Friday, January 27, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #266

Journal of a Living Lady #266

Nancy White Kelly

Names. People are sensitive about their names for good reason. The Bible says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” I like my name and am rather protective of it. I have spent a life-time defining who Nancy White Kelly is in hopes that my name will forever be spoken of with fondness and respect.

Our adopted son, Bobby, and his wife Ginger, have two precious children, Mackenzie and Alexander. The parents and big sister refer to the near 3-year-old Alexander as “Bubby.” That is okay for a nickname, but I doubt it will float too well in first grade or even kindergarten.

Bobby and Ginger prefer to call their six-year-old daughter “Macka,” which is acceptable.  It is their choice, though I much prefer Mackenzie. She is in kindergarten now. I was present when she, her mother and father made it perfectly plain that she wished to be called “Macka” at school. In spite of this, the parents got a progress report a few days ago. It was addressed to the “Parents of Cassandra Kelley.”  In bold black was a note saying that their daughter was having difficulty recognizing her name.

Good grief! For starters, Macka seldom, if ever, is referred to as Cassandra at home. The Kelly family uses only one “e” in the last name. Schools are supposed to get it right.

My birth name was Nancy Lee White. I can imagine the reaction in the White household if a letter arrived addressed to the parents of Lee Whitee.

Now that our son Charlie and wife Tori have little Micah, Buddy and I trip our tongues on Macka and Micah sometimes. That’s senility and is forgivable.

In the meanwhile, this grandmother is making sure Macka can recognize Cassandra when she sees it. Who knows when the next person will address her with that name.

The Kellys can get used to the misspelling of our last name. It happens all the time in the mountainous area where we live with the other Kelleys. But, please, get the child’s preferred name correct. And, don’t slip and call me Nelly Leigh.  My deceased parents might do the proverbial turn-over in their graves.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Journal of the Living Lady

Journal of a Living Lady #265

Nancy White Kelly

If I were to receive a grade for counseling individuals who lose their dog, it would probably be a D. The only point I would earn would be for caring. Words fail me when a family pet dies. Without an opportunity to give the owner a big, warm hug, I feel helpless.

Three days ago I got a call from my only sister who lives near Memphis. She had three dogs. This is the story of one of them. His name was Yoda.

I must relate some background so you will know why Yoda was so special to Sunnie Anne. After my father died of cancer years ago, my sister was the only child left at home. Actually she was an adult beginning college.

Gradually my mother became ill. Sunnie Anne, both by default and choice, became her caretaker. She and my mother were as much a twosome as any married couple could be. They could finish each other’s sentences. In time, my sister passed up a good opportunity to marry because she could not divorce herself from my dependent mother. There weren’t any good alternatives. I lived out of town with several foster children. My mother would never leave Memphis anyway. My brothers, all three of them, were in different phases of life that made it impossible for them to do daily care. We all did what we could, but Sunnie Anne cheerfully attended to my mother until the day she died. Obviously, Sunnie Anne took our mother’s death especially hard. She never fully recouped from the loss. Loneliness and depression set in.

Sunnie Anne, being a caregiver by nature, took a spontaneous trip to the humane shelter. Anybody with a hint of raison d'ĂȘtre could have predicted the results. Sunnie Anne spotted a scraggly, mixed-breed fluffy dog who, to hear Sunnie Anne tell it, called her name. The rest is history. She adopted the dog, took care of his shots, and even went through the expense and throes of heart-worming the canine.

Our family came to dislike Yoda, especially me. When Sunnie Anne came to visit soon thereafter, she insisted on bringing Yoda. By then, the rescued Yoda had become so attached and defensive of Sunnie Anne that nothing kept him from her. Nothing. One door in our house still has teeth marks and splinters where Yoda tried to chew himself into the den, not knowing that my and sister and I were shopping. Yoda was subsequently transferred to our little guest cabin whenever we had to leave. Even though a bit more doggie-proof, he went cabin crazy. The entrance door had to be metal-plated at the bottom.

Buddy was a champ. He went about the business of tending to the offenses of Yoda with unintelligible mumbling. I think Yoda knew what he was saying and kept his distance.

Sunnie Anne sent an email a couple of days ago saying that a big wind came through the town and broke down part of the fence. Yoda escaped. I was not overly concerned. Yoda had escaped once before and returned. However, I promised to pray for his safe homecoming and I did.

My prayers were not answered as requested. Unknown to us at the time, Yoda had already met his demise. Death is death and resurrection is not a reasonable request. Somebody found Yoda’s rigamorphed body near the road about six houses down.

I felt for my sister and consoled the best I could, assuring her that she was not to blame. Due to the suddenness of the wind storm, she could not have foreseen his escape. Being me, the blunt realist, I reminded her that the laws of physics prevailed. Yoda was killed because he ran in front of a car.

Putting on my counselor’s hat, I told Sunnie Anne she was entitled to grieve, but to give herself a time limit to do so and then move on.  It’s the best advice I could think of for the situation.

On second thought, about the grading. Maybe I should get a C.