“Often in my moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
“A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived nearby. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, ‘Information Please.’ Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well: ‘Information.’
“I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, ‘Could you please tell me how to spell fix?’
“There was a long pause. Then came the soft-spoken answer: ‘I guess your finger must be healed by now.’
“I laughed, ‘So, it really is you! I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time.’
“‘I wonder,’ she said, ‘if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls.’
“I told her how often I had thought of her over the years, and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
“‘Please do,’ she said. ‘Just ask for Sally.’
“Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered – ‘Information.’
“I asked for Sally. ‘Are you a friend?’ she said.
“‘Yes, a very old friend,’ I answered.
“‘I’m sorry to have to tell you this,’ she said. ‘Sally had been working part-time the past few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.’
“Before I could hang up, she said, ‘Wait a minute, did you say your name was Paul?’
“‘Yes,’ I answered.
“‘Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.’
“The note read: ‘Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.’
“I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.”