A name can be something special or mundane sometimes, depending on its origin. Beyond letters and words, names carry a plethora of information and memories within them. Sometimes in life just hearing a name can bring about a flood of emotion and recollections that can be as strong as the day they were taken in.
My son is named after two really special people in my life. The effect they had on me and my physical and mental abilities was all the inspiration I needed to name him after them. It’s pretty neat how a name gives a place or thing meaning beyond its simple appearance. Names can also be very important in finding your way or identifying your location. In all, names are really important to nearly every facet of life, yet at times mean less than nothing. While a name may elicit a reaction from one, it may bring about the exact opposite for another. Again, life experience has a lot to do with such differing opinions and can easily impact one’s perception.
To start with, our community lost some young members this past week. While many didn’t personally know them, they felt the pain. To the family members, their names mean more than the simple representations of their loved ones. While to others, the name may not mean too much or even matter, not in a negative, but in a positive, supportive and loving way. A community united will grieve together with such a tragic loss. That’s what small towns like ours should be known for and typically are like. We love and care for the people that surround us even if we don’t know them by name. Think about those people in your life you see almost daily, yet don’t know who they are. It could be a neighbor down the road, the mail man, someone where you get breakfast every morning or the person you see every day while waiting with your child at the bus stop. You exchange smiles, conversation and waves daily but couldn’t tell someone who they are. You can call them a friend yet can’t look them up to call them in the phone book because you don’t know their name. This is the small town way of life and we are all saddened and feel pain for the friends and family of those who passed way too early.
Once someone important in your life passes all you want to do is honor their name and remember them through it. Some may get a tattoo, a few will get or make memorial plaques and some, like me, will name a pet or new member of the family after them. My dog, Chester, was named after a good friend of mine who passed away, named Chet Spencer. He was an avid outdoorsman and we spent many days together afield. His loss was sudden and tragic and remains fresh on my mind due to the loss of my pup with his namesake. I think about him a lot and miss his joy, laughter and friendship. I can only hope they are together waiting for me on the other side.
My son, like Chester, is named after a couple special people in my life. His first name, Zebedee, comes from a very important person to me, named David Zebedee Lewis. He was such an inspiration to me, and the most amazing teacher when it comes to making things. Many knew him through the custom handmade knives that he made and in the end taught me to make and gave me the business. I carry on his trade to this day and make knives to order in the manor and quality of which I’m sure he would approve. Zeb had two lines he would give me from time to time about making knives and the most common were, “Knives only have one rule, they cut,” and “Don’t put my name on no ugly knife.” I honor him through every handmade piece, some taking well over 50 hours to create, by cutting myself at least once on each knife (accidentally, of course), but reinforces his line every time, and by making only show-quality pieces that embellish the ZEB stamp of approval.
The second person my son is named after is Daniel Nobel. He is still a major inspiration in my life, although I don’t get to see him much anymore. We met in a cornfield many years ago looking for arrowheads. He became a teacher and source of information pertaining to my projects in experimental archaeology. Rational beyond belief and so full of love, care and knowledge, there was no way I wasn’t going to include him. I lived with Dan for a while until my medical issues got so bad that I couldn’t take care of myself let alone helping take care of meals and daily chores. He lives with a wonderful family now who takes such excellent care of him, that I never have worried once about his wellbeing. I keep out of their hair as it’s their home too and I remember what it was like having to drop everything while people stopped by. All I can say is I am truly grateful to him for all the help and education he passed on to me and also to them for picking up my slack when I went for surgery to repair my insides.
Could you imagine if maps had no names? You would have a super hard time finding your way around. Try asking for directions and using places and terms the person doesn’t understand and you are sure to get nowhere but lost. I name all of my hunting stand sites and mark them in a map. This helps people find them and later associate the look of the site with a name. This is pretty important to someone who has never stepped foot on your hunting grounds. This past week I was working at our camp and partially contributed to naming it. I saw a hummingbird and decided to name the camp after it, then my friend Randy added “hollow” to the name and it was just right. I really like the sound of Hummingbird Hollow.
Good wishes and remember a name can be much deeper or shallower than you first believe.