The message came from the office in Dyersville. A gentleman had asked that I give him a call, that he wanted to speak with me about some things.
I recognized the name immediately as the parent of former students, a decent, hardworking fellow who, with his wife, raised a great family. While I used to speak with him often when his kids were in school, I hadn’t said more than a hello to him in several years.
We played a bit of phone tag, but eventually, we got in touch with one another. And while I suspected the phone call was initiated because of a past column I wrote, neither of us brought that up.
He and I are on opposite sides of the political world, but we both want the same thing — a decent world for us, our kids and grandkids to live in.
We spoke about a variety of things: religion ranging from Islam to Christianity, abortion, gun control, the siege on the Capitol, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the frigid Iowa weather and fishing.
The conversation was divided into a couple of phone calls. During the first one, he had visitors come calling and he had to get off the phone. I suppose it would have been easy for him not to call back or me to not answer a second call, but I hoped we could speak again.
Later that morning he called back.
We continued our conversation until I ended the call. I had to pick up my wife from her work, as she hadn’t driven out that morning because of the weather, allowing me instead to drive her to work. Her business was closing early because of a winter storm and she needed a ride home.
Those phone calls were an example of what is missing in so many conversations today — respect and civility. He got to give me his take on where we are going as a society, a nation and a world. Likewise, I was able to share my views.
We found some common ground, while still agreeing to disagree on other topics. We may never run into each other at the same political caucus next election cycle (if Iowa somehow still manages to keep first in the nation caucus status), but I know we both believe in the other’s right to support the candidates he believes will best get us that world we want for us and our families.
I’m glad he took the time to call. I’d like to think that if the civility and respect shown during that call can continue with all of us, we won’t have to worry about organizations or politicians having to make the world a better place.
We will have done that ourselves.