Weird answering machines

December 28, 1997

Weird answering machines


Staff Writer

The "Streett Ranch" in Clear Spring has an annual "mooing contest."

"Come on out of the fields, take your hoof out of your mouth and let fly with your very best moo," Todd Streett, 33, tells callers who get his answering machine.

The message proves there's nothing like an answering machine to bring out the zany in people.

An answering machine is an open invitation to paint a far-fetched scene for callers. After all, they can't see what's on the other line.


It's always snowing at Kenny Cosens' house near Huyetts.

Cosens, 66, tells callers that he can't come to the phone because he's out shoveling snow.

"As soon as I get all this stuff cleaned out, I'll give you a call," his message says.

Marilyn Smetzer, 56, is riding a horse off into the sunset.

That's not unrealistic. Smetzer has horses at her ranch north of Hagerstown.

The clopping noise is actually a clock ticking, she said.

"Some of my friends would say, 'How'd you get your horse in the house?" she said.

Todd and Ellan Streett don't have any cows at their house. And their two kids, Hannah, 2, and Abbigayle, 6, are not calves.

Todd Streett lets out a long "moo" on his machine because he's been told he's a pretty good "mooer."

"Now that we've milked this for all it's worth, have a simply bovine Christmas and udderly bullish New Year," the message says.

And the Streetts always look forward to listening to their "mooing" messages when they get home.

Other people's messages reflect their line of work.

Here's Bill Sheppard Jr., 36, a police officer in Mercersburg, Pa.: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can determine if we return your call."

Some people are trying to send a clear message to certain callers.

Kenny Cross of Hagerstown, frustrated by a frequent wrong-number caller, yells at the person and tells them to hang up.

Telemarketers beware. Betty Snyder of Hagerstown tells callers that she is screening her calls so she won't have to talk to sales people.

Then there are the messages that are just plain cute.

Paige and John Hershey of Hagerstown's son was just 8 months old when they recorded him laughing his head off.

"Every time anybody calls, they say it makes them laugh," said Paige Hershey, 32.

They hate to change the message because they have no way to save the digital tape.

Bev Shockey of Waynesboro, Pa., tells callers that her dog, Cookie, will write down their message and give it to her when she gets home.

Cookie the cock-a-poo, barks on cue.

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