As many of my loyal readers know, my godmother’s name is Phyllis. Readers also know that Phyllis and I met by mistake back in December of 2010. I was roaming around my hometown in Alabama when my cell phone rang with a call from “Gary, Indiana.”
It was Phyllis…
She had dialed the wrong number and got me… her future godson.
We have been through a lot over the last 42 months, talking almost every day.
On the other end in of the line is a woman I’ve never seen, but come to love, appreciate and need. She is entertaining and enlightening. Though I’ve never seen her, I know what she looks like – because she has told me at least a hundred times.
In Phyllis’ words, “I’m Black with a little Chickahominy Indian in me, but I look Puerto Rican.” After the first ten times or so she said it, I learned to follow up with the next line, “I bet your friends called you Curly.”
I know what she will do. She will laugh three times sounding a lot like a little girl who has just done something devilish.
“Hahh Hahh Hahh – That is right!”
We have covered politics, religion, food, NBA basketball and the Bible. Phyllis has never given the answer, “I don’t know.”
She has an opinion and she is always willing to share it with me. Honestly, that is something that I appreciate about her.
If it is raining or snowing, she points out all of the good things about water or the lives that the snow is saving (because folks can’t get out and drive around like fools). She quotes the Bible backwards and forwards and does it with an attitude of “that’s just the way it is.”
I had never been a fan of professional basketball until Phyllis came along. She spouts Chicago Bulls statistics like a sportscaster on ESPN. However, do not ask her about other teams because in Phyllis’ words, “I only care about the Bulls.”
After a year or so, I came to the conclusion that Phyllis had to be an angel or have some type of connection to God that I found very intriguing.
First it was in the prayers she said. Yes, Phyllis is going to pray and she is going to mean it and she is going to take as long as it takes. As I listened, I started writing things down. She would repeat things three times or seven times. I asked her about it and she didn’t even seem to know what I meant. However, when I asked her about the significance of the numbers, she gave me an explanation that would make most televangelists sound like elementary school children.
The biggest clincher in terms of understanding her relationship with God was the time she was in the middle of a long, beautiful, drawn out prayer… she had a call come in on the other line. Phyllis paused and said, “Lord, hang on just a minute; I’ve got to take this call.”
She came back and proceeded with her prayer right where she left off without missing a beat.
Phyllis can put God on hold?
Yes, at 93, I would say that she is doing a good job of putting “The King of Kings” on hold.
Over the past few months, she seems to be slowing down a little, but not losing her sharpness of mind. I worry, but there is not much I can do, other than continue to talk to her.
That is the beautiful thing about Phyllis – she listens.
Her solution might be for me to “Get a brown piece of paper and a red pen and write the following down on it (tells me what to write)…. Then put it under your pillow. Then get another brown sheet of paper and write the same thing on it and put it on top of your pillow. Now get a glass of water and set it beside your bed.” She continues with these instructions.
What do you think a fellow who has gone to college for more than seven years, taught college mathematics courses for more than 20 years and worked in aerospace industry for about 25 years does?
I do what Phyllis says.
In July, I will be telling folks about Phyllis. I’m excited to get the chance. I will be participating in a storytelling show in Washington, DC and a stage production in Williamsburg, Virginia.
What is the message?
I think it’s pretty simple – answer the phone. You never know when it might be someone who is willing to talk, listen and share their wisdom.
Someone like a 93 year-old angel who is “Black with a little Chickahominy Indian and looks Puerto Rican”…. Her friends call her “Curly,”
I call her my godmother Phyllis.
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