P.G. or not to be?

Published 6:26 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

The image of the stork winging its way to our house with my baby brother cradled in a blue blanket and hanging from its beak is crystal clear in my memory.

I didn’t see the stork when he arrived with my baby brother. I didn’t even know I was getting a baby brother.

I was just having fun spending the hot July afternoon at my grandmother’s house. We had eaten watermelon and made mud pies and Mommie had washed us off with the garden hose. We had put on fresh clothes and were playing on the back porch when Daddy came walking down the hill.

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“You better come on home,” Daddy said. “The stork’s been and brought you a baby brother.”

I knew all about the stork bringing babies. But I didn’t know anything about the stork coming to my house. I sure hadn’t asked for a baby brother. I wasn’t sure I wanted one. But everybody else was clapping and Daddy was grinning so I ran up the hill to see what the stork had brought.

Mama was lying up in the bed with what the stork had brought.

“This is your baby brother,” she said like it was something I had been wanting for a long time. I had not.

Everybody was making a fuss over my baby brother so I went outside and rode my bicycle around and around the house until it got dark. Mama said if I took a bath I could hold my baby brother on my lap. I didn’t want to take a bath or hold my baby brother.

My grandmother was going to sit up all night and watch my baby brother so the cat wouldn’t come in the window and suck his breath away.

I wanted to be in on that so I sat up all night with her and my baby brother. The cat never came. My grandmother sang lullabies and I got to liking my baby brother.

What got me thinking about the stork was the billboard on South Brundidge Street in Troy –the big, bold one brandishing a bare-bellied pregnant woman.

My, how times have changed. Not too many years ago, women who were “P.G.” shopped at the Ringling Brothers tent sales for maternity fashions. Children thought the stork brought babies or their mamas found them in hollow logs or in baskets along the creek bank.

But today, little is kept from children. They know about babies and where they come from and probably how they get there. So, perhaps a billboard with a bare-bellied pregnant woman is just a sign of the times and folks aren’t offended at the sight of such.

Maybe I am stuck back in the 1950s but, if you ask me, the billboard’s in extremely poor taste and, as my granny would say, “It just ort not to be there.”

And, amen to that.