The Call

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 17, 2017

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Submitted: November 17, 2017





The Call


When my phone rings and the caller ID shows that it’s from Sissy, I always answer because it can only mean one thing:  for that night I get to mildly misbehave and make harmless mischief. Sort of.

Let me explain “the call”. Years ago when I moved into this one horse town I met a few women that I felt I could cultivate friendships with. The “ringleader”, Sissy, stood less than five feet tall, but she was a presence. She never tired of having fun, playing pranks, or dreaming up mischief for us to partake in.  After meeting her and the rest of the crew, I knew that my relationship with them would last a lifetime. They were several years older than I, married, as I was, and just plain fun. I couldn’t wait to jump into the adventure.

The first night that I joined in their antics, we decided to wear large, red, waxed lips to go with our oversized cheap sunglasses. Our clothing was a little bit country, and a whole lot of trash. After getting dress approval from our social director Sissy, we drove to the local gin mill where we boldly walked in, single file for maximum effect. The sheer excitement of being with these women and walking into the local bar was enough to make my night complete, and we hadn’t even begun to tap into our adventurous resources. We took a table in the back and parked ourselves right near the jukebox. All heads turned and eyes followed us and stared as we periodically removed our “lips” in order to take a sip from our cups. We never tired of looking at one another. Neither did the locals. We thought that the sunglasses gave us a mysterious air. I think the bartender just thought that we looked ridiculous. He kept glancing sideways at us sitting in the back of the bar, and shook his head with every glance.

We owned that jukebox all night long, replaying several times songs like Elvis belting out “Hunk of Burning Love”, Roy Orbison”s ballad of “Crying”, Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. Our lips and glasses stayed on the whole night. It was great fun to see the locals stare at us as if we were aliens. Really? We were locals, too.

When the call comes, there’s no thinking about it. You answer; plain and simple. One night I got the call at 10 o’clock and I was in my nightgown, getting ready for bed. Sissy had planned a “Miss America” contest, and we were to arrive at Sissy’s with three outfits- one for our talent, one for the bathing suit competition, and a gown for the finale. As I quickly gathered up what I would need, I raced into my daughter’s room, threw open her closet door, and rummaged around for an old prom dress of mine that my daughter had worn for Halloween. The eighties had not been kind to fashion couture. I grabbed it greedily.

“Where are you going with that?” she asked warily, as if she hadn’t a clue.

“I just got the call and I’m getting my wardrobe together for the finale!”  My daughter looked at me. She knew.

“Mom, that’s just wrong at your age.”

I ignored her and raced down the stairs.

As I flew out the door I shouted out to my husband, half watching TV, half asleep on the couch.


 He knew exactly what I was talking about. He was used to it.

“Have fun.”

The contest was a great success as we took our states to the limit.  Mine was Texas, and I exaggerated everything- big hair, big nails, and big jewelry. I’m sure that you can guess my talent-cheerleading! Okay, so I also nabbed my daughter’s cheerleading outfit out of the closet as well. It was off season for football; she’d never miss it.

Sissy wanted the contest to be just like on TV, so she enlisted her brother to come over to her house and videotape the entire evening. (Well, she did wake him up out of a dead sleep, but he could never refuse the call, either). Her poor brother had to pretend to be Bert Parks, the camera man, (yes, she made him videotape the entire show), and our make-up artist. He never complained, and got into it as much as we did.

More often than not, our activities would continue into the wee morning hours. This never posed a problem for us as we loved being together doing crazy things. It only served to strengthen our bond.

The call wasn’t always for silly stuff. We took birthdays seriously, too. Except that we’d make the decision on how to celebrate at the last minute.

Take Jean’s birthday, for example. It would have been just too common to go to a restaurant and have dinner, so the next best thing was to go to the local rod and gun club to celebrate. Doesn’t everyone do that?

Judy’s husband was a member and the club was having its annual bean supper so that’s where we ended up. There were beans of every kind, and we sampled them all. Well, maybe sample isn’t the right word. We inhaled those beans. For five bucks we got all of the homemade beans that we could eat, and all of the beer that we could drink. The game club didn’t believe in dessert, so we had to come up with birthday cake for Jean.

Needless to say, on such short notice and so late at night, all of the bakeries were closed, so we had to go to the local grocery store and buy the only birthday cake available, a Star Wars cake with the image of Darth Vadar on it.  We got it cheap, too, because the left side of Vadar’s helmet had been wacked off by the edge of the cake box. It was delicious. It is thirty years later and Jean is still fondly remembering how she ate beans, drank beer, and had Darth Vadar birthday cake. Together.

The call comes at times when you least expect it. One night I got the call to go to Germania Hall where the annual Oktober fest was occurring. I wanted to wear something really special, so I took my husband’s Hawaiian shirt out of the closet and threw it on. I didn’t know if it would suffice for a polka fest, but I felt festive in it. I also wore my cowboy boots. You can never go wrong with those. Imagine my surprise when every man in the dance hall was wearing a Hawaiian shirt! They were so excited that they kept high-fiving me, and asking me to dance. We spent the whole night dancing, singing, and drinking beer. I must have toasted with “Ein Zwei, Drei, G’Suffa!” more times than I can remember. Whew!

 All of the gang was there. We danced, sang, and drank beer with the old men at the bar. All night long. I vaguely remember hearing the bread truck pulling into the parking lot to deliver the next day’s bread. Oh wait, it was the next day. The night had gotten away from us once more.

When I crawled into bed at 6 am the next morning, I had lipstick smeared on my face and a “Kiss me, I’m German” sticker on the seat of my pants. Which were soaked with beer. My husband woke up, took one look at me and couldn’t resist the temptation to say

“Explain how that happened.”

“Well, you see, we went to Germania because Sissy wanted to”…….

“Jeez! What did you do, fall into the keg?” Uh, oh, I remembered that I had. Well, I didn’t fall entirely in. I was talking with this gentleman about the difference between bratwurst and knockwurst. My legs were tired so I hoisted myself up onto a keg which was in the room. I didn’t realize that the top wasn’t on it, and my back end fell in.  It took three guys to retrieve me and my pride out of the keg.

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did.”

“Let me guess. There were German elves at the bottom of the keg and they put the sticker on your pants.”

“Oh my God! How did you know?”

My husband just laughed. He never got mad when it involved the call.

Getting the call was one of the best parts of my life. Despite the craziness it conjured, it also created lifelong friendships. Whenever I needed a shoulder to cry on, an event to celebrate, or a helping hand, I only needed to give a call.

The calls are long gone. Those of us still here have retired our waxed lips, prom dresses, and Oktoberfest dancing .Going out at ten PM is a fond memory, but a memory nonetheless.

Do I miss those calls?  Yes I do. I most certainly do. I have been giving a lot of thought to getting it started again.

I wonder if Tweeting would be the way to go?

© Copyright 2018 Gloria Pape Caviglia. All rights reserved.

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