Over the weekend I found myself dialing random numbers to Arkansas trying to find a friend. I don't know why I thought that dialing complete strangers in a small town in Arkansas would help me find who I was looking for, but sometimes I get these bizarre inhibitions to do crazy things like that. I wasn't sure it would work, but stranger things have happened.
My First Experience Cold Calling:
The first time I ever cold called strangers was when I lived in Idaho. In a desperate attempt to find relatives in Lubbock, Texas, I dialed over 200 phone numbers over the course of a week. Who knew printing off pages and pages of phone numbers on my friend's state of the art printer in college hooked up to her dial-up would take so long. Who knew that the last name attached to those phone numbers would be so common in Lubbock. Who knew my attempts to find this relative would end up a complete failure.
Complete and total failure.
My Second Experience Cold Calling:
I am not the kind of person who gives up easily.Some people call me stubborn and others call me stupid, but I like to refer to myself as tenacious. So what if my last attempt at calling 200 random strangers had ended in utter defeat--nothing is impossible. Again, I was on a hopeless journey of discovering the whereabouts of a long lost family member and this time had decided that Ohio would be the place to call. I picked up my cordless phone, punched in the numbers, and on the second try talked to the person that would get me in touch with relatives.
I was a believer.
My Third Experience Cold Calling:
After my last mighty undertaking of dialing random strangers I knew this time I'd find the person I was looking for. I opened up my trusty internet browser and whipped out my phone--all while my husband laughed at me in the background. I didn't pay him much attention, but instead focused my efforts of leaving messages on two dozen answering machines. That's when Ed picked up:
Ed: "Ma'am, can you guess about how old I am?"
Me: "Oh, I'd say about your late 60s to early 70s."
Ed: "Well, I am a World War II Vet and so that would put me well into my 80s. You know, I stayed awake many a night for you. It is so hard to stay awake sometimes when you're at war..."
Oh man, I couldn't hang up on a World War II veteran! So, that's when Ed led the conversation between us talking about fishing, farming, camping, Mexican Brown, folk music, and hippies with holes cut out in their shirts so their nipples would hang out. I don't make this stuff up. For forty minutes we chatted away; he seemed like he really needed someone to talk to. He seemed lonely. Then I thanked him for serving our country in World War II and we said our goodbyes, but not after he insisted I write down the address to his double-wide so I could be his pen pal. I may not have found the friend I was searching for in Arkansas, but I found Ed. Ed in Arkansas (and other veterans), thank you for serving our country.
Third time is a charm.