Jewish World Review Dec. 6, 2002 / 1 Teves, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Radio show guarantees family-size audience | I cautioned Mom to use restraint when I told her about an upcoming radio interview in Lincoln, Neb. I could hear her knuckles cracking, prepping for speed dial before I hung up the phone.

I've done interviews with stations in big cities, but an interview in the town where one was born is truly big. It's not Go Big Red football big, but it's big. Mom wanted to know how the interview came about.

"The radio host said one of my cousins told her about my book," I said. " I explained to the host that he wasn't really my cousin, but was married to one of my many cousins who live in the area."

"Did you tell her he manages the Kawasaki plant?" Mom asked.

"I forgot he manages the Kawasaki plant, Mom, but honestly, I don't think it matters."

"How could it not matter? And how could you forget your cousin's husband manages the Kawasaki plant?"

How could I forget? Maybe I forgot because I have 46 first cousins, most of whom have gone on to marry and have a second round of cousins, some of which have also married and are producing another round of cousins.

"It was a short conversation, Mom. The radio show is called Problems and Solutions. I don't even know if I'm a problem or a solution."

"You're not giving me much to work with, but it's enough," she said. Let the dialing begin. My mother is a one-woman phone tree that can cover four time zones in under 50 minutes.

An hour later, she called back with the lowdown on the host: "Nice lady, been on the air a long time, interesting guests. Your Aunt Carol's too far out of town to pick up the station in her kitchen, so she'll listen from the truck. Your cousin Janet can't listen because she has to work that morning, so she called the station and purchased a tape."

"She bought a tape before the show's been recorded?"

"Three of them. Got a copy for you, too. The lady at the station said you must have a lot of friends and family in the area."

Oh, if the woman only knew. I can see it now. The show will start, the switchboard will light up like a Christmas tree, the radio host will be pumped and all havoc will break loose.

"Good morning, Problems and Solutions. Go ahead, caller."

"Lori, this is Joan. Would you tell your mom I have the cake-taker she left at the family reunion?"

"Sure, Joan. Nice to talk to you."

"Hello caller, welcome to Problems and Solutions. Do you have a question for Lori?"

"Yes. Lori, this is Cheryl and I just wanted to know if my daughter sent a thank you for the wedding gift."

"I don't know, Cheryl. I think so, but there have been so many showers and weddings, I really can't remember."

"Hello, Lori? This is Boyd. Just wanted everybody to know Becky likes her new job with the nail polish company. The layoff from the perfume company was hard, but she's back on her feet."

Forty-some callers later, with news on bypass surgeries, hearing aids, new babies, wedding anniversaries, job changes and the recipe for pumpkin bars, the radio show host will realize 46 cousins are beyond control. She will throw her head on her desk crying, "Solutions, solutions. I need solutions."

Meanwhile, scattered across rolling cornfields and gentle plains, aunts and uncles, cousins, and cousins' cousins will listen and smile, thinking, "What a wonderful program. That O'Reilly fella ought to try something like this on The Factor."

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman