Sunday, June 28, 2009

State Memories Project: Montana

My oldest nephew, Matthew, was born on 10/4/92, three months premature and at a pound and 11 ounces, if memory serves. He was a member of the first generation to survive at that level of prematurity since they had just invented the drug that enhances lung development, which they gave my sister in the few critical days of bed rest before the emergency C-section. It obviously was touch-and-go for a while as to Matt’s survival, but he made it. So when I was invited up for Matt’s baptism--to serve as his godfather--over my Spring Break of 1993, it was even more joyous than most baptisms.

My parents picked me up at the Great Falls airport and drove me up to my sister and brother-in-law’s place in East Glacier Park (my brother-in-law was paying off his medical school debt by working on the nearby Blackfeet reservation). As a baptism gift, I had written a poem for Matt, and my mom asked me to read it as my dad drove. I did, and Mom cried. It surprised me a whole lot that my words had that kind of power. It started a gorgeous few days in Montana feeling immense joy with family as sunshine reflected off the snow.

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