Fifty-two a year. That’s the magic number for every journalist who writes a weekly newspaper column. Sometimes coming up with ideas is tough. And sometimes they fall right into your lap. Taking a puppy to the beach, for instance. Attending a high school reunion. Celebrating the blue moon.
Or holding your first grandchild in your arms for the very first time.
Yep. He’s here. My eagerly-awaited grandson made his appearance just before midnight on October 2. As soon as we could, George and I hoofed it for Kentucky. We made it without a speeding ticket and got to see him for the first time when he was not quite twenty hours old.
Though the boy can’t yet hit a baseball or work a jigsaw puzzle or play the mandolin, he can already do tricks. The most impressive one involves raising his astonishingly long and skinny fingers to his face and clawing around until he sticks them in his eyes. Which I’m told are big like his mama’s and green like his daddy’s, though I never saw them opened. After he’s poked around for a while, he usually manages to slide a thumb into his mouth.
The only other trick we witnessed in the short time we were with him was his ability to sleep through anything. Leigh, looking ecstatic but exhausted in her hospital bed, was ready to hand him over as soon as we walked into the room. Though I once had three babies of my own and most certainly must have known how to handle a newborn, I confess that I was a little nervous when it came time to pick this one up.
I carefully shifted him from Leigh’s arms to mine and settled into a nearby rocking chair. Grandson squirmed a bit but never woke up. He quickly snuggled into my arms as though that was exactly where he belonged.
It didn’t last, of course. George was itching for his turn, so I reluctantly passed the snoozing little bundle to him. After a few minutes of gazing at this sleeping angel in wonder and wishing we never had to head back to Tennessee, we decided it might be nice to go for a family walk. Matt helped Leigh out of bed and, with the baby secure in his grandfather’s strong arms, the five of us began to stroll down the hospital corridor.
We didn’t make it to the twenty yard line before the Gestapo showed up.
“You can’t do that that!” a nurse who appeared out of nowhere said in a this-is-no-joke voice. She shook her finger at the baby as though he’d done something wrong. “He’s only allowed out of the room in his bassinet.”
“How come?” I wasn’t arguing, just asking.
Time for another confession. I wanted to ask that nurse if she honestly believed George and I were kidnappers so well disguised that even our own daughter didn’t realize we weren’t really her parents. But because I’m determined to try to be more peaceful and less confrontational now that I’m a grandmother, I didn’t. We obediently turned and headed back to the room, kissed everyone good-bye and told them we’d see them real soon.
So this, dear reader, ends the column I began last week. As for the two questions I haven’t yet addressed, here are the answers. As expected, the baby’s hair is dark, not red. And his name isn’t Faulkner or Poe. It’s not Ernest, Fitzgerald, Truman, or Wolfe. Apparently, his parents love great football just as much as they do great literature. And I’m glad. Because they have chosen the perfect name for my grandson.
Welcome to the world, Eli Ivey Cocanougher.
(October 14, 2012)