It was way back in the spring of '72. We were living in Kent, and Joe was in the first year back in college after a four-year U.S. Navy hiatus. It was three o'clock in the morning when the phone rang. We were young and naive, despite the Navy experience, and hadn't yet learned that a 3 a.m. phone call was always something bad. As I reached for the phone, I believed it to be a wrong number.
It wasn't. It was Jane, our neighbor two doors to the left. She and her husband were on the faculty; neighbors, not friends, though we'd had dinner together a couple of times. They were at the hospital in the next town; her husband had spent much of the night at the Emergency Room and when he was ready for release, the car wouldn't start. She just wanted to get him home and into his bed. So she called to ask if I could come to get them.
When I got there, her first words were, "I'm so sorry to get you out of bed at this hour." And my response, without even thinking, was, "Jane, I'm glad you think I'm the sort of person you an call for help at three o'clock in the morning."
Three o'clock in the morning: Who ya gonna call? I've always known it could be Bonnie or Honna. Not that I ever thought about it all that much.
I write this post to tell what I have learned: In the past two days, I've learned that there are many more. People have been wonderfully, amazingly supportive. They've offered prayers, meals, shoulders, errand running, and "anything at all, any time." They've respected my need not to have to answer the phone, and used good old email. They've been there with a touch, with an ear, with a glance. Some are the ones you would anticipate, the old friends, the people from church, the family. It is heartwarming, to coin a phrase. I'm so grateful.
Others are blog friends from across the U.S. and across the world. Prayers from Japan, empathy from Britain, cyberhugs from California. Late last night as I sat with the emails, I came to one from a quilter in Florida, someone I've "known" for only months, never spoken with, and yet there is this strong connection, this bond. I read what she'd written and the tears came again, healthy tears as Pat had told me. I thought, "She is someone I could call at three o'clock in the morning." I felt blessed.
Wee hours love,