Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Ding-Dong (05/16/13)
TITLE: "Anybody home?"
By Carolyn Ancell
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Of course, we knew someone was home if we could call through an open screen door on those carefree summer days of childhood, but we ding-donged anyway.
At college, the year I was a residence counselor, I didn't have a doorbell on my dorm room. The ding-dong usually came in the form of a quiet rap, and a whispered, "Are you there?" from a homesick, lovesick or study-weary freshman. It was my job to be "at home" for students needing a listening ear.
My first job after college was as a Director of Religious Education for a Methodist Church in upstate New York. Down the road from my church was a small Episcopal church pastored by an elderly, shy, arthritic priest who was passionate about the arts and prayer. We became fast friends. Occasionally, on a dark snowy evening, my phone would ring, and he would politely ask, "Are you home this evening?" (Uh, these were the days before cell phones. If I answered my phone, I was home. But I equally politely responded, "Yes, I'm home.") Thirty minutes later, he would have buckled on his galoshes, buttoned up his winter coat, carefully made his way from his house to my little apartment, and be standing on my doorstep, and ... ding-dong would lead to a lovely, quiet evening of cocoa and spiritual conversation.
Today, in this cell phone era, when my best friend calls and asks, "Are you home?" I could be anywhere. Across the street, across town, or across the country. At this very moment, my friend is in the hot desert southwest, and I am in an RV in the cold rainy northwest heading toward Alaska. What I wouldn't give for a nice ding-dong at my RV door right now. I'm not saying that traveling and living in an RV for six months isn't fun. But it can get lonely. One or two nights at each RV park along the way doesn't exactly lend itself to community building, even though we do enjoy fleeting visits with our continually changing neighbors in each campground.
In just two weeks, however, we will meet--at a naval air base park--two other couples, dear friends, with whom we will spend three months exploring Alaska in our RVs. I know exactly what I am going to do as soon as we get settled in the park. I am going to run over to their rigs, and joyfully call out, "Ding-dong. Anybody home?"
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