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Sense and nonsense: An Apple here, a Fork there, and how about a Fox or River?

September 6, 2012

by Lynda Hollenbeck

The famous bard raised the question "What's in a name?"
Shakespeare's response to his own query in "Romeo and Juliet" was "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
But would it really?
When you give a child a name, you're stuck with it for life unless you go through a court proceeding or decide to change it on your own without the benefit of the legal system and that could get you into trouble on occasion.
Names tend to be cyclical, as my own would indicate.
As a sorority member at the University of Arkansas, my sisters routinely called me Parnell. That was my family name.
All of the Kappas weren't addressed by what would ultimately turn into our maiden names, but those of us in a certain grouping were. These were the Lindas and the Lyndas because in that house of around 75, there were seven of us with that name.
That's a lot of shouts of "Linda, you've got a phone call on line 2," or "Lynda, your date's here." Hence the family name was the moniker of choice for this group.
It's interesting to study names. I always wonder what led to someone's choice.
A few years ago an employee here introduced some names to us. He had several sons, three of whom were named River, Fox and North. (I don't know what happened to South.)
Those are perfectly acceptable names, but they were new to most of us.
Gwyneth Paltrow turned a few heads when she named her daughter Apple.
Nothing wrong with that, but it certainly is different. At the time I suggested that should she have more daughters, they could be named Grape or Plum or maybe Kumquat. Or then she could cross over to vegetables, like Cauliflower. The possibilities are endless.
How about Tomato, Squash or perhaps Cucumber?
Moving over to the Jackson family, there was Michael's daughter Blanket. I can't give any support to that, other than to say, what about Pillow and Sham? (But there could be another interpretation for Sham, so maybe that's not such a good one.)
There probably are other linen choices that would work — like Quilt or Comforter.
This calls to mind one of my late husband's favorite sermon illustrations. A little boy who had attended a worship service without his parents was asked about the sermon that day.
"Oh, the preacher talked about 'sending the quilts,'" the little boy said.
"Are you sure?" his mother queried. The boy stuck to his story.
Curious, the woman later approached the minister to clear up the mystery.
He explained that his Scriptural illustration for the sermon had been "I am sending you the comforter."
It's all in how you hear it. But I digress.
As I was perusing some names, I came up with another plan. Names could be based on kitchen utensils.
Just think about it. There could be Spatula Ann or Jimmy Whisk Corn (and I don't care, really).
There are many possibilities, like maybe Colander (Coli for short) or Tongs or Trivet. Then we could open the flatware drawer and go for Knife, Fork and Spoon, leading ultimately to Spork.
If we were to run out of choices in the kitchen, we could move over to the garden area and select maybe Shovel, Pick or Rake.
There's one obvious yard tool I'd have to leave alone.
You'll have to figure out that one on your own.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.
lyndahol@yahoo.com.

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