Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This is a True Story

I received the March 2009 issue of Pro Bull Rider magazine yesterday, which includes a nice story about Ryan Dirteater. Of course, it made me very sad because Ryan has since broken his femur and will be lucky to get back in action any time soon. But the call-out on the cover, "The Name's Dirteater, Get Used to It," reminded me of a story my brother told me years ago.

After I was grown and gone from home, my family lived in a town close to the Oklahoma border, and a lot of Cherokee folk lived in the little communities over in the edge of Oklahoma. My brother made friends with one of his classmates, who was Cherokee and whose last name was "Glory."

So one day my brother, who would ask the devil himself pretty much any question that came into his head, and would enjoy the conversation up till the moment the devil got tired of it and vaporized his inquisitor, asked his friend how he came by that last name. The friend replied that when his grandfather enlisted in the military, the recruiter asked him what his last name was, and Grandfather replied with the English translation of his Cherokee name: "Dog."

The recruiter probably sputtered a little when he informed Grandfather that "Dog" was not an proper name for an American soldier. Grandfather replied, "Okay, put my name down as 'Glory,' then."

Descendants of that man call still themselves by the last name he chose for himself on that day. But if you go out to the little cemetery where Grandfather is buried, on his headstone you'll find the name "Dog."

7 comments:

shelia said...

Thanks for that. I enjoy stories about the where and how names came to be.
I do not enjoy my name, Shelia. NO ONE can pronounce it. No, it's not Sheila and it's not pronounced the same.
My sister is Martha Kaye and she was named for our grandmother. My brother is Roy Byrum, Jr. Named, of course, after our father.
Martha even got a coveted "e" on the end of Kaye and a cute little nickname, Marci.
My brother got a nickname, too, Roby (Ro from Roy, and by from Byrum, but don't think that was easy for him as a kid. Roby spells Row-Bee, but my parents call him Robbie.
Yes, I did get a good middle name: Ann, but I didn't get an "e" on the end.
The first time I moved away from my hometown, I decided to go by my middle name. I started with 2 other young women and yes, they were both Anns, so instead of changing to Annie, I stuck with a name that my parents made up.

Jaye said...

My grandmama was named Mary, and my granddaddy was named Jay, so they named me Mary Jaynelle as I was their first grandchild. I've been called Jaye since the day I was born. I've always wished they would've formally named me Mary Jaye.

My sister, Bonnie, got her name because my favorite song when she was born was "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."

Stockyard Queen said...

Here's one for you: My father, who was a professional, for God's sake, declined to give me a middle name because, and I quote, "She'll just get married and never use it!"

And people wonder why I'm such a devout feminist.

shannon said...

Thanks for that story. I like hearing how people got their names. How I got the name Shannon is very simple: My dad was at home watching tv when a commercial for those Fisher Price telephones and the little girl in the commercial "answered" it and said "Hello, my name is Shannon.". My dad thought she was adorable, so he called my mom at work and said "If we have a girl, can we call her Shannon?" To which my mom replied "Ok, but can this conversation wait until I'm actually pregnant?" :)

My son's name is Dalton. My husband was tired of playing the "name the baby" game before I was even pregnant, so, when I asked about boy names, he said "Dalton--from the character in the movie Roadhouse" thinking I would hate it and get the point that he didn't want to talk about it. Instead, I said "I like it...". When I got pregnant and found out he was a boy, we stuck with that and had to decide on a middle name. Finally, I said "You know what? Patrick Swayze played the character. I like Patrick Swayze, I like the name Patrick and Dalton Patrick has a nice ring to it, don't you think?" He agreed. So, our son's name is Dalton Patrick. I have a feeling that if our second had been a boy, he'd have been Samuel Wade--Wade for a character in the same movie and Samuel for the actor who played him--Sam Elliot.

Shelia, how do you pronounce your name? *blushing*

Black Boots said...

Now I'm curious too, Shelia!

My name is Nancy. If that doesn't tag you as being a child of the late 50's, nothing will. I've always wanted it to be something more exotic and thrilling (like blackboots? haha) but I'm stuck. Most of my friends growing up called me by my last name, McKee (NO relation!!!) or weirdly, Kee. My daugther's friends call her by her initials. Go figure.

William said...

The story is that when I was born my grandparents voted for the name "Heinrich" for me but my dad, solid South Dakota stock, said no. To the extent that names have power, I wonder to this day what I'd have ended up like if I'd grown up a Heinrich.

shelia said...

My name is pronounced, She-lee-AH with the accent on the ah. After telling this to most people they call me, Sha-LEE-ah.
I just took a quiz on Facebook to find out what my parents should have named me: Brooke! I like it, especially the "e" but b/c everyone can pronounce it.

I had a boyfriend once with a difficult last name. So, when he made reservations he used the name "Davis". Once we went to a fancy restaurant and there was a book of matches in the ashtray on the table (Yes, it was a long time ago!) The book was black and the name "Mr. Davis" was engraved in gold on it!