FROM TIME TO TIME I telephone my mother. Sometimes to catch up on what's going on with my large and loony family, but sometimes just to be companionable. I am fond of my mother, and she of me. We have shared interests, and are in many ways quite alike.

Sunday morning I called and when she answered she sounded a bit different, as though she were catching a cold. I said, "Hello, Mother dear. This is David." She responded and asked how things were in Berkeley. We chatted about this and that, though as the conversation proceeded it got stranger and stranger. We hedged and hemmed and hawed, neither quite able to put a finger on just what was going on, but things were definitely out of kilter.

Finally, she said that she had to put the rabbit in the oven for dinner. Rabbit? My mother has never cooked a rabbit in her life. The very thought. So, my suspicions confirmed, I said, "This is David Lance Goines, and odd as it may seem I think I may have mis-dialed." She started to chuckle, and admitted that she'd found the whole conversation a bit weird herself.

She has a son, named David, who lives in Berkeley. I have a mother who lives one block from this pleasant, chatty woman. I must have dialed the last digit incorrectly, and though we did not know one another from Adam's off ox, things were just right enough to keep us on the line far longer than if they had been entirely wrong.

August 16, 1994