Friday, 22 January 2010

What's in a name?

It's funny how certain events can trigger a stream of memories long forgotten. I enjoy doing the Stuff daily trivia quiz. Some days I do well; on others, I take random guesses and hope for the best. As I was reading The Dominion Post this morning (hard copy!), the final trivia question for today was this: In the Bible, what future Jewish leader was hidden in a basket among reeds in the Nile river?

Of course I knew that the answer was Moses. Random thoughts reassembled themselves in my brain and I remembered visiting my grandparents on the Chatham Islands when I was 7. Grandad was a sheep farmer and apparently there was always an orphaned lamb called 'Billy' that would be brought home and bottle fed by the grandchildren until Billy eventually 'disappeared' again and was replaced by another, younger Billy.

I loved feeding Billy, but had to be quick as some of my older cousins usually managed to heat up the bottle first and get in before me. Then, one day, Grandad brought home another orphaned lamb. This one was tiny. He couldn't be called Billy while another one was still around, so it was left to us cousins to name the new (temporary) lamb.

I remembered a teacher who lived on a semi-rural property and had brought her pet lamb into school one day. This tiny little lamb was about the same size as the new orphan and was the cutest thing our class had ever seen in our five years on this planet! Its name was Pebbles and we all quickly fell in love with the bleating bundle. Therefore, I could think of no better name for our new orphan than Pebbles.

My (older) cousin, Steven, disagreed. Naturally contrary, he has spent his lifetime getting into and out of mischief. When asked to mow his parents' vast front lawn, he made sure he wrote "Steven is cool" in the grass so that every time his mother looked out the kitchen window she would be reminded of this message. He was/is also good at locking people into toilets and dropping cell phones into glasses of water to see if they are waterproof. Get the picture? Anyway, he decided that the lamb was not going to be called Pebbles, the most perfect name for a tiny lamb, but Moses. Why? Just because, he decided, and he was 12, so that was it.

I was most upset at this. Moses? Who calls a pet lamb Moses?? Suddenly, the shine of having Moses join Billy was not so bright for me. I've never forgotten the incident. Today, all these years later, I remember how put out I felt at Steven naming Moses. I can also report that Steven hasn't changed, either!


Sab said...

Ooh... I understand. That WOULD be frustrating... and I agree, Pebbles is a cuter name for a lamb. Funny how memories show up at the most random of things, isn't it?

La'Tonya Richardson said...

I love how memories pop up with just a mere sugesstion of something as simple as a name, or even a smell. I love the memories of my grandparents, they're my favorite.

I can believe your cousin hasn't changed.

I left something for you on my blog.

Juli Ryan said...

Oh, cute baby lambs. How lucky you are to have had a childhood like that. I must get to the Chathams!

Everyone has a "Steven" in their childhood somewhere. Sometimes, they do change. Sorry yours didn't!