Is there a Red Phone to be used only in emergencies on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office of the White House?
When your neighbor’s house is on fire, waking you up from a deep sleep in the very early morning, do you remember the three-digit number to call?
When a cat gets its big head through – but not its rather portly body – the smallish hole of a decorative concrete block that forms the foundation of the house, what to do?
In the latter case I called 9-1-1.
“What emergency are you reporting?” said the dispatcher.
“Well, I’m not sure it’s an emergency. This large cat . . . “and I described the scene to the nice dispatcher lady.
“It sounds like an emergency to the cat,” she responded.
“Fire is en route.”
To make a long story short the friendly folks from the fire department surveyed the situation; the Captain petted the cat – the majority of it that he could see – and the Lieutenant retrieved the Jaws of Life from the truck, broke apart the brick and the cat – now down to eight lives, or maybe seven – took off lickety-split for home with not even the meow of a thank you.
In the instance of the house fire, the neighbor, seriously panicked, said later he couldn’t remember the emergency number.
And no, there is no Red Phone on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office of the White House, labeled “For Use In Emergency ONLY!” There is no red phone at all.
Not for calling in the President’s order for pizza.
Not for authorizing retaliatory strikes.
However, in the 1984 Presidential campaign, there was a clip of a hand picking up the receiver of a red phone with these words:
“The most awesome, powerful responsibility in the world lies in the hand that picks up this phone.”
How awesome is that?
That when your heart is overwhelmed, and your world shaken;
when all you own and called dear seems soon to become but embers and ashes;
when you’ve lost your life-long traveling companion;
Then you have the most awesome, powerful opportunity and privilege in the world to pick up the phone and make the call.
And the recipient of your call should be the one who has your rescue in mind.
And know, assuredly, help is on the way.