On Father's Day, a Celestial Call
Like all dutiful daughters, I called Dad on Father’s Day. Thanks to the iPhone's 3.0 update that includes the application, Celestial Calls, I was able to reach him with little effort.
He wasn’t surprised at my call because ever since he died in 1958, he’s kept his eyes on me. I know this because there are times I feel his presence. Mostly, I’m happy he’s lurking, especially if I’m being honored, thanked, or otherwise celebrated. If I'm very quiet, I can just about make out, “Way to go, Princess.”
Other times, when I’m engaged in activities that he may have frowned upon when alive; i.e. lying, cheating, or taking a Gentile for a second husband, I pray (a longtime earth-to-heaven communication technique) that Dad discretely looks the other way.
On my Father's Day call, Dad picked up after a few rings and said, "So nice to hear from you, Princess."
"Do you have an iPhone, too?" I asked, imagining he must have a similar device for our unusual chat to occur.
"No, just a regular rotary phone," Dad said. “Nothing fancy."
"So where did I catch you?" I asked. (When Apple brings video chat to the iPhone, these types of questions will be irrelevant.)
"The Pool Room. Where else? You remember the guys from Division Street? They’re all up here now."
In the background, I could hear the clinking of billiard balls, the TV with Jack Brickhouse announcing the Cubs game, and shouts of 'goniff!' from male voices I assumed were at card tables.
"Sure, I remember the Pool Room. Are you all still smoking?" I asked. I thought about those clouds that greeted me whenever I went to fetch Dad home for supper.
"This is Heaven," Dad said. "We get to do what we want. And we don’t have to worry about second-hand smoke killing anyone. We’re already dead!" He laughed at his inside joke.
I heard chomping. "Are you eating, Dad?" Scorn rising in my voice.
"Corned beef on rye, coleslaw ..."
"But Dad," I said, "your diabetes, your …
He interrupted with another laugh, "Princess, enough already."
"Oh yeah, Heaven," I said. "Listen, I’ve been trying to think of a Father’s Day gift, but you understand postage would be prohibitive."
"Princess, you don’t need to buy me anything. Your book about me was enough."
"Dad, to be honest, it wasn’t only about you. It was about all of our lives on Division Street – you, me, Mom, Ronnie."
"I know, I know, everybody loved it."
"You all read it?" I asked.
"I did a book signing," Dad said. I was certain he was rolling his eyes at my naiveté. "Remember Stuart Brent Books in Chicago?" he continued. "When it left Michigan Avenue, it opened up here. We resurrect only independent booksellers. I was quite a hit."
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