Friday, November 18, 2005


Gabe holding the original Bubba. Josh with Dakota.

In our family, as much as we'd like to simply choose a name we like or a popular name for a child, we just can't seem to do it. All of my children have been forced to be reminded of ancestry and ethnicity and the dreams of the past every time they sign their name. The only one who escaped it was Gabe, who was named after a character in a Thomas Hardy novel.

Even pets aren't allowed to keep their names to themselves. Our wonderful collie/lab, Sadie Jenkins, went on to become a character in many of my short stories. I loved that character so much that sometimes I couldn't make myself at home in a story until I invited her in. She didn't have to do much. Just take a seat, have herself a cup of tea, maybe cuss someone out, and leave. But somehow, once she made her appearance, the story just wrote itself.

Our present lab/shepherd, Jade has never had a character named after her, but I did once attempt to write a potboiler under her name. Fortunately, Jade's much thicker skinned than the average writer. When the agent rejections arrived in the mailbox with her name on them, Jade was easily comforted by a bowl of kibble and a walk on the beach. Star, our bratty Jack Russell, also had a literary background; she was named for a character in a story my daughter wrote in second grade.

But the pet we had longest was a nervous yellow tiger cat who was originally named Mercury. Very quickly, the name was shortened to Merc. And when his irascible moods began to rule the house, we decided he also needed a royal title. Thus he became not just Merc, but Bubba Merc.

Gabe and Bubba II

Anyway, I'm pleased to see that Gabe is carrying on the tradition. In a previous post I mentioned that he and his girlfriend, Nicola were in something of a tussle over what to name their puppy. Various names were weighed and discussed. But in the end, Gabe decided that this was no ordinary pup. This was a dog with a commanding aura about him. I know what you're thinking--it's a dog, not the next emperor. But seriously, look into this canine's eyes. Clearly we are in the presence of Bubba II.


rdl said...

OMG I love that pic of the kids, just the way I remember them. And great name for the dog.

leslee said...

Lucky Gabe, presumably named after my favorite Hardy character, Gabriel Oak. Bubba's great - what a fabulous face!

Patry Francis said...

R: Don't they look incredibly sweet?

leslee: Yes, Gabriel Oak! Glad to find someone else who loved him.

b: I'm suspecting that Arlo Boris' name will eventually shorten. (See, I just did it!) But then again, why shouldn't a cat have first, last and middle, just like we do?

Myfanwy Collins said...

Great photos. And yes, that puppy could only be named Bubba II.

Perfect Virgo said...

My future daughter-in-law has a cat named "Marbles." How sweet I hear you thinking... However the female feline is 21 years old and every bone in her body pokes through her skin as an uncomfortable reminder of her advanced age. She purrs with happiness while gazing blankly through blind black eyes. Her permanent look of bewilderment is somehow innocent and knowing. See, you wrote about animals.

Joel said...

Oh darn. I was all ready to jump in and show off my knowledge, but it seems that everyone knows Far From the Madding Crowd.

At least I know your readers are literate. :)

Joel said...

While we are weighing in on cat names, here's a list of the beasts I have owned:

Wendell the Bear*
Tracy Tu-tu Wa-Wa*
Ambrose Ambrogo*
Virginia Mew
Madrigal the Madcat (moved elsewhere)
Fiona Phosphor
Boadicea Phosphor

We've had rabbits, too:

Eleni Porkpie
Ernestine Thunderpaws

And the dog of my childhood was named:


Patry Francis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patry Francis said...

p.v. I love your story about Marbles. Sounds like my kind of pet.

joel: my favorite of your names is Madrigal the madcat with Ernestine thunderpaws a close second. Too bad M the M moved elsewhere. But then again, maybe the name presaged instabiity!

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