Steaming into the final days of law school. Papers due. Finals coming. The job demanded extra hours, too.
I had been up well before dawn for some fool reason — job interview? We were closing down the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, and I didn’t have a job lined up. Full day at the office, the race through D.C. traffic at rush hour to get to class, three hours of lecture (probably punctuated with that dark, French roast coffee from Au Bon Pain), the train ride and late night walk home, writing the paper and fighting the printer of the crude computer we rented just for the month. It had been more than 20 hours since I’d seen bed.
It was all I could do to stay awake to get up the stairs and into bed. “1:30 a.m.” the clock radio glowed. Three and a half hours to sleep, maybe. I remembered it was April 1, and I smiled as I wondered what odd stories might pop up on the news wires in the morning.
“Get up. We have to go to the hospital!” Kathryn said. I looked at the clock again. 1:31 a.m.
I was concerned, but I was sleepy, too. I asked why.
“My water broke. We have to go.” I felt her side of the bed, and it was wet. I thought it was pretty sneaky of her to go so far as to keep a pan of water close by to make the joke. Just as I got to bed, she had to get up. Riiight!
I kept waiting for the “April Fool!” She’d planned this one well, but I didn’t think it was very funny. I wanted rest.
I turned over to go back to sleep.
“Do I have to drive myself?” Kathryn yelled from the bathroom. We were in Cheverly, Maryland, and the George Washington University Hospital was across town. I jolted awake, and smiled that there would be no significant traffic on the trip. It wasn’t a joke. I hoped I could stay awake for the drive.
Just about 13 hours of terrifying (for a first-time dad, not to mention a first-time mom) labor later, Kenny was born. Give him credit: He was born so that we got him cleaned up, got Kathryn comfortable, and unshaven and unshowered I could make it to my next class across the street from the hospital (to turn in work and say why I was missing the class).
21 years ago today, I well remember what I was doing. Happy birthday, Kenny!
Notice, Dear Reader, the great attention and homage to history demonstrated in the snapshot above (from last year, really): The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame t-shirt, the denims, the Gibson Les Paul, the “Abbey Road” cover poster on the wall, the topographic map of a favorite hike (near Woodstock, New York, with the Camp Rising Sun crew), the guitar strap his father used in the late 1960s, and the vintage light fixture with just one bulb burning.
Best April Fool’s ever.