that first early phone call in the morning

What does it bring up in you?

Maybe nothing. Maybe you are used to getting phone calls early.

I am not. I am used to somewhat polite people waiting until at least 8 am to call.

The phone rang the other day, early. I was still in bed. Not asleep, but still in bed nonetheless. And it was still early enough that ISHI was still at shul, so it was before 7 am.

Or somewhere around then; I don’t even remember if he got the call or did it go to the machine? I looked at the number and didn’t recognize it. That was enough to delay/allay the anxiety.

So why the great anxiety about a phone call? History. We’ve had too many early morning bad news phone calls, mostly shul-related, but some personal. Right now ISHI’s father is in the hospital. It’s been a week already. Usually when they call on Shabbat, the message that we run to listen to on the machine is pretty clear, “Your father is in the hospital being treated for so-and-so.” Last week, the/a doctor called and the message was “Please call me back.” Not immediately; not he’s back in the hospital, vague. So of course, I didn’t need to tell ISHI right when he came home as we were racing to run to an obligation that night. But of course, as he called, it became clear that things were not as usual.

As the week progressed, things went better and then dropped. Right now, there are so many ends of things wrong, and they had to have that meeting, “How much do you want us to do? What would he want?”

ISHI told them what Halakhah demands and, as far as what my FIL wants, at one point during the week, when he could sort of talk, he motioned that what he really wanted was a hamburger.

The guy wants to live.

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