somewhere in central louisana… about 3 hours north west of new orleans a loud and rough voice is calling me. well not me personally, but i happen to pick up the phone. the voice belongs to tyrone roy. i learn his name a little too late as i mistakingly say a “yes ma’am” that is quickly corrected. i hold the phone several inches from my face and can hear tyrone clear as day.
he works with the sheriff’s association in royal parish. he loves getting our health letters. did he mention he is in louisiana? he used to get the health letters every month. for years. except the last 7 years. he hasn’t received one health letter in the last 7 years. the letters have great tidbits and facts in them. he misses those letters. am i in michigan?
my attempts to explain that our publisher is in michigan, but i am in seattle are fruitless. seattle i say, in washington state. tyrone lectures me to speak more slowly and clearer, he doesn’t hear too well. i am also supposed to emphasis key words, like yes and no. do i understand? yes-i-am-in-seattle. oh seattle, he says, not michigan?
i explain he probably was receiving the health letters as a service of his care provider. has his care provider changed? tyrone emphatically tells me that if it did changed it changed to nothing. he gets nothing now. no tips. no health advice. no health letter. i tell him i’d be happy to send him the health letter. should he give me his insurance number? no, i say. i-just-need-your-address. he spells everything for me, down to road. r-d-period. he says. that’s for road.
tyrone asks my name. robin, i say. robins? he asks. no, just robin, i repeat. r-o-b-i-n-s? he asks. no, just r-o-b-i-n. it’s a first name. what? he says. robin, only one, i say. it’s no use. from that point on tyrone calls me miss robins.
he offers to pay the postage for the health letter. i had been reluctant to tell him that the subscription is actually $25 a year. but i tell tyrone. he says to send him a bill and he’ll gladly pay $25 for a year, after all, he hasn’t had the letter in 7 years. did i know he works at the sheriff’s association?
tyrone thanks me for my time, apologizing that he is hard of hearing or maybe the connection is bad since i am in seattle. it’s no problem, i say. no problem he repeats and we say goodbye. i gathered several back issues as well as some of our health brochures. i wrote tyrone a little note and addressed his envelope to mansura, louisiana.