We gave things names when I was young.

There was an unfinished block of wood that the smallest kid was required to sit on at the dinner table. It was a butt-worn smooth chunk of wood and it had a name. When it was time for a haircut, mom told you to go fetch THE BLOCK. If the cousins came for lunch, it was quite the proper etiquette to give them first dibs on THE BLOCK. I thought everybody had one.

We had a drawer in the kitchen that collected all manner of things. If you needed a piece of string, that is where it was found. There were broken crayons, bobby pins, ice-cream sticks, glue, empty spools, and probably everything needed by MacGyver to stop a ticking time bomb. To mom it was probably just a catch-all. For us it was a treasure chest. If we were hunting for a misplaced item mom would say, “Go look in THE DRAWER." Dare we whine, “I’m boooooored,” mom dispatched us with a terse “Go play in THE DRAWER.” We never opened the wrong drawer. None of the other drawers had names.

A huge rock sat at the far end of Dad’s garden where he accumulated 27 years of his best crop: more rocks. It was a spectacular boulder surrounded by a gazillion smaller rocks and thus it was named, you guessed it, THE ROCK PILE. There were other piles of rocks around our small farm, but I don’t recall any others having an identity. THE ROCK PILE was a wonderful place to chase bugs, snakes, and an occasional lizard. There we could climb mountains, dig for gold, or build a fort. A sweet smelling mock orange formed a spring trellis, which transformed THE ROCK PILE into a wedding chapel. My best friend Beth was always the groom ‘cuz she was the tallest.

Then, there was THE FACE. It was something neither my seven siblings nor I ever wanted to see on our mom. We got in trouble, as kids always do, and received our punishment with resignation. (Usually a long sit in a chair or a quick willow switch on the backside.) However, terror entered our hearts should our misfortune bring forth THE FACE. It could freeze water! It could melt ice! It could marinate a Marine! Trust me; I know how Harry Potter felt when the dementor drew near. The same fear would strike my heart when I peaked out from a hidey-hole to encounter THE FACE.

I’ve been thinking recently about my propensity to name things as we have battled a dying tree, an erupting septic tank, a monsoon season, mud,wind, dust, rain, more mud, more dust, more rain,more wind, and everything torn apart in THE BACK YARD.


Karmyn R said…
Another name I always say is "Grandma" and that means Evelyn
Beth said…
I remember "THE DIPPER" that hung by the kitchen sink and was the forerunner of the dixie cup dispenser. I was told (by my best friend----the youngest of the eight children who called THE FACE, "MOM") that I couldn't drink from THE DIPPER. It was only for family! That really put me in my place!

I, too, loved the ROCKPILE and the lovely mock orange that grew there. I don't remember always having to be the groom but maybe that had an influence in my finally becoming a "McBride"!

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