About an hour or so after that, I walked down to get the mail and stop in 7-Eleven for a Diet Pepsi, when my phone rang. And, again, it was the unknown caller. I decided to answer it this time so that the caller would just stop calling:
Me: Hello?We talked for a few minutes and I admitted to her that I was having a surreal moment, standing in 7-Eleven and talking to this woman I've loved all my life. She laughed that familiar, wonderful laugh.
Caller: May I speak to Dop Troutman?
Me: This is he.
Caller: Dop, this is Carol Burnett.
Me: Oh my gosh!
Carol: Dop I just had to call you because I got your letter and it meant so much to me and touched me so deeply that I wanted to call and let you know.
Me: I know you've tried a few times to reach me today but your ID is coming up as unknown on my phone and I typically don't answer those.And after several more minutes, we said our good-byes:
Carol: Well I didn't want to leave a message in case I had the wrong number, so I figured I would just keep calling until someone answered.
Carol: Please give my love to your family and to your Mom and Dad.And then I fainted.
Me: I will. I cannot tell you what this means to me.
Carol: Well I am just so touched.
Me: Thank you so much for calling.
Carol: Thank you, darling. Bye bye.
I called my mother immediately following the conversation and asked her to tell Dad and to let me know if he had any reaction to the news. And what's really wonderful and beautiful and sad about all this, is that this is an experience my dad gave to me . . . and he may never realize or understand what he did. What father doesn't want his children to meet their heroes? There would never have been an occasion in my life where I would have spoken with Ms. Burnett, either on the phone or even in person. And certainly not to the length where she would go out of her way to keep trying to reach me until she got me. My dad made that possible for me.
I couldn't possibly love and respect my parents more than I do today. And as they continue on this journey together, I pray that my dad continues to have these times of normalcy, no matter how brief they are. For us, they are epiphanies, but for Dad, they are memories. The precious few he is able to cling to because - at some point - they made his children happy.
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