What’s in a Name? by Molly MacDonald

Ink Spots

Mar 15
What's in a Name? by Molly MacDonald via @scottmacnotes #name #pets #family

What’s in a name? Well, a lot, as it turns out.

One of the fun things about my gig of volunteering to rock (and change and feed) babies at Bear Care, the daycare center at Seton School, is being exposed to what today’s parents are naming their children.

There’s not a single Tom or John or Ed (all my Kelly uncles’ names) to be found. Instead, today’s infants sport much more imaginative, colorful names.

Like Amarylis, Mikayden, Maxton, Kiera, Beckett, Jaylee and Maverick, to name just a few.

I think of the priest who refused to baptize me Molly, because it wasn’t a saint’s name. My parents argued that it’s the Gaelic for Mary, but to no avail, so I was baptized Mary, thereby setting in motion a lifetime of mixups for me. As I’ve written in previous columns, my driver’s license has gone from Molly to Mary and, recently, back to Molly; my birth certificate and marriage licenses say Mary. My credit cards, bank account, and social security card say Molly.

I wonder if that priest knows how much trouble he caused me. I’ll bet if he knew of the names parents are picking today, he’d be spinning in his grave.

Probably best not to tell him.

I don’t mind the name Molly, but if I had my druthers, I’d rather be Scarlett. I tried to have that be my Confirmation name, but Sister Rosaria said it wasn’t a saint’s name. I got even with her, though. Our adopted German Shepherd came with the name Ivy, but on one of the rescue forms we filled out, I put Scarlett as her middle name. Then, a few years later, our daughter and son-in-law named their daughter Molly Scarlett.

Revenge is sweet.

My other favorite name is Penrod. At the turn of the century, author Booth Tarkington wrote a wonderful book called Penrod and Sam. When Bing and I adopted our first dog, we named him Penrod. Okay, I named him Penrod. Bing had never read the book, but he almost always let me have my way, so I got to name the pup Penrod.

Sadly, shortly after we got him, we had to move Penrod to the farm my dad had an interest in because he (Penrod, not my dad) took to nipping anyone who came near our first-born child.

The man who farmed that land promptly renamed the pooch Bing. Which only seemed fair, since I’ve known several dogs named Molly, but never one named Bing. I think the human Bing was pleased.

A few years and a dog or so later, we adopted another nameless pup and we (I) named him Penrod the Second. However, we called him just Penrod, not wanting him to become stuck-up at having an aristocratic “the Second” after his name.

It’s very important that a dog not put on airs because of his name.

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