hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 14, 2013

New Year's greetings run amok

I’ve often reminded myself that the shortest distance between two strangers is simply a telephone call.

Thus, I wanted to start 2013 on the right foot by calling people who’ve lost touch with me over the years.

I find it more personable than sending off an email and taking a chance on getting a reply. As it was, I didn’t have their addresses anyway.

Truthfully, I’m not much for telephones, now that we’re in this age of computers. I can get my messages across without listening to long, mundane conversations.

“Great idea,” said the wife. “Just don’t hand the phone over to me like you always do when you want to get rid of someone.”

Since we have caller ID, half the phone calls we get never get answered because we know in advance who’s calling. And if we don’t, it’s probably a solicitation anyway so why bother lifting the receiver?

My first call would be to Cousin Barbara on Cape Cod. The last time I encountered her presence, we were at a wedding and promised to get together. Neither one of us ever followed through.

The New Year’s call to Barbara turned into an exercise in futility.

“Sorry, that number is no longer in service,” came a voice. “If you wish further assistance, please call your operator.”

I did precisely that and there was no record of a Barbara Keshgegian anywhere. Had she moved? Gotten divorced? Died?

Next, I tried an old friend named Martin. We worked together for many years and off he went to another paper. Nice guy, Martin. He could get hit by a bus on the street and still come up with a story.

I called his home and a woman answered — rather defiantly I might add.

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