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