“Helping” with the name

March 5, 2021

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Before the day comes when I get a daughter-in-law of my very own, I think it’s wise to go ahead and make a list of all the suitable baby names available for our family. Don’t you think that’s a thoughtful way for me to “help?”

This list was created by the guidelines of the Committee for the Preservation of Loveliness, which boasts an award-winning baby name subcommittee. 

A child’s name is of great importance, and Southern mamas have a harder time than most because they can’t just stop at one or sometimes even two names. They have to come up with three or four, often like a password, incorporating upper- and lower-case letters plus on occasion, a few numerals. 

Named after three generations, “Jonathan Jefferson Cuthbert Clower IV (pronounced, the-“fow-urth”) has pizazz, so his baby sister needed an equally prestigious name and landed “Rebecca Charlotte Rachel Clower.” Little “Lottie,” taken from “Charlotte,” was the happiest baby in town. The committee awarded the honor of “best name of the year” at a wedge salad luncheon. “Good use of consonants” said Luveena. “Excellent monogram and nickname potentials” said Liza Jo.” “Biblical ties, a nod to foreign missions, R.C. Cola, and family connections put this name over the top as winner” concluded Dibsey Lu.

Initials can’t spell out anything rude or silly. Garland Oscar Parker’s monogram may keep him from being elected the Democratic state representative someday and Deborah Olivia Grady may grow up to be a cat lady — after she endures 4 years of therapy figuring out why the other children barked at her. You just never know how the initials will work until you see them embroidered on the side of a golf bag or pocketbook. 

After deep contemplation, running computer data, flipping coins and earnest prayer, I think my top recommendation for my future grandchildren boils down to . . .  “Beatrice.” It’s dignified, traditional, and has the most awesome nickname of “Trixie.” You can’t tell me Trixie Tarabella won’t be the cutest little girl to ever walk into a Kindergarten classroom someday. I can see the hair bow bee-bopping up and down now. I’m so excited, and positive my sons will love me for “helping.”

Just as important as a list of preferred names, is making a list of forbidden names. No one wants a grandson named after an old boyfriend or a granddaughter with the same name as the town floozy (unless that’s who your son marries — bless her heart). Some names conjure up the image of a mug shot on the evening news, a screaming attorney on TV, or a 15-year-old with a cigarette dangling from her lip, addressing the P.E. teacher as, “hey baby.” 

A little-known fact I keep tucked away for a future appearance on Jeopardy is that Jesus’ grandparents were named Anne and Joachim (debate amongst yourselves). Grandparents to the most perfect grandchild ever, their naming opportunity was usurped by the Angel who broke the news and provided naming instructions. Since then, the naming job has fallen to the mothers-in-law of the world, so it’s literally angelic of us to help with baby names and wise to start early. Little Trixie will thank me later. 

This story first appeared in AL.com newspapers in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville.

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