For many years my friend Davis Stone was sole caretaker of a large mansion and estate next door to me on Belmont Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. His daughter Ruby and I had been great pals before she died when she was only seven.
In 1969 Davis fell from a ladder and as a result was nearly crippled. If he sat bent over or in an unusual position for any length of time he would be unable to work for days or even weeks. Not long after his fall Davi’s employers went on vacation and Davis had complete responsibility for the estate.
The job was really to much for one person, and I was continually on the watch to see that he did not cripple himself again. One evening just before dusk my telephone rand and I answered it. I heard a voice I recognized but could not place; it was the tiny voice of a child.
She said, ” they told me I could not telephone but I just did, didn’t it?” Puzzled, I said, “I know your voice but who are you?””You know me,” she answered. ” I am Ruby!””Thank you and goodbye,” I said as I dropped the phone, alarmed that something must be wrong be wrong with Davis. I heard the little voice say, “Thank you too.”
I dashed next door and tried to get in. There was no answer to my knock but I found a door that was unlatched and went from room to room to see what was the matter. On a big, chair I found Davis, sound asleep in a position that would have crippled him.
Suddenly I knew he could not be awakened quickly so I just stood nearby and repeated his name. Finally he awoke and said, “Oh, my back! It’s a good thing you came to see about me, but what is the reason?” Stunned for a moment at the immensity of the answer I must give, I finally said, “You daughter Ruby called me on the telephone.”
Disbelief showed on his face. I couldn’t blame him. The truth staggered me too when I realized what it meant. “My phone is still off the hook,” I added. ” I dropped it when I knew something was wrong over here. Ruby said “Thank you’ just as I dashed over. She was still on the line.” Davis and I agreed this was very like Ruby. She always had been so careful to observe the pleasantries of life.
I am careful to whom I tell this story, but the telephone call from beyond remains a rare treasure in my memory.