Saturday, February 28, 2009

Be Mindful ... The "Peaches"


Grand-Daddy had a way of cutting off a conversation that irritates, long past his passing, to this day. He had a stored arsenal of maxims and adages designed to state a point, and deliver a truism … while disallowing any response, and negating any discussion. I always found it a practice that struck me as disrespectful of whomever was the target of his comment. And, I am convinced, even now, that this was his, perhaps unconscious (but nonetheless insensitive), intent. He did enjoy having the “last word.” Unfortunately … those damn quips still linger on in my memory. And I was reminded of one of them when I asked Mom a question, some while back.


I had been curious (a mild but persisting curiosity that had lingered and pestered for many years) about the source of my name. Mindful that my younger brother (both my brothers, and my sister, are, in fact, all younger) was named for two biblical characters of some note … I wondered how my middle name was elected. It seemed reasonable to draw the conclusion that my first name was in honor of my Dad’s having John as his first name. But I knew of no ‘Michael’ for whom I might have been labeled. So, with all of the explanation that I just recounted to you, I asked Mom.

I was intrigued by her little snicker in response to my interrogatory. Having the understanding that she has always been something of a “Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes” with a background of extreme conservative religious piety and “proper” upbringing … I could not imagine why a snicker would be generated by a question that, I assumed, would produce some noble, and/or righteous, response. “Well … before you ‘came along,’ I read one of those drug-store romance novels that you never want anyone to know that you read.” she began. (I began to feel that this was NOT going in any direction that I either intended … or welcomed!) She continued, “The ‘Leading Character’ was a romantic and dashing man whose name was ‘Juan Miguel.’” (I became very uncomfortable!) “I decided that when I had a son, I would name him John Michael, after that dashing and passionate character.” she concluded. I was aghast!

“I always thought that because Dad’s first name was John, you named me after him.” She smiled … “That worked out well … and I never had to tell him or anyone else the truth.” she confessed. “OK! … if this Character was of such an impressive consequence that you named your First-Born Son after him … what is the name of the Book … so that I can get it from the library and see what the heritage of my name is?” I followed. “Oh, no!” she responded. “I have no idea what the book was! It was some cheap throw-away thing that I forgot about long ago.”

“So … you are telling me that I was named after some sleazy, paper-back romance-novel, Gigolo, who you found in a completely forgettable piece of literary Trash ... that you can’t even remember!”

“Well … I had never thought about it THAT way. But yes! … I guess that’s so.”

So, My Dear Reader, I found myself recalling one of Grand-Daddy’s lousy sayings …

“If you don’t want my peaches … don’t shake my tree!”


Serves me right for asking the question!

What a Bummer!!

[great BIG ol' silly grin]





IMAGE: “August Peach Tree” Moise Paintings

21 comments:

aims said...

Even though it wasn't what you were hoping for - there is the flip side JM.

Your mother saw you as that dashing incredible romantic leading character.

I have to agree.

And for the man with the best 'button' lines ever - Horatio on CSI Miami.

willow said...

Oh, that's funny!! I'll guess I'll just have to call you Juan. ;^)

Thank you for sharing the touching story about Joni and her friend.

Clarissa Alverson said...

I can totally relate to your frustration with your granddad’s conversation-stifling aphorisms, since my mother is like that too. That’s one family tradition that I’ve tried very hard not to pass on. But, as for your name, it sounds like your brothers got names weighed down with the solid, enduring pillars of tradition, whereas you got a warm summer breeze, throw away your cares, run barefoot on the beach kind of name. Perhaps it’s just the universe’s way of giving you a hint…

John-Michael said...

You, My Darling Aims, have generated a happy grin, of outlandish proportion, across my face! You are such a Sweetheart! And I do, indeed, love the beejeebies out of You! now I just HAVE to watch CSI to find out what it all means! [smile])

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

Have I reminded You, recently, that I love You, My Darling Friend, Willow? Well ... I DO!! And happily, too!

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

Sweet, rich, and lovely, is the content of your shared Spirit, Dear Clarissa Alverson. I gratefully embrace your visit with me as I celebrate all that you have offered through your site.

Lovingly ...

Annette said...

I had to giggle some when I read this on reaction to your mom's response to your question, but she thought this man was charming and and a romantic and she liked this character and she knew her first born son would be a romantic kind of guy...I think all children want to know how Mom & Dad came their name, I picked both of our children's name, my husband had no choice in it!! =) and when I asked my mom about my name, I opened a can of worms, but I know my real father named me, while my mother was in recovery, and she had no choice in it, not a name she wanted for me, and I love what your Grandfather said about the peach tree...Thanks for another great post Juan Miguel =)
Hugs
Annette
p.s.
Thanks for stopping by

John-Michael said...

Well, Annette, My Lovely Friend, I can freely confess that You bear the name of a GREAT BIG crush of my early youth (hats off, and a slight bow, if you please) ... Annette Joanne Funicello! That's right! The most memorable of the Mouseketeers. How she did set my Heart aflutter!

And I can tell you that I smile a smile of warm welcome, each time that Your name graces this spot. (That's a fact!) I do appreciate all that You share, of Who You are. You, Dear One, make my world a happier, and more comfortable Place, for my Spirit to dwell in. Bless You.

Lovingly ...

Suza said...

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."

Anonymous said...

I love your name John-Michael & now of course I find it even more fascinating (wicked grin). Obviously Juan Miguel took your mothers breathe away. Thats very sweet when you think about it. I was almost Celeste.....now there is a name to attempt to live up to. :) However we got our names it doesn't matter. Thought was put into them. At least you aren't a boy named Sue!!

The Clever Pup said...

John-Michael,

The words you leave on my blog tickle and delight me. Thanks.

Steve Miller has a different take on your granddad's aphorism, "really like your peaches, gonna shake your tree"

John-Michael said...

I am smiling in complete enjoyment (and appreciation) of your kind words, My Darling Suza. I thank You!

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

Mom did, indeed, shake me a bit! Her revelation was of an aspect of her persona that she had managed to keep well cloaked prior to that moment. And I must confess that the discovery was quite fun! I delight in your finding this shared bit of my life somewhat "fascinating" My Dear Anonymous Friend. And I thank you for joining in fun! [smile]

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

Oh! My Lovely Clever Pup Friend, I am having the best time with your Gift of the Steve Miller Band's rendition of "The Joker" (thanks to UTube, I am listening to it now! [smile]). How delightful of You to remind me! Thank You!

Lovingly ...

lime said...

ah but querido juan miguel the fruit that was borne of that distressing conversation is a story that makes everyone giggle along with you and your mom.

John-Michael said...

And happy I am, to be the instigator of any and all bouts of giggles, My Precious Lime. You, of course (owing to our not-frequent-enough phone chats), know how fraught with foibles I am. (I never have been all that caught up in that "pride" thingy.)

Lovin' Ya ...

nitebyrd said...

I think that's a wonderful story of how you got your name. It's romantic!

John-Michael said...

I did have a good time relating this bit of Family revelation. Our being able to know comfortable ways of accepting each others' foibles and eccentricities is far from am established fact. (I am a challenge to most! [smile]) But we are growing in that direction. And Mom's willingness to disclose, this aspect of her Self, was a lovely compliment and honor for me. I am glad that you enjoyed the Romance in it, My /sweetly Caring NiteByrd. I like all that you and I share!

Lovingly ...

super groovy said...

I love the phrase of the Peaches. Simply yet profound.
Perhaps your mother had that maternal instinct and felt that one day you would be a writer. By naming you after a character would some how make you a writer?
Or, on a slightly less pleasant thought, she like many mothers, drew a blank when the nurse asked for the baby's name. She just blurted out the name she just read.??
As for me, I like the first option.
Cheers, my friend :)

John-Michael said...

I am smiling a [SO BIG SMILE] at your reflection, Precious Super Groovy Friend. For I know from Mom's account of the story, that she had clearly determined and planned to name her first Son that chosen name ... to satisfy whatever her personal motivations were. And it was a choice that she was quite clear and certain of. (Which is SO totally Mom! [smile])

The 'Thing' about those aphorisms of Grand-Dad's was, that while I admired the succinct and definite nature of his statements ... I knew a sense of dismissal and finality in his use of them. There was no room for sharing of his thoughts or feelings there. (Which [I later learned] was in complete keeping with his natural temperament and personality. But it left me feeling alone. Which is something that I had to learn to accept and deal with for and with my Self, over the years.])

I like sharing these things with you, Dear One. It seems so comfortably 'Right.' [smile]

Lovingly ...

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