Thursday, May 1, 2014

Name Game

"Uncle," I said, "I was telling Mama some of your family history story, about how your  great- great grandfather had five children, and all their names started with 'J' except for Elspeth.  She told me to ask you how did it happen that Jephthah Loughmiller name all his kids with a first initial 'J,' but then name the second girl 'Elspeth.'"

"Whut?" said Uncle Jeptha. "I tol' your mama how thet come to be.  Did she ferget?'

"No, Uncle.  She remembers, but she thought I would enjoy the story more if you told it to me."  Stroke his ego a bit, you see.

"Waal, then." replied Uncle Jep, as he stroked his whiskers.  When he does that, I am never quite sure whether he is searching his memory for a fact, or working his loom to create the whole cloth of a new tale. "I ask my grandmother about thet one time.  She tell me this Jephthah Loughmiller have a beautiful wife name Juliana.  They have three boys and the girl, Joanna.  Then during her fifth pregnancy, tragedy come to the little fambly and Juliana pass away.  This leave Jephthah with four chilren to rear, includin’ the little girl who is now but three year old.

"But good fortune befall Loughmiller when he marry another young woman who love him dearly, but more, she love the chilren.  She do her best to care for 'em all.  Then she find herself with child.  While they awaitin’ the happy day, Jephthah an’ Elena, his wife name is Elena, discuss the namin’ a the chile.  They have pick 'Jeptha' if it is a boy, but they have a time decidin’ on a girl’s name.  Jeff, he want to call the girl 'Jillian' but Elena know thet is a dimin, diminu, oh, a pet name for 'Juliana,' an’ while she love Jephthah dearly, she draw the line at namin’ the girl after his first wife.  So they finely agree on 'Elspeth' an’ when she come, that were her moniker.

© 2014 David W. Lacy
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