Last Tuesday a friend, currently living in Las Vegas, visited family in my old hometown. After comparing calendars, three old friends arranged for an afternoon and evening of food, fun and catching up. I planned to depart early enough to meet another friend for lunch before our rendezvous.
I left home not quite at dawn but soon after. That is not as bad as it sounds – dawn is late in November. I packed a small gym bag, planning to stay overnight and leave early the next morning.
The three-hour trip was uneventful except for some traffic through the city. First stop was lunch. Just as I pulled up to my friend’s house the cell phone rings. My niece, living in town, pregnant with her first and due November 20th, was at the hospital. They would keep me posted.
Immediately after hanging up, the phone rings again. Hub was on his way to the train station and had locked his keys – car and house keys – in the house. Luckily he had his briefcase with him. He could not reach the only other person in town with a house key. We had talked about putting a key somewhere around the outside of the house just in case this scenario played out, but had not gotten around to it.
Hub took the bus to the train station, the train to the city and continued to his evening appointment. He then had two choices, two directions – take the train home and hope to meet our key-holder to get into the house, or continue on to the old hometown and see the newest addition to our expanding family of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces, etc.
My friend and I enjoyed a wonderful two-hour lunch, caught up with family, friends and work and parted ways.
I picked up my Vegas connection. Unable to contact the baby-waiting contingent, we made a quick detour to the hospital. Mother and father-to-be, grandparents, aunt and cousin were in various stages of anxiety awaiting the new baby. I said hello, goodbye and good luck and moved on.
Friends for decades make up for time apart quickly. We chatted about family, friends, new lives in retirement and semi-retirement and travel. We attempted to solve the country’s problems, the problems of education (both were teachers), and assorted other dilemmas. We enjoyed dinner with wine, shared courses, and finally, reluctantly, parted ways.
During dinner hub called. He was going to catch the last train from the city, see the baby – still unborn – in the morning and we would drive home together. I would pick him up at the train station at midnight (12:09 a.m. to be exact).
Meanwhile the news from the hospital was unsettling. After hours of labor the doctor had decided a C-section was in the baby’s best interest. I decided to return to the hospital. My sister-in-law, mother of the soon-to-be new Mom, was now a basket case. She had been fine until the doctor said C-section.
The baby was finally born at 10:30 p.m. Both mother and baby boy were fine. After an hour of anxious waiting, Mom and baby were moved to a room permitting visitors. A newborn baby is a beautiful sight.
Meanwhile hub was finally about to board the train. Two minutes before boarding the dreaded sign went up – delay.
We made alternative plans for him to get to our temporary lodging that evening, or rather early that morning. First he was to call our brother-in-law, still up and about in the middle of the night. If unavailable he would try a cab. If both alternatives failed, he would call me. I left my phone next to the bed, ready to jump up (not really, more like grudgingly move) and drive to the station.
That was unnecessary. Hub arrived 2:00 a.m., although I cannot necessarily vouch for that. I was sleeping and never stirred.
The following morning we went to the hospital. Mom and baby were doing well. After getting an opportunity to hold the newborn (yet to be named), we finally headed home.
Friends and family. A Hallmark card for the holidays. Only this was the real thing.