Thursday, March 25, 2010

He Came In Exactly Nine Months

The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Annunciation today, when Mary got a surprise visitor: the angel Gabriel appeared and said, “Guess what?”

Exactly nine months to the day later, Jesus appeared among us. Not all of us make it quite that exact; I was a borderline preemie and even Mom’s doc told her she was not delivering. Her reply: “I’m the mother, I’ve had a child before and I’m delivering.” A guy doctor should not mess with an experienced mother.

I was supposed to be named for the saint of the day, but when I poked my head out, looked around and asked if tea was ready, the church calendar noted it was some quite worthy African guy with a strange name. Nothing against Africans, nothing against saints and nothing against African saints. But “Hermenigild” doesn’t cut it.

Nothing wrong with naming your child “Jesus,” by the way. Half of the Mexican kids have first names you mostly hear when someone hits his thumb with a hammer. We don’t name our kids that way in this culture. Of course, our children aren’t always born exactly nine months after the cigarette is smoked.

I was doing radio in a town where kids’ sex ed was remarkably lacking. One day, I asked a resident why the wedding announcements were in the newspaper several months late. “That’s because people can count,” she said. Ah, yes; the first one can come any time … all the rest take nine months.


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