The Name Game

I like naming things but the ones for inanimate objects don’t always stick. When I first brought home a dark blue Equinox in 2013, I started to call the car, the Blue Ox. Other than being blue, big and sturdy, I wasn’t really feeling the name, so there was no follow through.

On the other hand, the gray Dynasty I drove for many years eventually gained the name of The Old Gray Mare. That car was dependable and loved.

Years later Arnie and I bought a Buick Rendezvous to celebrate having paid off our house mortgage. This was the most expensive car we ever bought, and it was equipped with all sorts of special amenities. I began to call it my Yuppie Yacht because I felt like a young, rich and successful person when driving it. That name stuck.

I was recently watching a HGTV show where a woman had her kitchen remodeled. The designer did something I thought was risky. Without consulting the homeowner, she ordered a bright pink gas stove. Fortunately, the homeowner was delighted and gave the appliance an elegant, Victorian name.

Naming the stove struck a chord in me since I had recently bought a new gas range. I asked my daughter, “What would be a good name for my new stove?”

Tammie quickly responded, “Name it Calcifer after the fire demon in the movie, Howl’s Moving Castle.”

Frowning, I admitted, “I don’t think I’d remember that. How about Angus, with Gas as its nick name?”

That name is probably not going to stick because I’m not really feeling it.

My most important purchase of 2023 so far is a computer. The programs in my old computer were so out of date I was having trouble getting anything printed.  My new amazing toy is a Lenovo and I’ve already started to think of it as Lenny. This name will probably stick. The electronic device is like a responsive, friendly presence in my office.  

Animal names that I’ve given usually stick because some animals actually come when called. Dogs I have had were named Dopey, Moxie, and Penny.

Cats don’t usually give their human parents the curtesy of acknowledging being called like dogs. My cats, Flicker, Barry, Oskar and Louie, were more responsive to the sound of kitty kibble being poured into their food dishes.

Naming animals we eat is another matter. Perhaps because I have grown up on a farm, knowing the name of my beef has never bothered me. Butchering animals was a fact of life. My nephews who didn’t grow up on the farm were grossed out by the following scenario.  

The brown, juicy roast beef on my plate looked tender and fell to pieces as I pushed my fork into it. The flavor and texture of the meat made me smile and enthuse, “Yum! This is good! Who are we eating?”

            Billy, my brother who ran the family farm, answered with pride, “This is Bromsey.”

            I nodded, remembering Bromsey from a visit to the barn last year. She was the result of breeding between a brahman cow and a Holstein. The large, gentle beast had over-sized ears and a very slight brahman hump. Not all the cows on our farm were given names, but we still knew who we were eating. I fondly remember number 34. She was also delicious and tender.

            When Arnie and I farmed, we named only two cows. Annabelle, a white cow that kicked with the power and precision of a piston, and an older, gentler cow whom we loved. As a young cow, she had been named Daisy, but as the years passed, she came to be known as Grandma.

We disliked Annabelle, but never butchered her. If we had, her meat probably would have been as tough as dried cow hide. We did eat Grandma, however. She fell and broke her hip one day. The old bovine didn’t appear to be in pain, but she wasn’t able to get back on her feet. Arnie and I needed meat for the family, so we decided to have her entirely made into hamburger except for the tender loin.

I’m certain my nephews would have had a major problem having to eat the cow named Grandma.


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