When I was a child I overheard my mother and grandmother visiting about several women in our little town expecting a baby the same month. Granny said it was the result of that new drinking fountain in the church foyer. There was something contagious in that water.
For weeks I watched folks drink out of that fountain and worried about them. There were some really old women and some giggly young girls drinking from that fountain. It just plain scared me to death to think of any of them with a brand new baby.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the pastor was so adamant about putting installing the water fountain if it was going to cause a population explosion. Then one Sunday he preached about God telling Noah to go forth and multiply. It began to make a little bit of sense to me then. It all had to do with water.
I hadn’t thought about that in years until my granddaughter, Issy, decided she was having a baby brother. It has always been difficult for Isabella to grasp that simple word -- the one that begins with N and ends with O, even as a child and she is now a college student. She still doesn’t have a firm handle on the word, especially when the professors tell her she can’t do something.
So as “Ma” in Golden Girls used to say, “Picture this…Davis, Oklahoma, sixteen years ago..."
Granddaughter Issy was only four years old and wanted a baby brother.
Our daughter, Amy, had to think up a plausible excuse that a four year old could understand so Issy was promptly informed that a baby brother was an impossibility since Amy was too old to have children.
The next week Issy picked out a book at the library for Amy to read to her. It was about two sisters, one in middle school and one in third grade, and there was going to be another baby in the house. Huh-oh! My daughter’s excuse fell by the wayside. There was no way she was too old to produce Issy a baby brother, since neither Issy nor her big sister were in middle school yet. So Issy commenced to debating with her mother about that word, no.
Then one of their family friends, who was the same age as Issy’s mother, stopped by to tell Amy that she expecting a baby. Issy took one look at the lady, who was only a couple of months away from her due date and began to think about the whole thing. If Cindy’s kids could have a baby in their house, then it stood to reason, Issy could have one in her house. She just had to find out what she needed to do to make her mother look like Cindy.
That very night they had grilled hamburgers and French fries for supper ... about the same time my daughter decided to start a new diet.,
“Momma, why aren’t you eating French fries?” Issy refused to eat her fries because if her mother was passing them up then it was a sure fire thing that something was wrong with them.
“Because they’ll make me fat,” Amy said.
“Really, French fries will really make you fat?” Issy’s little blue eyes glittered.
“Yes, they will,” Amy said.
Issy had the rest of the equation. Two plus two, multiplied by ten French fries equals one baby brother. Her mother wasn’t too old because the mother in the book could still have a baby when she her daughter was in the third grade and Issy was just in pre-kindergarten. Her mother’s friend was pretty round so evidently a lady had to get fat to get a baby. And French fries did the trick.
The next time they went out to the restaurant, Issy ordered a hamburger and French fries. “Momma, eat these French fries,” she tried to poke them down Amy’s throat.
“I told you I’m not eating those things,” Amy declared. “They’re so fattening it’s terrible.”
“Even more than a chocolate malt or cookies or cake?” Issy asked.
“Yes, they are,” Amy answered.
Issy had her answer carved in stone forever amen. It was French fries. If she could just get her mother to eat ten ... who knows where she got that number ... then she would get fat and Issy would get a baby brother out of the deal.
“Well, then I want you to eat them,” Issy said. “Eat all of mine. I want you to get really fat.”
“Isabella Ruth, I’m not eating your fries. Why do you want me to get fat anyway?” Amy’s brain kicked into overtime and smelled a rat.
Issy rolled her eyes and said in a nice loud voice so everyone in the whole establishment could hear, “Because if you eat 10 French fries, then you’ll get fat. And if you get fat then you can have me a baby brother, so just eat the French fries and I can have a baby brother.”
Times had changed. When I was her age little girls got siblings when their mothers drank from water coolers in the church foyer. In Issy’s day French fries produced the same results. I’m wondering what new fangled idea this new generation of pre-schoolers can come up with to produce baby brothers.
Now for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say: Issy wound up getting two baby sisters, one when she was seven, another when she was twelve so maybe French fries make baby girls instead of brothers!!