It was 1947. Wilson and Vema were on their way to the hospital, and they were worried. It was April and the baby was not due until June. They wondered if this meant that this baby would die too. They had been married for seven years, and their first baby, a son, had died at birth.
A baby girl was born weighing only three pounds and a few ounces. Masonite Hospital did not have an incubator for premature babies. The doctors sent an ambulance to the state capital to get an incubator for the endangered baby. While waiting for an incubator, the doctors had the baby wrapped in cotton, and placed in a shoe box with a light bulb to keep her warm . Then everyone waited. God’s hand was certainly on her life. The medical staff decided not to follow usual practices and give her oxygen. Years later it was discovered that oxygen given to premature infants could cause blindness and sometimes brain damage.
Dr. Holder went out to tell Wilson that he had a baby girl. But he told the nurses, “If that baby lives, I’ll eat my hat”.
The baby stayed in the hospital for six weeks until she weighed five pounds. She had become the darling of the hospital, and everyone marveled that she had lived.
She was welcomed home by very happy parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. When her youngest uncle, Howard, placed his class ring on her arm, it was like a bracelet.
Wilson had to go out and search the county for milch goats because his little girl was allergic to cow’s milk. He decided he might as well add goats to his farm. Oh, but those goats proved to be some kind of a problem! Needless to say, taking care of such a tiny, sensitive baby was hard, but Vema did a good job.
The little girl grew and people said to her quite often, “you’re no bigger than a washin’ of soap. If a strong wind comes, it’ll blow you away”. No strong wind came to blow her away because God had a plan for her life, and a Mother’s prayer for a preservative.
You see, I know this story is true. Because Vema told it to me many times. Vema was my mother. I am that little girl.
If you’ve ever wondered how I can sometimes be as stubborn as a goat, now you know. And I never did find out if Dr. Holder ate his hat.

Marianna W. Albritton
April 15, 2020

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