Lee Pitts: Baby talk
“We don’t have any social life,” complained my wife the other day, “because we are always having to stay home to take care of some sick animal. The last time that we had friends over for dinner was in 1976,” she said.
As usual, my wife was exaggerating. It’s not like we don’t have any social life as I distinctively remember having a couple come over to our house sometime during the 1980’s. The couple’s names were Walter and Cookie and as I recall, my wife got mad at me for inviting them over for dinner… in about half an hour.
Walter and Cookie were two city friends we had recently met and we thought they might have potential as friends. But something happened, we don’t know what, as they never made contact ever again after just that one dinner.
As I remember we were all enjoying leftover meat loaf when we heard mournful crying from the back porch. “What was that?” asked our dinner guests in unison.
“That’s our baby,” I proudly replied.
“Oh, we didn’t know you had a baby,” said Cookie excitedly.
“Oh, yeah. We’ve already had four this year. The one crying is named Spats. He had some diarrhea so we shoved a few pills down him and let him stay in a cardboard box on the back porch.”
“Your baby sleeps in a box on the back porch?” Walter asked in disbelief.
“Of course. It’s too cold to have to go outside to feed it every four hours.”
“But is that very sanitary?” asked Cookie.
“That’s why we keep him on the back porch,” I replied. “We wouldn’t want him getting the rest of the house dirty now would we?” I was trying to show these city folks that I could be civilized if I had to.
“Well, if you ever need a baby-sitter I would be glad to help out,” offered Cookie.
“That’s not really necessary. We just lock the door and leave him with the dog,” I said as I prepared the baby’s bottle. It was one of those big plastic bottles that holds about a gallon, stands a foot tall and has a three inch nipple on it.
“Your baby certainly does eat a lot,” said Walter staring at the bottle in disbelief.
“I’ll say. We buy the milk replacer in 50 pound sacks down at the feed store so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.”
When I left the dining room to give Spats his bottle Cookie asked my wife, “We assume then that you are not feeding the baby yourself?”
“Are you kidding? I can hardly lift him,” said my wife.
“Well, who does little Spats look like, his mommy or daddy?” asked Walter. “He’s got his mother’s rump but he doesn’t have much hair on the top of his head, just like his father,” answered my wife.
For some reason Walter and Cookie were staring at my retreating hairline as I returned. No sooner had I sat down than Spats was balling again. “I suppose the dog took the bottle away from him again,” I said. “These babies sure are a lot of trouble. I suppose we could have sold him when he got sick but we could only get a hundred bucks for him, which was the going rate at the time.”
For some reason our new city friends were inching towards the door. “It’s been nice having dinner with you but we really must be going.” said Walter.
“But you haven’t even finished your meat loaf,” I yelled to them as they left a trail of smoking rubber in the driveway.
Like I said, for some unknown reason our friends never did reciprocate by having us over for dinner. It must have been something I said, because the meat loaf wasn’t THAT bad.