17 May 2005

Siskiyou Telephone

Back home in The Valley we did not have a regular telephone company like AT&T or Pac Bell, etc. We had a small home town phone company that was rumored to have been there since phones existed. The company was (and still is) called Siskiyou Telephone.You may wonder how a small town tel-com business can survive in such a competitive market. To be fair, I guess a larger Tel-com business could have come in as competition but Siskiyou Telephone owned all the lines and telephone infrastructure but because it was such a small remote area it wasn't worth the money to come in and install the thousands of miles of telephone cable, etc. to overtake the market. The result is Siskiyou Telephone is alive and well today even in this world high flying digital everything.

Now as not is uncommon Siskiyou Telephone had a number that you could call to get the official Scott Valley time. Scott Valley is technically in the Pacific Time Zone but I assure you, Valley Time is entirely different. I used to like to call Time when I got lonely. They had a nice old gentleman with a deep voice recorded on the phone message. He used to say, "At Siskiyou Telephone we have your needs in mind. The time is....12:24" or whatever the time was at that moment. I can tell you when I was scared, or lonely, or looking to what the future might bring it was such a comfort to call Time and hear him croon to me that he had my needs in mind.

I have often wondered about the man on the other end of the Time phone line (Timeline?) Who he was, what he did, and if anyone cared as much for him as he did for me. I would hope on holidays that someone was keeping his needs in mind and making sure he had warm slippers and a pipe. I daydreamed he had a lazy dog with brown eye and one blue eye and a wife who baked him cookies even though his doctor told him his cholesterol was too high. I used to imagine him snoozing in his chair with the his head on his chest and his paper open flat in his lap. Little things that make growing old easier on a man.

Anyway, the man on the Time Line taught me a valuable lesson. You see, I have never forgotten the comfort he brought by being there every time I would call. Always the same each and every day... just two rings and then his solid voice, "At Siskiyou Telephone...." (Would it be a pun to say the guy on the timeline was always there like .... clockwork?!) I came to know what a comfort we can be to others by simply being there for them whenever they call. I have also learned the joy and satisfaction that comes with being the Time keeper. Even when I am in my greatest need it helps me to feel better to be the guy on the time line ... to speak to them with my kind and steady voice and reassure them that I their needs in mind, that I've got their back, and I'm not going anywhere. Minute by minute, hour by hour we will make it through.

We all have days when we wish we could pick up the phone and call home to the Valley to see what time it is. In those moments doing a kind deed for someone can often make the difference for others and also ourselves.

transfered from an old blog and edited 05/16/05