The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

A special delivery that reminds us of the season


Newspapers, even in staid little villages such as Goldendale, get lots of calls alerting them to really important stories that they should get on right away. And every once in a while, that actually turns out to be true.

Take the one that came in Tuesday morning, around 7 a.m. “This is a real Christmas story,” the caller said. She was right. The story was about a special delivery. And Christmas is all about special delivery.

Turns out a young pregnant woman named Samantha Patton was at Mid Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles Monday to get an update on when to expect her baby to arrive. They told her to go home; she most likely had another week to go. So she and her significant other, Christopher Williams of Goldendale, left the hospital and headed for home.

On the way, headed down I-84, the baby rendered a second opinion on the estimated time of delivery. Overruling the MCMC doctors, she decided she wanted out. Right then.

Her parents-to-be started looking for a place to pull the car over. They took the Celilo exit. There in the car just off a major interstate highway, a tiny girl was born. On her birth certificate, in the place-of-birth space, will it say, “Four-door sedan on an off ramp”? Probably only in the indelible memory of parents and


A text to the father from The Sentinel asking about the experience brought this response: “We are all proud. The imprint of this birth and all that ties us together as a family will always be fresh. Oh what a night!” The Sentinel also received an invitation to visit with the new family once things have settled down, and we will be very pleased to do so.

This is not the first time in modern times that a birth has taken place in an unusual location, of course, and it will not be the last. Nonetheless we tend to marvel at such news, conditioned as we are to birth being a controlled event occurring in well-ordered circumstances. But we are creatures of contemporary comforts. Not all that long ago, even within living memory of some people, birth was tenuous and could happen anywhere. For that matter, there are places in the world today where birth is still a very uncontrolled and uncertain event.

And the person who called Tuesday morning to alert us of the special delivery of her granddaughter was quite right: this is a Christmas story. The occasion allows us to revisit that most special delivery two millennia ago for whom the season is named. That Child too was born on a journey, in a very unexpected manner, on an off ramp of life that led to Life Everlasting.


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