Saturday, February 2, 2013

"No Baby Yet!"

  With the arrival of our first grandchild becoming imminent, we've gotten a number of phone calls and emails from friends who are concerned that he was already born and we'd forgotten to let them know. Not surprisingly, Chuck and Rebecca have been receiving similar calls and messages.
   Some thirty-two years ago, when it was Chuck's own arrival we were awaiting, Laurie and I were getting calls every day. One series, from the folks at the school where Laurie worked, were particularly amusing. Each day at about the same time, the phone would ring and it would be a different one of the teachers "just calling to say hi." It took us a few days till we realized that they were using the snow chain -- the list of teachers in the order they would call one another in case school was closed because of inclement weather -- to determine whose turn it was to call.
   The due date for Chuck was May 16th, with a ten-day bracket on either side. Once the 16th passed, phones calls started to increase, with each caller absolutely certain we'd forgotten to call and share the happy news. (My mother was one of them!)
   By the 19th, we would just pick up the phone and say, "No baby yet!" More than once, the caller said, "Okay, just checking" and hang up.
   Chuck finally arrived late in the evening of the 26th, taking it to the limit of that ten-day window. Armed with a pocketful of change, these being the days long before cell phones, I made my way to a phone booth in the hospital lobby and started calling people, a few of whom were puzzled as to why I was calling so late at night.
   I took the easy way out with the teachers, by the way; I called the first one on the snow chain and said, "You take it from here."

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