"It's Caroline," says the sweet, and vaguely familiar, voice on the other end of the telephone.
If I sounded a little uncertain it was because I was trying to put on my
coat, prior to heading out on a mission with Mr B and was struggling to find the correct sleeve while answering the phone at the same time. It's called "multi-tasking" and on this showing I need to do better.
as in your niece," the voice reminds me. Oh, Sweet Caroline! How lovely to hear from her. Caroline tells me that I really should not be so very surprised that she has phoned me. Had I not, she reminds me, just sent out invitations to our Golden Wedding celebrations
which expressly request the recipients to RSVP by phone to me before the end of March. It seems likely, my niece warns me, that I will be on the phone continuously for the next month...
What a fabulous thought
for one who loves the telephone so much! I think about all the people who will feel honour-bound to lift up the phone and call me. What conversations we will have! What news we will share! How many happy hours of chat and catching-up stretch ahead of me?
You might be considering that I had thought this through and made the RSVP request on purpose. Truth to tell, it didn't occur to me - and I'm so glad that, by happenstance, I should now hear from all my Nearest and Dearest.
I do try to keep in touch with friends and family. Facebook may have its critics and detractors but it does an excellent job in keeping me in touch with the Highs and Lows of others' lives. It's not that I'm nosey -
well, okay, correct that, I am a bit nosey - but mostly it's because I am genuinely interested to know how those I care about are faring. I don't feel envy when I view their holiday photos - just marvel at the sights they have seen. I like it especially when
they travel to some place I have been myself so that I can luxuriate in happy memories of my own.
I am thrilled when I see photos of weddings, birthdays, new babies. Not everybody can be invited to the Nuptials
or the Christening - but I'll be there. Virtually speaking. I have no problem at all with people who post pictures of their cats, dogs and guinea pigs. They love them and that's enough for me.
So when someone
like Sweet Caroline phones out of the blue, I have a broad knowledge of what she, her fella and her off-spring have been up to of late. It is not the same, however, as a good old natter on the phone. We have the best of chats and I can't wait to see her and
her family at the celebrations. It makes me feel closer, somehow, especially because she sounds so very excited about our forthcoming Great Event. Obviously I'm excited too but on this evidence the Excitement Quotient will rise with each telephone call. By
the end of March, I will be Completely Beside Myself.
I wonder who will be the next to call? I am all aquiver with Great Expectations. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters would probably warn me, from past
experience, that people aren't always that good at RSVPing. This is undoubtedly true but think what they will be missing as a non-responder. I try to think if I have ever failed to respond to an invite. I do hope not. Usually I try to find an appropriate card
to send - though it is distinctly possible that occasionally I spend so much time composing a sweet or witty response in my head, that I feel sure I have bought the card, written it, addressed the envelope, stuck on a stamp and visited the postbox when I've
actually done no such thing. Easier by far, don't you agree, to pick up the phone?
The numerous nuisance callers who plague our days and spoil our evenings are going to be so surprised when, instead
of a distinctly suspicious "Who is this calling and what are you trying to sell me?" they hear my cheeriest voice on the other end of the phone, all anticipation of a good, long chat.
Hopefully, so many people
will be calling me to RSVP that not a single PPI salesman or over-friendly double glazing specialist will have a chance to get through.
I may just have invented my very own Telephone Preference Service.