Dear Henley Walker Fairchild,
This is the first letter you will have ever received from your Papa Huck, but it won’t be the last. I hope you don’t mind that I have chosen to share this first one with the world — or at least that part of the world that resides in the North Georgia Piedmont and has the good sense to read my column every week. Just think about what they miss if they don’t!
I hope you can pronounce Papa Huck without too much of a problem. My friend David Chandley suggests that I just go by Papa until you get phonics down really, really well. He may have a point. We’ll see. I was going to have you call me Poo-Paw, but Coach Richt already snagged that name.
You first saw the light of day on Aug. 6, 2014 at 6:20 in the morning and share a birthday with the great Athens, Ga., celebrity Jimmy “Sir James of Cash” Hansford. That’s a lucky thing because I am sure he will send you something nice on your birthday every year.
You were born on the same day that the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima — just 69 years ago. The bomb was named “Little Boy” and you are a little boy yourself, weighing in at 7 pounds and 6 ounces. It took you a while to get here, too. Your precious mama was in labor for 30 hours or so and finally the doctor delivered you by C-section. Don’t feel bad about that. Your mama got here the exact same way. So did Julius Caesar, so they say, and he grew up to rule the world. Now we aren’t interested in having you rule the world, but I am fairly certain that you will be wearing the pants — or diapers — in our family for a while and will be calling most of the shots.
All four of your grandparents sat up all night waiting for you to arrive and we had a grand time together, talking about all the ways that we intend to spoil you. You will probably be the most read to and sang to and held onto baby in the history of infancy. In fact, we will probably fight over who gets the opportunity to hold you and spoil you the most.
You are a lucky little boy because you have been born into a family that will love you and teach you about God and make sure that you have every opportunity in life. I see a lot of books in your future and a lot of trips to Walt Disney World. Forgive us ahead of time for dressing you up in cute little seersucker suits and preppy shirts and shorts, and we sure hope you look good in red and black because about 75 percent of your outfits are red and black.
No pressure, Henley, but 18 years from now you will be getting your application together to attend the University of Georgia, hallowed be thy name. I know you will be as smart as a whip and early admission will be a given. Of course, you don’t have to go to Georgia. If you don’t want to be a Bulldog you can choose any college you can afford to pay for.
You are a little over a day old as I write this and you don’t do a lot of stuff yet. You eat and sleep and poop and pee and cry. Five things. But you do all of those things so well! And you really don’t cry very much at all. You are just about the best baby I have ever seen and certainly the prettiest one that I have seen — at least in the past 22 years.
They tell me you have to stay here at the hospital for three days to help your mama rest up from her surgery. I can’t wait for you to see your beautiful new home. You have your own little room with a blue motif and lots of sailboats and books everywhere. You will love books. We really aren’t going to give you a choice on that one. I can’t wait for you to start visiting my house so I can read you books about Arthur the Aardvark and Pippi Longstocking and the Uncle Remus stories about Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Bear. You are going to love how I do Brer Bear and Brer Rabbit.
I have to tell you that you have been born into a tumultuous world. The paper for Aug. 6 is full of stories about war between Hamas and Israel and pending war between Russia and the Ukraine and the ongoing war in Afghanistan and other places. There is an Ebola epidemic in Africa and they are treating some of the folks at Emory Hospital — right down the road from where you were born, at Northside. But you don’t need to worry about those things because we are going to keep you safe and happy.
As I sit here and hold you and stare at your perfect features and your cute little face, for hours at a time, I have been convicted on one thing, Henley Walker Fairchild. Some folks may have evolved from apes, but you, my precious grandson, were perfectly created by a loving God.