Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nancy White Kelly

            Being a newspaper columnist for more than thirty years, it is common to be recognized by strangers. Friendly folks often approach me in public places and comment about a particular column or just my writing in general. Positive feedback is one of the pleasures of writing. Occasionally there is a negative like what occurred last week.

            Buddy and I made a trip to our closest Wal-Mart. My list was shorter than his so I finished rather quickly. With my purchased packages in hand, I settled on a small bench next to a lady to wait.

“Honey, how is your daughter?”

            “I don’t have a daughter,” I replied with a half-smile, stretching my neck in hope of seeing Buddy.

            “Is your mother doing better?”

            I couldn’t help but grin. Obviously this dear lady had me mixed up with someone else or hadn’t read my book. My mother passed away several years ago.

            “She is in a better place,” I answered while watching the cashier lines for a glimpse of that husband of mine. It is usually him waiting on me.

            “Can I help?” she asked.

            I turned sideways to look more closely at the lady’s face. Did she know what Buddy looked like, I wondered.

It was then that I noticed that ugly bug-like attachment in her ear. An audible groan immerged from my innards.

Ma Bell’s famous mantra: “Reach out and touch someone” quickly came to mind. So did the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

This was my second embarrassing incident of phantom talking. My last episode of responding to someone on a cell phone was in a bathroom stall.

Buddy appeared out of nowhere and asked how long I had been waiting. I took a good look at both ears before replying. It was a silly exercise. Neither Buddy nor I own a blue tooth…or any other color ear piece. My red face is explanation enough.

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