News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Retro phone: one set, one location

We may go retro with the telephones at our house, back to when families had a single set tethered to a line in the hall.

We'd like to go back to when people knew that the ringing phone was somewhere within range of the cord's length. It would be nice to know which phone is ringing, too.

The cordless revolution was nothing compared to the golden age of the cell phone. If your house has four people living in it, you may have five telephones, one a land line with various extensions and four cells.

At our house we have three, one of which is a land line that we use for local calls. We get calls on all three lines, sometimes at the same time.

Usually cell calls are from the girls. If the land line is busy, they call a cell. If a cell is busy, too, they call the second cell to find out why we've got two lines going at the same time.

They taught us that persistence pays.

When Mary Grace doesn't answer her land-line phone in Georgia, we call her cell phone. If that doesn't work we call Kirk. And if I really want to talk, I call 5-year-old Wright's cell phone.

Or he calls me. His home number, his parents and grandparents' cell phone numbers are programmed into his set. So is 911 in the unlikely event someone snatches him.

His cousin Trey in Savannah doesn't yet have a cell phone but will as soon as he knows Wright has one.

"Lynn doesn't want to talk," Regina says sometimes. That's because she calls the house number first, then her office number and finally her cell phone. Like Mary Grace, Lynn calls later, when it is convenient.

They have caller land-line ID; we don't, so we feel obligated to take the land-line calls. Besides, we are parents and are supposed to want to talk when they want to talk.

The thought of going retro came when Mary Grace called on the land line and the two of us were having a couple of good laughs. Regina felt left out and called Mary Grace's cell phone.

"Dad, why is Mom calling me?" she asked.

"She wants to talk," I replied, as she ended our call and talked to her mother.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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