Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Your name is what?
So, it’s Christmas morning and now that I have put the big one down for a nap, I am completing the pantry cleanse by taking everything that is fattening or sugar-filled and creating desserts to share with co-workers tomorrow. It’s for our own good. The Dad is diabetic and I am determined to remain “not fat”, so yay for the hospital staff; they’ll think I am selfless and thinking of others. ‘Tis the season, y’all.
My absolute favorite holiday candy is haystacks. I use my mother’s recipe and use potato sticks instead of chow mein noodles. They are buttery goodness and taste ridiculously yummy. Of course, the specific ingredients list necessitated a trip to Little Guatemala as no other store had even heard of potato sticks. I like the fact that Wal-Mart does not change their inventory dependent upon geography with the notable exception of TJ Blackburn syrup and Snapple. It has been my experience that you can’t find Blackburn Syrup, the only decent pancake syrup on the market, outside of the South and you cannot find Snapple inside of the South.
When I was spooning the haystacks onto the tin foil (because I’m Southern, he said in response to the query of the reason he said tin instead of aluminum), I thought about who named these and other candies and how important it is, apparently, that a cook not only be creative in the kitchen but in the naming of said desserts. Haystacks look persactly like little haystacks. It’s a perfect name. Now, I’m not sure if they were named that by the creator (little c – I’ve not speaking of Jesus at this particular junction) or if there was a clever family member that said, “Ooh, those look like little haystacks” and the name was born.
I have to think that those sorts of things cannot be left up to chance; names are important. If it was left up to many cooks, we’d have an entire section of the cookbook called “tiny nom-noms or hunks of gooey goodness”. And while I don’t necessarily think that the first First Lady actually invented her namesake treat, I like the regal nature of a Martha Washington. And divinity fudge calls to mind religious intercession as the sugar content is enough to cause Type II diabetes from simply walking slowly past the decorative candy dish on the dessert table at your Grandmother’s house. In fact, one of my back teeth just turned black from typing that sentence.
And speaking of names, mi padre asked me, just this morning, if I thought Terryll was a typical Southern name. For those who just read that sentence, Terryll is pronounced like Errol. As in Errol Flynn, for those over 50. For those under 40, go on IMDB and educate yourselves. My response was, “Number one, I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical southern name and, number two, if there is, it is most assuredly not Terryll.”
And what is a typical southern name? My best friend from high school (Hey, Paige!) sometimes sends me our hometown newspaper so I can see the interesting names of the populace of the bustling metropolis of Tylertown, MS. Tykevius, Jakevius, Idaya, Todrick, Antisha, Catavious, Zaman, Traquarius, Latavius, Dartavian, Amari, Arkale and Kendrioun; and those are all boys. It sounds like roll call in the Roman Senate.
And you don’t even have to leave my family for some of those people with resoundingly Southern labels. We have the men: Hubert, Searcy, Sherman, Thurman, Thornton, the aforementioned Terryll, Odis, Lynch and the James-doubles (James Allen, James Oscar, James Melvin). There are also quite a few with names that are initials which don’t stand for anything like RC, AV and JD. On the women’s side we have those with individual monikers Waynette, Perrilyn, Arilla and Ercel and the doubly good Myrna Rae, Jimmie Sue, Lucy Jane, Rhoda Lee and Billie Evelyn. And that’s not counting nicknames. There are Uncles (Doup, Fats, T, Jun) and Aunts (Lise, Cel, Waynie, Rilla) as well as friends and acquaintances Catfish, Cooter, Johnny Boy, Tater, Dirty Red and Squeaky. I also know both a male and a female JoJo, but we are not related; a fate which saddens me a little bit, although more color in my family tree I do not need, n’est ce pas?
If you’ve read my book (A Gone Pecan, available through AuthorHouse.com or Amazon) you are familiar with interestingly named people such as Marcetta, Deltrenda, Crespo and Billie Shannon. Now that you know more about my background, it’s easier to see that these names are that big of a stretch.
Would a name have to be doubled like Bobby Merle or Willie Nell to be considered Southern? Mind you, those sound like supporting players on Andy Griffith. Thelma Lou, anyone? At least Southerners aren't as bad as some celebrities with children named Pilot, Apple, Moses, Moon, Inspektor and Kal-el. Of course, it depends on your point of view whether those are preferable to Hilma Fay, Spur or Shadynasty (pronounced Sha-dynasty). At least little Apple will have a big bank account.
I feel sure that most children in the next generation will be named Bella or Jacob (Lord help us all), but don’t some of the newest names sounds like they are from specific TV channels like Soap Network (Fallon, Channing) or Nat Geo (Savannah, Dakota). There are an alarming number of female Kendalls and Kinleys these days and more than a handful of Dylans and Brandons. I blame 90210 for those last two. There are also those amongst us that have delved into the categories of special characters and random capitalizations like De’Quan, She’Angelique, RaShad and LaMiracle. If your child requires assistance to spell their name upon entering fifth grade, you might have gone too far out of your way to be unique.
So, you tell me, what is the typical Southern name? I would continue our discussion but I am, in the words of my dear sainted mother, “…too ashamed to look at you because I have done nothing but lay around and eat the live long day” and I am tired, y’all. And with that I’ll bid you a Merry Christmas. I’d offer to send you some haystacks but somebody ate them all. Daddy doesn’t like them, so I don’t know who the culprit might be. Maybe Lulu got opposable thumbs for Christmas. Yes, that sounds reasonable.
And that is all I'm saying.