Eammon Byron Jones wasn’t born yesterday

So, Eammon Byron Jones will not be the first baby born in 2011 at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Nor was he born yesterday, Christmas Day. Or on the winter solstice. Three chances for a totally awesome birthday and he blew them all. Instead he arrived – all eight pounds, one ounce of him – on December 20.

Who else was born on December 20? Bob Morley. Not Bob Marley. That would have been cool. Nope, Bob Morley, an Australian actor you’ve never heard of. Peter Criss, the drummer for Kiss, was also born on that date. (Criss was the one who wore the Catman makeup.) Who else? Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, a Polish Prime Minister for a whopping eight and a half months – which isn’t even as long as Eammon Byron Jones was hanging around inside his mother, Krista Patterson Jones.

Wait, there’s one more big December 20 birthday: The guy who created Neopets.

Really, that’s as good as it gets. An obscure actor, a face-painting drummer for a 1970s glam band, and a prime minister who lasted a couple of seasons.

Krista and her husband, Andrew – Eammon’s parents – are neighbors of mine here in Lincoln. Diligent readers will recall that Krista is the culinary lunatic at the Lincoln General Store who, along with store owner Vaneasa Stearns, is responsible for some of the most delicious desserts anyone anywhere has ever eaten. Not hyperbole: Anyone. Anywhere. She’s spectacularly talented. People sometimes ask me why in the world I ride my bike up the Lincoln Gap. The answer? Biking the gap in mid-summer is the only way a person can work off the calories in a Krista Patterson Jones coconut cake. But, to quote my wife, a slice of that cake is worth every calorie.

This is, of course, another reason why the arrival of Eammon Byron Jones is going to have a profound effect on my life: It means Krista is not going to be at the store for a while because she is – oh, please – going to be the mother of a newborn. She is going to be home.

Fortunately, Vaneasa is a wonderful baker, too. Her peppermint brownies should be on the Food Network. Still, she expects she will have to ramp up her time in the Lincoln General Store test kitchen once folks here have finished off the chocolates and candy in their Christmas stockings.

The thing is, when I think of Krista, I often remember the toddler in a homemade Dalmatian costume who brought my wife and me Halloween treats years ago. The first time my wife and I met Krista, she was being carried in her mother’s arms one Halloween afternoon, going from house to house to give others cookies that her mother had baked. Other times I recall Krista’s and Andrew’s absolutely beautiful wedding on a farm on the Lincoln Gap, precisely where the road turns to dirt, and the majestic view of the valleys and the hills in the distance. It was a September Saturday. The leaves were just starting to turn.

Now Krista is 26. And a mom.

To be honest, I’m actually pleased that Eammon arrived on December 20. It meant that he and his mom and dad were home yesterday for Christmas. It meant that Krista was no longer feeling like the Hindenburg.

Moreover, based on the first photos of Eammon, the boy’s a keeper. He’s a handsome lad, with none of that scary, newborn, E.T. face going on.

And so perhaps it’s perfect that he was born on December 20. I have no doubt that he will have his parents’ generosity of spirit and infectious good cheer, and – years from now – people can say they were born on Eammon Byron Jones’s birthday.

Big congrats to the new mom and dad. And welcome to the world, Eammon.


This column originally ran in the Burlington Free Press on December 26, 2010.


Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of nineteen books, including his forthcoming novel, The Sleepwalker. His other novels include the New York Times bestsellers Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, The Guest Room, and The Double Bind.