Mon, 29 Jun 1998 13:38:10 -0400
Everyone please forgive the cross-posting. And the seemingly unrelated topic.
But its important today. To me, for me to share, if none of you can ever use
On the other hand - Doug, you may want to add this to your Philmont list if
you get the chance.
Today is June 29th. In 1994 I found myself at the Training Center on this day.
I had planned a full trek for two crews starting on the first day Philmont
opened and was scheduled to take a course at PTC for the third period, which
gave me a couple of days overlap living out of any tent I picked at PTC.
After all the work was done, the fees paid, my wife found out she was
pregnant. It would be kid #3 and the first 2 were c-sections and she was
supposed to deliver after we got back, so we didn't panic. A new doctor moved
up the date - I started calling PTC to see if there was any way to get a tent
where they could land a helicopter if there was an emergency, but we were
still going. Next doctor looked at the latest ultrasound and decided baby
would come while we were on the trail. My mom made plans to visit Philmont
with my kids that year instead, since my wife had said "You planned it, you
did all the work, all the training, go. My mother will sit in on the delivery"
when I offered to bail out. (Hint to any other male offered the same
situation: DON'T BELIEVE HER!)
So we went. The teasing was furious - the kid would have to be named after
whatever campsite we were in that day (that ended when she actually looked at
a Philmont map); He'd have to be named Philip Montgomery so we could call him
Phil Mont; Finally we thought we had her sold on Christopher Carson and hoped
no one would catch on until we called him Kit (Note: She caught on).
We left on the train and hit the trail. Every day I got more and more nervous.
After I got kicked by a horse (a different story) the bubble gum cigars left
the pack for the crew, we just assumed she'd had the kid. So'd the real cigars
for the adults (and backcountry staff, if anyone wants to take them a treat).
The clergy there for the summer were overjoyed, they hardly ever get to give
out good news in the backcountry, and even arranged to meet us at Tooth for a
religious service our last day (not an easy thing to do and I appreciate it
more each time I think of it).
But they arrived the last day without any good news to deliver. They never did
get the news before I did. We came off the trail and #1 son was on the phone
immediately to see where things stood. No answer for hours and when I gave up
to do laundry he kept on until he got her. No delivery and now we're talking
about being late.
I'd eat every morning at PTC then call home. Monday, nothing new. Tuesday,
nothing new. Wednesday...No answer. I tried the hospital.
I asked if my wife had been admitted. On hearing my name the very first
receptionist asks "Are you the one in Cimmarron, New Mexico?" Yes, transfer me
to maternity, please". Next is a nurse. "Are you the one...?" Yes, transfer me
to delivery, please. Next is another nurse. "Are you..." started out and then
I heard a man's voice "Switch it in here". Next thing I know I'm talking to my
wife as Christopher August was born, C-section, during second breakfast at
PTC, on this date. He had the cord wrapped around him and tied in an overhand
knot so my mother-in-law said "Another Boy Scout".
I got home at the end of the course and they met us when we got home to
Chicago. My wife LOVES Philmont. She'd told me "no more trips until every kid
is out of diapers", but she already has started to give on that one. She HATES
the Philmont Hymn. Why? I used it for a lullaby for not only #3 but later for
#4. Little did I know Chris didn't hear it, but still was somehow comforted
when I held him and sang it.
Chris, for whatever reasons, could hear when he was born but couldn't within a
year after. Which, if anyone at PTC reads this, is why he was such a pain when
he was there and he was 2 and 3 (and celebrated his birthdays with you) - and
yes, I have a four year old with two Philmont visits under his, uh, waistband.
At first we just thought he would talk later than our others. Finally #1 son
came home from summer camp and I made him stand behind Chris and clap his
hands - a repeat of my experiment showing no reaction to loud sounds.
We finally, 15 months ago, got a surgeon who operated, cleared out the inner
ear, which appeared undamaged but packed with infections, put in tubes to keep
them clear and he could hear again. We knew in recovery when he turned his
head to see what the sound was when the ice machine chunked out another load.
We knew even better as he sat watching a tape of Garfield and when Jon spoke
he got up to the TV and put his ear against where his mouth was on the TV
screen to see if he could hear him.
A few months later, after much testing and retesting, he was admitted to a
special pre-school. He still doesn't talk much. The recognition of school
busses at the school across the street (Bus, Bus, Bus!) or waving at planes as
they leave O'Hare (used to say Airplane) or the latest "Truck". And he's
smarter than we ever guessed - he picks up skills and has learned to clean up
after himself at home and school and can tell any objects color and realizes
how to hit the ball on the T-ball stand, just not which direction to face when
he swings. Just still getting used to talking and big crowds bother him (NELC
should be very interesting, let alone a visit to DC in summertime - maybe we
can keep him interested in things enough).
Now if any of you lasted this long, here's the fun part. Son #1 wrote a
program called "Christopher's Favorite Things" which he plays on the computer
continually, occasionally saying the name of something along with the computer
(which speaks in dad's voice). If anyone wants to write and tell Christopher
"Happy Birthday" dad will sit in the basement this evening and read every note
to him. Its better than TV, everyone else uses the computers so he thinks he
should be able to, and you'll probably do more for his language development
than a year's worth of the pre-school (which is great, but they work on small,
continually growing goals, and dad gets a little worried sometimes as we get
closer to 5 and kindergarten starting).
Outside of that, if his story is any use to any of you in that he is trying
and growing and learning even though he hardly speaks, feel free to edit it
and use it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City