“When I was handed the bundle of brown baby & white cotton blankets for the first time, I was like, oy, I can’t believe this — how could this happen? I get engaged, the girl gets knocked up & suddenly we’re married & we’ve got this kid! This is NOT what I expected. He doesn’t even look like me. And he’s so small & fragile. What’s he gonna be when he grows up — some skinny little geek scholar who won’t be able to swing a hammer, pound a nail, lift a wooden board? And now, here we are, stuck in the middle of this nowhere town — we got no family here, no AAA lodgings. And that dadgum star in the sky has been keeping me awake every single freakin’ night. I’ve got dust up my nose & straw stuck in my clothes. And then the wife says I have to be careful that my big calloused hands don’t scratch the boy’s face. Oy. And then people were starting to talk when she first started to show — ‘they ain’t even married yet & she’s got a bun in the oven.’ My name is mud when we get back. Is this mishegoss or what?”
The Rabbi nodded slowly. “Yeh, Joe, this a pickle you’re in, but you’re married now & you gotta make the best of it. You gotta admit, he’s a cute little guy. What’re you going to name him?”
“Well, I was thinking Samuel or Joel — something traditional. But the wife says it’s gotta be Emmanuel. What kind of verkochte name is that?”
Just that moment, a lilting voice called out from the nearby barn. “Joseph, who are you talking to? I need to feed the baby.”
“Just the Rabbi, dear, just the Rabbi.”
“Are you holding his head up properly? The Rabbi doesn’t have a cold, does he?”
“No, Mary, everything’s fine — come & take him.”
Joe rolled his eyes at the Rabbi. “I’m tied to this kid for 18 years now. This is not how my life was supposed to go down.”
Just then, the young girl Mary came out & gingerly took the baby from Joe’s hands. “Oh, look at all this straw,” she groaned. She fussed with the boy’s hair & walked back to the barn.
The Rabbi patted Joe’s hand. “Joe, stop complaining. You done good. That girl is a beauty.”
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