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Heaven and hell


Blame it all on the Cubs.
Mom and Dad are lifelong fans of the loveable losers. Through the years, they’ve listened or watched many, many games. They may have actually gone to Wrigley Field but only if the tickets were given to them or there was some other special reason. Sporting events, after all, are a luxury. I do know Dad went at least once; I made him go for my birthday. We sat in the nosebleed seats but I kept my mitt on the entire game. Well, except for when I was eating hotdogs. Of late, they’ve been just listening as the TV broadcast moved from WGN to a cable channel. They’ve been content with this arrangement but with Joe Maddon and crew on the cusp of going to the World Series, they got an itch to pay the extra money and watch the games again.
So Mom called Comcast to see how much extra it would be to add sports to the basic package they are already getting. They were told $40 more a month and they balked. No way were they going to pay that much money. Then the next day, a salesman for Comcast showed up at their door. At first, they weren’t even going to let him in but he was persistent. If the folks are two things; they are thrifty and hospitable. In the end, the irresistible force swayed the immovable objects.
They didn’t buy into the extra sports package, but the salesman promised them they could save $10 a month by switching their phone service away from AT&T. Ten dollars a month savings was just too much to resist and they signed the papers. They were told they could keep the same number.
The first bill came and they discovered the savings was only a little over a dollar a month. Mom called the cable company, which does nearly $50 billion in revenue annually, and told them to cancel the telephone deal. Her plan was to switch back to good old Ma Bell.
In the shuffle, they got their phone shut off and were told it would cost $135 to transfer the number back. Hell could freeze over before that’d happen, and the folks lived without a phone for nearly ten days. They did have the cell phone they bought for emergencies, but they soon used up the minutes on it and refused to pay for more.
It’s just a phone number, but it’s their phone number. It has been ever since they bought the three-bedroom ranch in Rolling Meadows in 1957. The house came with one telephone, a heavy-duty wall model with rotary dial. In a pinch, you could use the handset part of it to pound in a nail, tenderize meat or knock out an attacker. Over the years, they’ve added several extensions including wireless models but they’ve always had the number.
It’s the number I called when stationed in the Army overseas. It’s the numbers my siblings and I have called to make important announcements, like engagements and the birth of children, grandchildren, and then great grandchildren. It’s the number they called from to tell of my sister Bonnie’s passing.
Bonnie, by the way, was a number one Cub fan. Like a lot of others who bled Cubbie blue, she could recite the entire roster, their batting averages and ERAs. But beyond that, she also knew new the names of the spouses and the children, their favorite color and if and where they had a tattoo.
It took brother Brad and sister-in-law making a bunch of calls to get the matter resolved, but it finally got done.
In the meantime, the Cubs fought back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series for the first time in 108 years.
I believe there are a bunch of fans, Bonnie included, drinking beer in heaven and singing Go Cubs Go. And, I hope the devil is reserving a special place for the Comcast employees who almost took away our telephone number.