Now, part of this is my fault, and I take responsibility for it; on my landline answering machine, I had left the default computerized male voice that instructed callers to leave a message at the beep without recording my own message. This was for two reasons-- one, every time my power goes out it wipes out any customized message and I have to re-record it. And two, I didn't really want strangers to know who lived at the address. Safety reasons, dontchaknow.
But to the family of one "Orange-Ray Junior," the fact that they kept calling a number day after day, and Orange-Ray the Younger never connected with them, appears to have been no major red flag that something was amiss.
Initially, I couldn't tell what name it was these determined folks were even saying due to the uniqueness of the name and the family's hearty Southern drawl. But last night's episode, courtesy of "Nana-Pam," clarified the moniker of our remarkably social leading man.
The series began like this:
"Now, Orange-Ray Junior, Paw-paw said he'd go huntin' with ya, so you give him a call back." (Click.)
I suspect Orange-Ray the Second did not make that call.
Two days later:
"Orange-Ray Junior, you got that appointment you gotta git to, so you be there, you hear me? I think this is yer phone, ain't it?"
I'm not clear on how asking an answering machine could resolve that question when you never leave a call back number, but maybe the family has a nuanced insight into that which I don't.
About four days after this:
"Orange-Ray, you coming over the hill yet? Okay now, bye." (click)
At this point, I'm dying to know where in tarnation, with a Pittsburgh city area code, these people were calling from.
And presumably if they knew O-R, Jr. should be coming over the hill, they talked to him at some point between the answering machine messages I received. So did no one ask him over the Thanksgiving festivities about his number?
Apparently not. Because, last night, as I swept in from work, I saw another red light flashing on my answering machine. My hand reached for the button with excitement. Could it possibly be?
Yay! It was!:
"Orange-Ray Junior, this is Nana-Pam. This is your answering machine, ain't it? 'Kay, bye."
Once I got done laughing, I decided I would let Orange-Ray's family off the hook-- in a very literal way-- by leaving them a message. It is as follows:
"You have reached the answering machine of a person who is not, in fact, Orange-Ray Junior.
"If you'd like to leave a message for me, that would be terrific!
"If you're a member of Orange-Ray Junior's family, I'm sorry, I don't know where he is, but he doesn't live here. I think he gave you all the wrong number. Good luck!"
And I imagine this should clear up any confusion on their end. But I admit, I'm going to miss the messages.
I am going to miss the visions I had of the Orange-Ray Junior clan, heading up over hills, going hunting with Paw-paw, hanging out with Nana-Pam, and using a compact, sectionable fruit as a name that carries on from one generation to the next.
Thank you for the joy, Orange-Ray. You have made the past weeks merrier ones.
12-16-11- UPDATE TO YESTERDAY'S POSTS...
If you can believe, I came home last night to another flashing light on the answering machine. And yes, there was another message for Orange-Ray. THAT'S RIGHT-- even after changing my outgoing message to address the problem.
The latest installment went as follows:
"Orange-Ray? Did Pappy let you in? 'Kay, bye."
So there's a Nana-Pam, Paw-Paw AND Pappy. The cast of characters grows!
Also, in listening to this message, I think I MAY be wrong about the Orange-Ray name. It might be some very drawn out, multi-syllabic version of "Andre." (Owendre?) But I can't make my vowel do the stretching exercises to make it work realistically.
So the mystery continues.