Mama and Daddy got married on January first, 1950. I don’t remember it because I wasn’t born until December twentieth of that year, but I know Daddy was not happy - he had the flu. I guess he forgot to get his shot.
I wonder if he tried to get the wedding postponed. Probably not. Mama would not have put up with that!
I have two children who were born on January fourth. I’m not sure that I should call them children since they’ve been voting now for decades. Is there a better term for adult children than children? Caretakers? Reminderers?
I like the last one because every year I’m reminded that their choice of arrival time made me miss a tax deduction twice.
William kept his poor mother in labor for a week – ok, it was only eighteen hours but it seemed like a week to me. When he finally arrived, I was exhausted! What made it worse was that neither Lissa nor anyone else had had any sympathy for me.
We were living in Lexington at the time. I love Kentucky, but it can sure get cold up there. On the day we took William home, it was seventeen degrees below zero. Zero in Petersburg last week froze us to distraction, so compare that to negative seventeen.
Mama and Daddy brought Granny Collier to stay with us to help with the new baby. I had an outside thermometer you could see from the kitchen window. Granny wore a path in the floor from her chair the window checking every few minutes to see if the temp had changed. It stuck at minus seventeen for three days!
Granny called Mama in Petersburg to complain and was told that Daddy had to drive the tractor across seven inches of solid ice to feed the cows. The wind was so strong it blew him and the tractor sideways. Calling Mama gave Granny no relief.
Greer was born on January fourth after about a half hour of labor. Much easier on Daddy! William had been born at 7:14 and it was 7:00 when Greer started entering the world. I told the doctor that, if he’d hold up for fourteen minutes, we could have a neat coincidence. Lissa’s angry shout and Greer’s first scream hit me at the same time. Greer was born at straight up 7 pm.
It was a full moon and babies were dropping like cow pies. The doctor fled to another delivery while the nurse hurriedly cleaned and swaddled the baby. She asked me if I knew where the nursery was. I said yes and she shoved little Greer into my arms.
I had no idea where the nursery was. I vaguely thought it might be the place where you go look at babies. I was happily walking around the hospital, lost, when Mama found me. I was beaming as I introduced her to Greer.
I’ll never forget the look on Mama’s face. She knew that it was not acceptable for me to be walking around the hospital with a new baby and she was mentally digesting the name, Greer, but she was clearly delighted to see the beautiful, healthy angel in my arms. Happy Birthday, William and Greer! (BTW, this is your birthday present.)
Warren Gill has fifty plus years of professional involvement including a Ph.D. in Animal Science. Animals have been essential to his career and most of his hobbies and interests.