As I plop down in front of my computer to compose the words you are reading now, it is Sunday afternoon, September 30. The day my first grandchild is due. I predicted he would arrive last night, when the harvest moon was full. That date also coincided with my great-grandmother, Jennie Matthews’s, birthday. Which would have been totally cool had it happened.
My cell phone is to the left of the keyboard and my home phone to the right. The minute either of them rings with the news that daughter Leigh is in labor, I’ll toss my already-packed suitcase into the car and head for Kentucky.
But first, I’ve got a column to write.
There are any number of topics I could expound upon this week. How amazed and saddened I feel that an amateur movie clip about the Prophet Mohammad is still causing turmoil in the Middle East. What a shame it is that the Vols didn’t score one more touchdown against Georgia. How dreadful my zinnia bed looks at summer’s end.
But I can’t seem to work up much enthusiasm for any of those subjects. Because the only thing I want to write about is my grandson.
If, indeed, this baby is a boy. All the pre-natal tests point that way. I’ve been assured that in the know-everything twenty-first century, those tests are seldom wrong. They’ve told us how long he is, how much he weighs, and that he loves to suck his thumb.
But there are a few things we won’t know until he bursts onto the scene.
Is his nose really as big as it looks in the ultrasound photos? (Surely not.) What color is his hair? (I’m holding out hope that it will be red. Unrealistic, though, since both parents are brunettes.) And what is his name?
Leigh and husband Matt are playing their cards close to the chest on that one. Not that I blame them. The minute that parents-to-be announce a baby’s name, they invite comment. And criticism. And endless “better” suggestions. So Leigh has made a game of it. I quote from a recent e-mail: “Don’t forget, family, to make a list of six names you think we might choose. Remember, if you guess wrong on the first six, you don’t get to see the baby for one whole day. Then you get another six guesses. If none of them are right, you never get to see him. Sorry.”
Just to be ornery, my first six guesses were girl names. Names they would never in a million years consider even if the baby were a girl. And no, I’m not going to list them here.
Then I chose boy names. Since both Leigh and Matt majored in English in college, chances are good they’ll choose a literary name. Faulkner, say. Or Poe. Those are the top names on my guess-list, followed by Ernest, Fitzgerald, Truman, and Wolfe. If all of those are wrong, I hope they’ll at least send me a cell phone picture of little what’s-his-name every now and then.
I’ve been texting Leigh all afternoon with helpful suggestions about how to get labor started. Taking a long walk, for instance, preferably to a Mexican or Chinese restaurant that serves extra-spicy food. Or if she’d rather eat at home, she can try a trick I learned about only this morning. Matt should cook up some Kraft macaroni and cheese and then douse it with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. Then he must feed it to Leigh–with a spoon, not a fork–until she refuses to take another bite.
Or she could try riding up and down in a tall elevator, which could prove somewhat problematic in Danville, Kentucky. Centre College’s library—the second tallest building in town–has only three floors, hardly enough to stir things up. But the good news is that Ephraim McDowell Medical Center has six floors. A perfect place to get the ball rolling, since that’s where little Faulkner is signed up to be born.
Tune in next week to see if it’s happened yet.
(October 7, 2012)