The world is my oyster, so to speak. Honestly, I never have understood that phrase and you are all witnesses to my having used it for the first time.
This past Labor Day evening my world turned even happier. Remember I told you recently that my youngest son Ben had entered the Air Force and how proud I was of him?
Well, that evening I received my first phone call from Airman Basic Ben Norwood.
It wasn't a long phone call but it spoke volumes. In five minutes I was able to discern that he was: (a) Doing just fine, (b) basically enjoying himself, and (c) having no regrets about enlisting.
Those are exactly the feelings I remember from my time in basic in 1978. From the tone of his voice I was also able to sense that he was pretty proud of himself, although no more proud than his family is of him. Even my oldest son told me he was proud of his younger sibling.
The neat thing was, he was allowed to call on his own cell phone. I figured, like in my time, those personal electronic devices would be confiscated until graduation day. Of course in my day we didn't have a clue about cell phones, only Dick Tracy had them.
I like that they allow them to do so. It is a real thrill to see your son's name pop up to show you who is calling.
Now I know the feeling my family members might have had when I called them from Lackland Air Force Base those many years ago. At least I hope they were glad to have heard from me.
It's been months since I've seen Ben, but in those five minutes I was wondrously right there with him. We were sharing one of those father-and-son moments of true understanding. One where we understood one another because of our shared experience.
It also taught me a lesson.
Or rather it instilled in me a greater urgency — an urgency to always stay in touch with my loved ones. I try to talk to my mother at least once a day, but there are other relatives and loved ones of whom I need to do a better job of keeping up.
My sister, for example. Since we were kids we've never been what one would say close. Lately, that has begun to bother me. She is my only sibling and I'm afraid that one day it will be just the two of us and we will barely know one another.
I have an uncle and aunt who live in Charlotte, NC. Next to my mom they are my closest relatives and I love them dearly. Unfortunately, I don't take the time to call them as I should. My Uncle Bill will be my best man at my wedding next month and I have spoken to him on the phone maybe twice in the past year.
Frankly, I am ashamed of the poor job I've done in staying in touch with my loved ones. I have lost good friends through the ages just because we've stopped writing or calling. It makes me sad to realize this and I vow to do a much better job of staying in touch in the future.
Communication is so very important. There will come a time when it will be impossible to pick up the phone and call my mom, my sister, cousins, uncles and aunts and very dear friends. Until that time I want to make sure I have no regrets in staying in touch.
With Ben in the Air Force and my oldest son, Jonathan, living in California, I can tell you it makes my face light up when my cell phone rings and I see it is them calling. I hope it makes them happy when their phone rings and they see it is me calling.
How long has it been since you spoke to your parents or siblings? Do you need to pick up the phone and call them today? I guarantee they'll be glad to hear from you if it has been awhile.
And if there is something preventing you from making that call, get it out of the way and mend those fences. Isn't it about time? Even if you didn't create the problem, it will make you feel so good to get it out of the way.
So, go ahead. Pick up that phone and reach out and touch someone.
As usual, God bless.
Dennis Norwood is a reporter for The Catoosa County News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-935-2621.