Some telephone calls just make your day. Like the ones from your kids who live far away. Or from a distant relative who has been special in your life. Or from a long lost friend. Or, in our case, from a special prisoner.
I used to think it was important---well, I still do, for that matter---to have a few good news items up my sleeve for that time when a prisoner calls. Because so much of a prisoner's life is negative, it's important to pass along some positive vibes. But the more I'm in this business, the more I've learned that it's equally important for my peace of mind to hear positive things from prisoners.
It was that way today when Big Ben called. The minute I hear his name from the automated prison system, I get a smile on my face. He's one of those friends you just love to hear from.
And he has good news.
"Hey man, it's not much, but the guys got together and held a little fund-raiser for you. The check is in the mail."
I've talked about this before. Gifts from prisoners are so meaningful. These guys may be making $10-12 a month, and yet they scrape up dollars to give to HFP.
"The guys are going to be putting on a music show. It's kind of a talent show, with playing and singing. Maybe some of us will be reading poetry, too. Anyway, your name is going to be on the invitation list. We want you to be a special guest. We know that your wife is in a wheelchair, so we're going to try to make provisions so that she can be here, also."
Two neat pieces of information that make my day.
In closing, I make sure to tell him how much I appreciate his phone calls, and how much this short quarter-hour conversation means to me.
"Well you know, man, we gotta be there for each other in difficult times. That's why the Lord put us together."
Yes, it is, Big Ben.
Yes, it is.