By Garland Davis
These days when a man’s wife is ready to deliver a baby, the new father is included in the entire process. In addition to laying the keel, he has to go to classes to learn to become her birth coach, you know, hold her hand tell her how to breath while the baby is sliding down the ways and being launched while she subjects him to the vilest language and threats of never getting any pussy ever again.
Now, back in the day, you know, the 1960s the prospective father was considered a pervert if he even suggested being in the delivery room. Most civilian hospitals barely provided a waiting room somewhere in the vicinity of the maternity rooms. The Navy Hospital in Yokosuka had a couple of chairs in the hallway where they could fret and wait.
I will not tell you his name. Some of you may know him and I know one will recognize him from this story. His wife went into labor before sunrise. His ship gave him the day off. He was sitting in the hall, when the thought crossed his mind that he had special liberty and was wasting it sitting in the hospital when he could be in the Animal Locker (Stag Bar) at the Petty Officer’s Club.
He talked with the nurse, and she told him it looked as if it would be a few hours and if he left the hospital to leave a number where he could be reached. He gave her the number of the Club and drove there.
He wrapped himself around a few rum and cokes and shot some Shuffles as the afternoon wasted away. Shipmates came and went as the day dragged into evening with no word from the hospital. Along about 2200, the nurse finally called.
She said, “Petty Officer (This is where I’ll keep his name secret) your wife delivered a healthy boy. Mother and son are well. Your wife told us to ask you the child’s name so we can complete the paperwork.”
He thought for a minute, stared at the drink in his hand and said, “Call him Ron Rico.”