Friday, October 7, 2011

The Naming of the Two

Sorry, Mr. Shakespeare, but I couldn't resist this play on words.  I'm sure you understand, having reached the pinnacle of punship in those masterful comedies you penned all those years ago.  Bear with me here.  I have a story of my own to tell.

"The Two" refers to a pair of newly acquired donkeys in dire need of appropriate monikers.  When said beasts, one white and one gray, took up residence on our farm a couple weeks ago, Pa-pa announced that the official dubbing was to be done by Sooby and Pooh.  My initial reaction was relief.  I had already begun to worry that their names would be something like "Whitey" and "Silver."

It is probably a good thing that Pa-pa and I were not Adam and Eve.  It is the sad truth that, in our thirty-five years together, Pa-pa and I have never seen eye to eye on the fine art of naming our various critters.  It would seem that the old saying about opposites attracting is certainly true in our case.  Pa-pa lives in a literal world, while I tend to inhabit the figurative.  He is "Hee-Haw" and I am "Saturday Night Live."  He is a belly laugh and I am a Mona Lisa smile.

Nothing makes this difference more pronounced than when a new animal joins our menagerie.  For instance, during our years together we have had occasion to name a number of dogs.  I once named our black lab/cocker spaniel mix "Pavlov," which I considered extremely clever and Pa-pa considered ridiculous.  His choice for another dog?  "Red."  (Red, you see, was a red heeler.  You get the idea.)

I once named an orphan calf born on a drizzly spring morning "April Rain."  Beautiful, I thought, even poetic.  Pa-pa's bovine name choices, to mention a few, have included the likes of "Goldie," "Spotty," "Blackie," and "Ring Nose." (The one exception was a bull he named "Dinger," which I considered mildly humorous--but as I say, that was the exception and not the rule.)

When the donkeys first arrived, I will admit, my mind was instantly awash in possibilities.  Because they are females with sweet, friendly dispositions, I went immediately to the "girlfriends" genre of name pairs.  I thought of "Lucy" and "Ethel," but the image of the red hair was troublesome.  I thought of "Laverne" and "Shirley," but I couldn't imagine a hee-haw with a Milwaukee accent.  What I absolutely adored, however, was "Thelma" and "Louise."  (If you saw her, I'm sure you would agree that the white one even looks like a Thelma.)

As luck would have it, the kids were excited about naming the donkeys and took the responsibility very seriously.  To make a long story short, Sooby named the white one "Maisie" and Pooh named the gray one "Rosie."  Not bad names, I suppose, and much more interesting than "Whitey" and "Silver."

As we prepared to leave the farm, I gave a quick departing scratch to the huge, furry ears of Thel--er--Maisie.  I tried not to let my disappointment show.  After all, the kids got such a kick out of picking the names themselves.

But, I couldn't help thinking to myself, if, down the road, Maisie and Rosie try to jump a 1966 Thunderbird convertible over the ravine that runs through the south forty, I won't be able to keep from smirking.  And I won't be able to avoid the superior air that will certainly dominate my demeanor when I say to Pa-pa, "See?  I told you so."


  1. You are the best writer! I laughed out loud at Goldie," "Spotty," "Blackie," and "Ring Nose." MEN! I do need to tell you that you should be careful. We have had "Forest and Alice" and "Annie and Lynnie". Our kids love to name our animals after people from church. Our next set of donkeys could be "Gary and Debbie"...

  2. I do love pets' names that come from literature, music and movies, but yeah, some people just don't get it!

  3. I really loved imagining Thelma and Louise the donkeys driving off in the T-bird! Much like the Foster Farms chicken commercials of the chickens driving to California!

  4. Oh I loved it as always! You always make me laugh and I find myself totally involved when I read your stories. They are the best! Thanks for linking with me :)