I had to wait until my blood pressure returned to a lower level before I typed this letter to the editor. The reason being is that I had just got off the phone from reporting my brother's phone being out — again. By his calculations, that would be No. 17 in the last 12 months. Of course, Verizon disputed that claim by saying the numbers were much lower from the phone number we gave them for him. Other folks in the Glencoe area are affected at the same time, so the outage may have been reported by someone else on the same line. So his later call from atop Carter Hill from his car phone doesn't seem to count. The same for the calls made from Berlin, for him, after he got tired of being on hold in his car. Cellphones don't work in that area either. I get frustrated myself; by being on hold so long my ear goes numb. And finally a human gets on the line and asks some of the following questions: "Are you calling from the phone that is having problems?" "What's the three-digit code number after the phone number?" "What was the amount paid on the last phone bill?"
By this time I am ready to really get nasty with this person. I try to explain to them that I am making a call for another person because they can't make a call or receive one. And I don't know any code number or bill amount. I just want to report an outage, period. It doesn't get any better to try to explain that this is an ongoing problem that will only be resolved by renewing some old equipment in that area. My brother has been in that area for more than 20 years and has had the same problem over and over. Other folks on the same line suffer the same.
If a medical emergency should arise during one of these outages, think of the timing involved in trying to get medical help. You'd have to get in your car and drive to the top of the mountain to use your car phone — if you have one. Or use a cellphone if you have one. Some of the people that I know from that area have medical issues. Let's just hope that the outage and medical problem don't happen in the same time period.
As far as my use of the word "service" in the heading of this, I'll keep it decent for the sake of using it in a family newspaper. But the older rural generation will remember what happened when the small size of the herd of cattle or horses required that a female member might have to be taken to another farm to be "serviced." Get my point, Verizon?