Dan Patterson

When the Korean conflict ended, we began to see and hear a few different names. They were not what we were accustomed to using. That was and is fine.

Different is a double-edged sword. It can be good, fair to middlin’ or just downright sorry. That, my friends, is for you to decide.

Back in the good ole days, we had Alice; today, we have Arantxa. Is this a little girl’s name or a gout vaccine?

Back when, we had Joe Max Hutson; today, we have Wronlow. Is this a boy’s name or a small rodent found in a Brazilian jungle?

How about Idalia – boy, girl or onion? Last year, we had a player whose name was Mufalda. Sadly, we did not receive a roster with our phonetical helper typed beside it.

I thought a mufalda was a New Orleans’ sandwich. We made the broadcast just fine, using Mufalda’s last name. It was Nix.

Time was when most of the folks this side of the Mason-Dixon line preferred to use conservative, biblical names. Many had a propensity to lean to double names.

Here is a short list of the above-mentioned, each with a Bible name incorporated in it: John Paul; James Daniel; Mary Sue; Deborah Lee, Ann’s sister; and Ruth Ann Lassiter.

Ruth Ann’s father, Ray, operated a grocery store, along with a feed mill. Both were in Tennessee. The Lassiter family lived across the state line in Kentucky.

In 1965, Kentucky acquiesced to the dreaded daylight-saving time. The Volunteer state did not. That entire summer, the Lassiter family lost an hour and gained an hour every day.

It has been my privilege for many years to broadcast Henry County sports. In the last 40 years, a goodly number of the student athletes’ names have evolved.

Today, most player rosters contain how to phonetically pronounce not only the first name, but also, in many instances, the last name.

I am not making light of someone’s name. This is simply the world in which we live.

In a recent survey conducted by Swanker, Ibex and Paschall, 72% of today’s parents assume a distinctive name will enable their child to stand apart from the crowd.

In the days of long ago, when men were men and women were women, that situation was commonplace at Hazel High School.

A handful of students always stood apart from the rest of us. Those few prominent pupils seemed always to eschew soap and water.

Bobby Dylan said, “The times they are a changing.” Along with that, names also change. However, we all must make a name for ourselves, by ourselves and that is an imperishable truth.

We are all free moral agents. We may choose our paths. Our true names and identities will one day be uncloaked.

Johnny Cash made a lot of money singing about “A Boy Named Sue.”

Papa Salmon’s name was Leander Daniel Salmon. I owe my parents a lot. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I am really glad they named me Dan instead of Leander.

The best name to have is “one who loves the Lord.” Read Acts 11:26.


DAN PATTERSON, who’s retired from the Paris Parks and Recreation Department, grew up near the state line and now lives in Paris. He can be reached by email at jdanpat@yahoo.com.

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