Our phone just rang. I didn’t recognize the number. I decided to screen the call. I listened to see if I recognized the caller.
“Hello, this is James Anderson calling for Doireann…” (I picked up the phone overcome with curiosity. Who is James Anderson, and why have I not heard of him?)
“Hello? Yes, hello?”
“Hello? Yes, hello, is Doireann available?”
“May I ask who’s calling?” (I’m very formal when I’m demanding to know what male is calling for my daughter.)
“Oh, of course. This is James Anderson calling from the U.S. Navy. I am calling to talk to Doireann about scholarship opportunities available to her through our ROTC program.”
I had to bite my tongue to squelch a guffaw. The U.S. Navy? Doireann and the U.S. Navy?
Doireann. My daughter. Doireann. In the Navy. My response:
They would give her a scholarship not to join. She would be dishonorably discharged for sheer impertinence and unwillingness to do push-ups or follow basic orders. They would call us a few weeks into basic training and beg us to take her back much like that scene from “Private Benjamin”. Or, she would just go AWOL. Much like that scene from “Private Benjamin”.
I kindly took James Anderson’s information and informed him politely that I would pass on his number to Doireann. I then knocked on Doireann’s bedroom door, cleared my throat, and announced, “Don’t say I don’t love you or that I’ve never done anything nice for you.” At this point, my other three daughters had followed me up the stairs due to my maniacal laughter. “Mom, what’s so funny? Who called? What’s going on?”
Doireann looked suspicious. “Ohmigod. What? Who called? What…?”
“The Navy. James Anderson wants you. Here’s his number,” I said with a smirk.
A moment of shocked silence from everyone followed by uproarious laughter! All the sisters doubled over. Doireann’s mouth hung open.
“WHAT?! Me?! No!”
“She would be dishonorably discharged! Don’t they know anything?” Eadaoin squawked between laughs.
“You would have excellent upper body strength from all the push-ups they would force you to do from all your defiance. You do hate following orders,” I observed.
“No, I wouldn’t! I wouldn’t do a push-up no matter who told me! That’s sort of the point! I can’t believe the U.S. Navy called here for me. That’s just…funny,” Doireann laughed.
“He was very polite to me on the phone though. James Anderson was a well-mannered dude. I liked him,” I said as I left the room.
“Oh no, Mom. Navy boys are well-mannered. They are very polite to mothers,” Doireann emphasized.
I stopped and looked at her. “How do you know that?”
She didn’t answer. She just walked backwards into her room.
Seriously, how does she know that?