The No-Phone Zone

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“The No-Phone Zone,” Friend, March 2019

The No-Phone Zone

The author lives in Colorado, USA.

“It is such a happy day when the fam’ly gets together” (Children’s Songbook, 199).

Friend Magazine, 2019/03 Mar

Illustration by Zhen Liu

Tyler was playing tag with his cousins when he heard his grandma calling.

“Everyone come inside!” she said. “It’s time for dinner!”

Tyler’s whole family was together for a family reunion. Even Uncle Robert and his family had come from far away!

As everyone gathered together, Tyler noticed Grandma holding a basket. He wondered what it was for.

“I’m going to pass this basket around,” Grandma said. “It’s for your phones.”

Tyler heard several of his cousins groan.

“Our family doesn’t get together very often,” Grandma said. “This way we can listen to each other better. We can all get our phones back after dinner.”

Uncle Hyrum made a funny face. “Welcome to the No-Phone Zone!” he said as he put his phone in the basket and passed it on.

Tyler looked at his phone. He liked playing games on it, and he was waiting for a text from his best friend, Ethan. With a sigh, he put his phone in the basket and handed it to his cousin. Then he heard a ping. Was that a text for him? He barely stopped himself from reaching for the basket again.

“Thank you,” Grandma said. “Now let’s say a prayer and eat.”

After the prayer, Grandpa brought in a plate piled high with hamburgers and hot dogs from the grill. They looked delicious! Tyler helped his little brother put a burger on a bun, then grabbed a burger and two hot dogs for himself.

Grandma laughed when she saw his plate. “You eat just like your dad did when he was your age.”

Tyler smiled back. “I’m a growing boy, Grandma.”

Aunt Tracy laughed too. “That’s exactly what your dad used to say!”

After dinner, Tyler’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older cousins all told stories. Usually Tyler didn’t stick around to hear the grown-ups talk. But this time he didn’t want to leave the table. He’d never heard these stories before!

Tyler especially liked the stories about Dad.

“Did Dad ever get in trouble?” he asked.

“Oh yes!” Grandpa said. “He was always making crazy inventions—like toasters that also opened the blinds … or at least tried to!”

“What do you mean? All of my inventions worked perfectly!” Dad said.

Everyone laughed.

Grandma looked at Tyler. “We’re proud of your father, and we’re proud of you too!”

Tyler felt a little embarrassed, but mostly he had a happy feeling inside. Suddenly Tyler realized that he hadn’t even thought about his phone for an hour. He had been having so much fun!

When Dad said it was time to leave, Tyler gave Grandma a big hug. “Thanks, Grandma. This was the best dinner ever!”