven, but that dang cell phone of yours is begging to call a friend today.

W.J. Butcher is a Coweta County resident and retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: theprecinctpress@gmail.com .