Thursday, May 02, 2013


The late Erma Bombeck tells about a time when she was tired of listening. She had listened to her son tell in minute detail about a movie he had just seen. Then she had received several telephone calls filled with mindless chatter.

She was relieved to tell the last caller she had to rush off to the airport. She got into a taxicab, and the taxicab driver spoke incessantly about his son’s accomplishments. She got the airport and was excited to have a few minutes to herself. She opened her book and began to read.

“But no sooner had I opened my book, when an elderly female voice said to me, ‘I bet it’s cold in Chicago.’ ‘I suppose,’” Erma replied without looking up from her book.

“I haven’t been in Chicago for 3 years,” the woman said. “My son lives there.”

“That’s nice,” said Erma politely. Then the woman continued, “My husband’s body is on this plane. We were married for 53 years. I don’t drive, you see, and the funeral director was so nice. He drove me to the airport today.”

Erma recalls, “Her voice droned on. Here was a woman who didn’t want money or advice or counsel. All she wanted was someone to listen. And in desperation she had turned to a total stranger with her story.”

Bombeck adds, “She continued to talk to me until they announced that we were boarding the plane. We walked onto the plane. I saw her sit down in another section. And as I hung up my coat I heard her say to the person next to her, ‘I bet it’s cold in Chicago.’”

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