Your Son James and My iPhone


Your Son James and My iPhone

After my mother’s death, my father, at age 89, informed us that he wasn’t quite done being married yet and proceeded to marry Judy, a mere child of 79. I call Judy the “Wicked Stepmother,” but she couldn’t be any more the opposite of that. Ernie and Judy live in a wonderful facility. I call it their cruise ship, where you can have no care to full hospice care in the same connected buildings.

Last week, one of my friends, James, arranged for his mother to move into an assisted living community down the road from my home. Knowing that she was struggling with this new arrangement, Ruth and I took his mother a bouquet of tulips and surprised her with a visit. I hadn’t seen Mrs. Davis in many years, so after initially going to the wrong room, I asked the woman at the front desk for help finding Mrs. Davis The woman pointed her out to me in the cafeteria. I went straight up to my friend’s mother. She was just finishing her meal while struggling with bites of food between breaths of oxygen from her tank. 

As I conversed with Mrs. Davis, I told her that I was a close friend and fan of her son James. She was absolutely shocked during the visit in many ways. She didn’t recall having a son named James, but I assured her that she did and that he was the nicest man.

Ironically, the woman at the table beside her commented that she had a son named James and that must have been a common name. As I talked to that woman, she shared that she just arrived at the home and was just getting used to it. Right about then, my wife caught up to me in the cafeteria and asked why I was talking to the woman with the oxygen tank. I said, “It’s James mother.” She said, “Sorry, it isn’t, his mother is at the next table.” All along, the woman who also had a son named James was his actual mother. My new friend with the oxygen enjoyed the mistake and proclaimed that she was glad to know her past hadn’t caught up to her with the shocking news of her unknown son, James. 

Everyone at both tables laughed, and what could have been a horrible mistake turned out to be a hilarious and memorable event. 

The other day, my youngest son and I went to the park to play pickleball. I packed my phone to take it with me. After leaving the court, I wanted to see how much actual physical activity my body endured from the games, but I couldn’t find my phone. I must have left it at home, I thought, but upon arriving at home, it was nowhere to be found. 

We tore the house apart. I mean, it was critical. Imagine what hardship it would be to lose a phone. After giving up the cause at home, we went back to the car and headed to the park, now getting dark. Justin called my phone on the way to the park and it rang into my car. We stopped dead in our tracks on the street out in front of the house and tore the car apart again. No success.

Resigned to the fact that I now had to buy a new phone, I emailed the guys at work to tell them not to try to contact me because I had, in fact, lost my phone. I went to bed. In the morning, I decided to retrace my steps outside again and as I approached my car, now in the light of day, I saw my black phone on top of my black SUV, covered in dew. Mystery solved. The phone connected to my car not because it was IN the car, but because it was ON the car.

In life there will be times of confusion, like Mrs. Davis and my cell phone. We may be connecting, but the real answer might literally be inches away. Despite evidence that doesn’t support our conclusions, we sometimes take a hard line when we should really be more perceptive. I had never seen James’s mother taking oxygen in all the years and I recalled her as taller and thinner. The evidence that it wasn’t his mother was overwhelming, but I didn’t pay attention. Why hadn’t I taken the time to reconsider and revalidate that it was his actual mother before approaching her?

The phone rang inside the car system. It had to be somewhere in the car we thought, never considering that it might be ON the car. I always leave stuff on the top of my car, but thankfully, never a car seat. Sometimes it takes the light of day to perfectly see your problem and solution revealed. 

Here’s to many more mistakes ahead for me (and you). Let’s learn to laugh, to create joy from our mistakes, and not take life so seriously. Also, buy an Otterbox case for your cell phone, the rubber keeps it from sliding off the top of your car.

Article contributed by:
Jeff Pinyot
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