Columnist: “Dad, was I ever a star?”

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Rich Simpson

Contributing columnist

So there I was, seated in the waiting room at my wife’s gynecologist’s office. There must have been six to eight women seated in the room with me.

It is normal for women to be in the office of their gynecologist. It is somewhat normal for a man to be in such surroundings, as long as he is with his wife.

On this particular day I was not with my wife. I was seated alone. My wife was at home, sick.

My task, on that fateful day, was to go to the office of my wife’s gynecologist and obtain the results of her pregnancy test. I feel certain, on that day, I was the only male in the USA with that particular item on his “Things to Do” list!

Just when I was starting to feel grateful that none of the women in the waiting room had asked me “Is this your first,” a member of the staff came to the front desk window and called my name. It seemed to magnify the fact that I was a man, alone, with no sign of a female that knew me in sight.

I approached the window, nervously anticipating the test result.

In what seemed to be a much lower voice, compared to what seemed like a public address announcement that had summoned me a few seconds earlier, the woman said, “Mr. Simpson, it’s positive.”

When you get the unexpected news that your wife is expecting, you can’t help but think about all the things that come with having a baby, such as the costs that are involved, both in the present and the future.

That night, in the summer of 1985, I stood on my back deck and looked up in the sky.

I was simply trying to get used to the idea that we were going to have a third child.

The next thing I knew, I was locked in on this one particular star. I concentrated on that star for what seemed like five minutes! I guess I was seeking divine intervention. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I had a lot of questions and no answers.

Parker Simpson was born at 7:14 p.m. on the evening of May 7, 1986.

Earlier that day a heavy rain, with high winds, came down on Dekalb General Hospital in Decatur, Georgia.

A car in the hospital parking lot was struck by lightning and caught on fire.

On that same day, as we waited for our new arrival, my wife happened to look over at the table next to her bed. She spotted a bottle. The name of the manufacturer, of whatever was in the bottle, was Parker. That was also the name we had picked out for our baby.

Was all of the above part of the divine intervention that I had sought on that night on my back deck? A night that I had never mentioned to anyone, not even my wife.

One night, three or four years later, I had Parker on the counter in our bathroom. He was on his back with his head over the sink so I could wash his hair.

As he stared up at the ceiling, with a slight frown on his young face, he said “Dad, was I ever a star?”

“You mean like a rock star?” I asked.

“No, like a star up in the sky,” he said.

“What made you ask that?” I responded.

“I don’t know. I just wondered if I was ever a star up in the sky,” he replied.

I remember standing in the doorway to the bathroom with my mouth hanging open. For the very first time since that fateful night in the summer of 1985, I thought about standing on my back deck, concentrating on that one particular star. And just like that night, I didn’t have any answers, only questions.

Years later, as my wife and I watched our young man pick out his golf club and walk out on the fairway, I couldn’t help but think about how far we had all come since that night on the back deck.

I thank God for giving us three wonderful children. For the youngest one, the one that came along after we thought we were through having children, I have to thank my lucky star.

Rich Simpson is a former LaGrange resident and a LaGrange High graduate who worked 42 years in radio. He may be reached at