Long, long before caller ID, my dad would answer the phone, “Hi! How are ya?” which never failed to flummox the caller.

My brother and I followed his example and managed to keep it up for several weeks until one evening, when Dad was working the swing shift, the phone rang, and after asking our stepmother if I could answer, after all it was my turn, I picked up and blurted, “Hi! How are you?”

“What?” It was Dad. “How did? Goddammit, put your Stepmother on.”

After she was done with the call Katie our stepmother said, “Your Dad says he doesn’t want you answering the phone like that anymore. He doesn’t want you answering the phone at all anymore. You ruined his joke.”

Several decades later, whenever the cella rings, and I see it’s Dad, I just let it go to voicemail.

“Hi! How are ya?”