One evening several years ago, I arrived at my cottage in the mountains of West Virginia to find a strange message on my answering machine.
Seeing the red blinking “1” on the clunky analog box, I pressed the “play” button. The mini-cassette inside rewound with a screech and then the message began to play.
“Do you have a place to stay?”
Well, needless to say, I was confused. And touched. The caller was no one I knew, yet he seemed to be in desperate straits.
That week I had been working on an accapella song, reflecting on the signs of my power that I carry around in my pocket every day.
The song seemed to fit with the stranger’s request on the answering machine. So I turned on my tape recorder, repeated the message several times, and then sang the lyrics to the simple melody in my head.
The answering machine died long ago. The song has been stored on my hard drive for years.
The stranger who called? I did try to call him back that evening long ago, but I was unable to reach him.
I do hope he found a place to stay.