33 Years of Independence

Thirty three years ago today, my mom and dad were debating whether it was a good idea to go to the First Annual Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic. It was too hot, they decided, and my mom had a backache and was nine months pregnant. So they decided to skip the picnic and go to Brackenridge hospital and have a baby instead.

And I was born. Delivered by Dr. Bud Dryden, who was the mayor at the moment. Really he was the mayor pro-tem, but the mayor was out of town, so if you're not into specifics, I was delivered in the Capital of Texas on the Fourth of July by the mayor. Dr. Dryden was a medical school friend of my grandfather and uncles, a one-time mayoral candidate, long-time city council member and even longer-time community doctor. The emergency room at Brack is named for him, and the only thing he was more famous for than caring for Austin's poor was his gruff manner.

My parents had a bad car wreck and while my mom lay in a coma, Dr. Dryden noticed that the very tip of my mom's ear had been sheared off. "Dammit, Jim," he said to my dad, "I could have sewed that back on if you'd brought it in." My mom was fairly newly pregnant with me at the time of the wreck, and though she recovered and everything appeared to be okay, she still had a subdural hemotoma that Dr. Dryden was worried labor would disturb: they'd planned a C-section. So when my mom arrived at the hospital in pretty advanced labor, his response was, "Well, goddammit, Diane!"

I don't know the specifics of how they got me out (and neither does my mom, thanks to whatever good drugs they gave you in 1973 — and I don't mean the kind at the picnic), but the hematoma stayed where it was and I had all my fingers and toes. I am certainly getting some of the details of my birth wrong, and I am sure my mother will correct me in the comments section of this entry, but that's the basic outline as I know it.

Jason just distracted me from this post with a question about gestalt. I am not sure I understand what gestalt is in general or mine is in particular, but Willie Nelson is surely part of it. Willie Nelson and Bud Dryden, inextricable pieces of the pattern of elements started 33 years ago today.