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Yes, I remember it well.  


     Ah, yes. I remember it well.  Sitting unsteadily on a slightly tipsy, bolted-to-the-floor swivel stool in White Plains, New York, over forty years ago.  I was at the lunchroom counter of the long-since-departed St. Agnes Hospital, which stood ominously on a bluff overlooking General Foods corporate headquarters and the major connecting road between the Tappan Zee Bridge and New England Thruway.  I was on my sixth cup of coffee.

     I was keeping my mind busy, working a Times crossword puzzle, which I routinely completed in those days on the 50-minute train commute to my Madison Avenue advertising job.  The difference was that on this particular day, September 17th, my writing hand was having trouble receiving both the correct word puzzle entries and motor skill management directives at the same time.  I had put my pen through the little numbered boxes at least three different times (probably once for each two cups of coffee!).  The difference was that on this particular day, September 17th, I was not riding a train; I was in the process of becoming a father.

     I remember explaining my plight to the counter waitress, who had to turn away to stuff a dishtowel in her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.  I guess the half dozen coffees, cigars sticking out of my pocket, and lightning-struck look on my face gave me away. 

     Now that it was too late to do anything about the impending delerium of having a baby, I could only swallow hard and make pen-holes in my crossword . . . and pray, which I actually seriously considered until my brother arrived to pull up the stool next to me, and proceeded to glug some evil spirits from a pocket flask into my cup #6 and his cup #1.  It’s an old Irish-Armenian-American thing, he said.  I needed it, he said.  I took a sip.  Both stools seemed to get more shaky (not the one Lil Bro sat astride): the one I sat on, and the one inside me!

     After what felt like 3 1/2 years, the doctor appeared behind me.  I tried to stand, but could only manage to jitter and stutter . . . Wwwwwha sssgoin gone, Doc?  Congratulations, Dad!  It’s a girl!  Mother and baby are both fine and you can go see them now if you like!  Did someone hit me behind the knees with a sledgehammer?  Whew!  Hey, Lil Bro, hold me up here, will you?  Jeeze!  A girl!  A GIRL!!  I’m a father!  Gotta see ’em now.  NOW!  OH, what a happy day!!  Welcome to the world, Haley!

     And no one could have ever predicted what a genuinely spectacular human being Haley has turned out to be.  Besides being the perfect Mother to my three super grandchildren, she is truly “the apple of my eye” and I couldn’t be more proud than I am of her right now to also count her as my friend.  I love you, Bug.  Happy Birthday!  halalpiar         


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