The stork’s visit

The stork’s visit

The stork’s visit

By LEON YOUNGBLOOD

(The young father who related this story affirmed its truthfulness; however, it’s probably a good idea to suspend disbelief it you’re reading it.)

I was tending business at my coffee-maker when a loud, incessant scratching started at the front door.  I took a few seconds to press the “power” button, the coffee-maker gave its usual water-logged gurgle, and started brewing. I walked briskly to the door—opened it—and there stood a stork!  The Stork, in fact!  Standing at least 4-feet tall, the bird held the proverbial “bundle of Joy” by his craw.  He croaked out, “Hlo!  Ear abee!”

BRIAR CIRCLE

I could not understand what he was saying, but I had the general idea.  I was unconcerned.  He was obviously at the wrong address.  I said, “I’m sorry, I did not understand what you said.”

“HLO! LIVHURRY! EAR ABEE!”—but speaking louder did make him clearer.  A bit exasperated, he shook his head, which I imagine was something like a carnival ride for his passenger.  He tried again, and said, “Thawry.  An oo hol thith uh momen, plith?”

I somehow managed to understand this.  “Certainly,” I said, and took the swaddled contents he was holding in his beak.

The bird’s speech impediment was caused by his package, for he said clearly, “Oh, thank you, sir!  I was saying, ‘Hello! Delivery! Here’s a baby!’  Say, do I smell coffee?  I would very much appreciate a cup.”

“Sure, come in,” I said, stepping back from the doorway.  Regarding the bundle, I asked, “Where do you want me to put this?

“Oh, just toss it anywhere.  You know, of course, the best babies come by stork.”

“I’m sure they do,” I said.  “How do you like your coffee?”

He took it black with sugar.  I gave it to him in an extra-large cup, and he stuck his beak in it and took a noisy sip.  As I fixed my coffee the way I take it, I started to discuss the matter at hand.  I said, “Now, what’s this about a baby?”

“And what a fine baby it is, too!  I’m proud to be the Stork to deliver it to you!  Yessir, the best babies always come by Stork.”

“Yes, but thought the Stork method had been changed?”

I do not know exactly how he smiled, but the bird smiled.  “You mean by sex?  Yes, sex was a wonderful innovation, and it greatly lightened the workload for us Storks.  But in some cases, sir—like yours, for instance—Storks are still needed.”

“But my friend, doubtless you are at the wrong address and have the wrong people.  My wife and I certainly are not in the market for any babies!  Now the Thorntons, across the street—“

The Stork waved a wing through the air.  “The Thorntons?!  P’shaw!  A dozen in a decade, the rate they’re going.  No, sir, this delivery is for you.  Here, look at the invoice.”

I was handed, or winged, or whatever, a couple of sheets of paper.  It had my and my wife’s names on it, and our address; but there was something wrong.  “Look,” I protested.  I’ve been married 10 years, but this says I am a bachelor!”

“And so you are.  The bachelor mentality saturates every fragment of your being.  You’re a husband.  The fact that you’re a married bachelor is a mere, insignificant technicality.”

It seemed necessary to be blunt.  “Now Mister Stork, I’m not against babies.  I even like babies—from a distance.  But we aren’t taking in any babies here today!  We’re totally unprepared, too.  My wife is coming home soon with the ribeye steaks and Merlot I want her to make for dinner, and that’s nothing you’d poke down a baby!”

“You’ll just have to get something,” the Stork said.  “It shouldn’t be difficult.”

His tenacity was a little irritating.  “Maybe we could have stork for dinner, instead.  Could the baby eat that?  I bet it tastes like chicken.”

Things could have gotten out of hand; but just then, my wife came in, saying, “Honey, I thought I’d make quiche instead,” and my heart skipped a beat.  Not because of the quiche, of course, but if she saw the baby, I would be outnumbered by the pro-baby party.  Naturally, she saw the wrapped baby, and asked excitedly, “Honey, what’s this?”

I advised Mister Stork, “You need to leave, now.  With the baby.”

My wife had the baby in her arms, and was spattering the gibberish some people spatter when they talk to babies.  The Stork tried to cut a deal: “Sir, try it for 30 days, and I’ll bring you another model if you don’t like it.  Just 30 days, sir, and—”

“Honey, it’s a girl!”

This was enough.  “Not even 1 day!” I said quickly to the Stork.

My wife looked at me imploringly.  “Honeeeey!” was all she said.

Well—I knew that look and tone of voice.  It will suffice to say it would have been hazardous to go against the wishes of the woman.  I looked the stork in the eyes, and said, “You be back here in 30 days.”

“Thank you, sir!  A fine couple!” he said as he went to the door, opened it and flew away.

I admit, the baby is as cute and sweet as she can be.  When she looks at things—anything—she studies it, whether it’s the cat, your face, the baby toys piled up around her, it is all new to her, and you wonder what she is thinking.  When my wife makes funny faces at her and talks “baby talk”, the resulting smiles and giggles can soften the hardest hearts.  She is cute and amusing, but mostly, she is a baby.  She soils a prodigious amount of laundry; when she’s unhappy, her howls and cries rival emergency sirens for volume; every activity has to be planned according to her wants, needs and schedule; I’ve become a guinea pig to taste-test assorted baby foods that can stun a man by their blandness; I barely remember what a good night’s sleep is.

But I may as well get used to it.  It has been 33 days, now.  I do not believe that darn Stork is coming back.


Get more with our daily newsletter. Subscribe and never miss one of our stories.

author avatar
Craig Hall
Publisher, writer, photographer and teacher.
Back To Top