Monday, April 23, 2012

Ken Neal Letter to Patrick Neal

July 20, 2011

Dear Patrick:

I didn’t forget your birthday but I suspect the card with the $250,000 check will arrive a bit after the 23rd.
Someday, when you are in old age, you will realize there is no one around who remembers when you were born and the circumstances surrounding that birth. 
My folks told me many times of my own birth, the details of which I will skip here, so I thought it might be nice to have this little missive describing your birth as only a doting father can do it.
On the afternoon of what turned out to be the big day, your mom and I drove to Bristow to pick up some tools that a friend was loaning to me to assist in building the house at the corner of Courtney and Mission. 
As we neared Bristow, she began to have slight pains but thought we could get back to Sapulpa for your birth. See how narrowly you missed being saddled with Bristow, Okla., on your birth certificate? Come to think of it, Bristow is easier to pronounce than Sapulpa.
At any rate, we checked her into the old Bartlett Memorial Hospital (now St. John) at about 6 p.m.
Your mother was in labor with you about six hours, about the same as with Kathy 13 years previously. Perhaps this is why you and Kathy are so star-crossed!
You were delivered by Dr. Robert White who coincidently was our neighbor when we first moved to Sapulpa in 1965.
We called Dr. White “giggles” because of his slightly manic, girlish laughter. He was a good doctor even if a rabid Republican. He saved my life with his quick diagnosis when I came down with spinal meningitis in 1972.
He came out of the delivery room to tell me I had a boy, born at exactly midnight. I quickly made you a full day younger by deciding on July 23. (I don’t remember you thanking me for that, by the way.)
Shortly, a nurse came down the hall with you in her arms.
I will never forget how you looked. Whereas most new born babies have their eyes closed, you were wide-eyed and looking around, as if to say, “who the hell brought me into this burg?”
I called my mother and father even though it was nearly 1 a.m. saying, “He’s here.” They were happy, if sleepy, to have a grandson to go with two teen granddaughters.
Sure enough, you greatly resemble your grandfather Neal in appearance and mannerisms, so much that it brings me to tears at times.
There’s a lot more to tell about you, but I will never forget the night of your birth. I was extremely proud of you and I have been extremely proud of you all your life.
I hope you read this someday when you are older than I am now and be comforted that although nobody remembers your birth that your old man never forgot it.

I love you, son.

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