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Hoping for one more conversation

We've lost several very good friends in the past few years, along with my mother and sister. Circumstances change with each loss, but that doesn’t mean people we have loved in our lives who have died are then gone from our thoughts. The joys of those friendships and relationships are with us as long as we have memories.

Still, there are times when memories are just not good enough and we sit for a while missing that companionship.

I remember very clearly driving on a frontage road in Stamford, Connecticut, looking back in the mirror on the car's left side. I was completely startled when I recognized the face as my father who had died in 2000. To this day I cannot truthfully tell whether it was a close resemblance to him I saw, my eyes playing tricks or just wishful thinking that it really was him.

When I was a small child, my Grandmother Adams was always singing. Some of her songs were silly or funny, but I remember one I loved to hear that was a real tear jerker, “Hello Central, Give Me Heaven.” I looked it up on online and found it was a Tin Pan Alley hit popular in 1901.

The song is about a little girl and her daddy who are so sad the girl's mother died that she tells him she will call heaven and talk to her. She picks up the phone and says, “Hello Central give me heaven/For my mama’s there/You will find her with the angels/over on the golden stair …”

After hearing her sad story go on, the operator answers her as her mother, saying, “I will answer just to please her/Yes, dear heart, I’ll soon come home.” The child then says, “Kiss me Mama, kiss your darling/Kiss me through the telephone.”

We’re way beyond telephones hooked to the wall and run by operators, so the song got me thinking, wouldn’t it be the best if the Internet got so advanced we could email all the people who have passed on. I could type in or — something on that order.

I was telling a gym friend, David Shumway, about my thoughts as we pumped on stationary bikes. He responded with some pretty strong feelings on the matter saying, “My folks died very quickly and I didn’t have the last chance to tell them thanks and that I loved them. I believe they knew my feelings, but I would have wanted to have them hear it again from me. As you suggest perhaps my folks are far more involved in more important business so yes, I may never see my folks at the end of my bed on a quiet evening. I miss them terribly and I would like to tell them so.”

I reminded him it’s a wicked generation that looks for a sign, and being a charming fellow, he laughed. For that reason I suppose I shouldn’t keep dreaming up stuff like

Still, when a lifelong friend died early this month we’ve been asking ourselves, “Can it be real?”

Just eight months ago we spent some fun time in Mesa, Arizona, with Hoyt and his wife, Kathy, going to dinner and movies. Shortly after we left for Utah, he had a hip replacement which did not go well and the infection and trauma eventually took his fighting spirit. We miss him and sure do wish there was a way to reach