You Gene!

I sometimes hate listening to myself. I talk so stinking stanking much and most of what I have to say is stinking stanking trivial, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I wish I could. I’m willing to stop. I’m wanting to stop. I’m waiting to stop.
You just read those last three lines in an Alfred P. Doolittle voice, didn’t you. And if you didn’t just then, you are now.

In any case, all I’m trying to say is that I helped my aunt type up my grandfather’s life story as written by his mother. I am named after his mother, and the more I get to know her through stories others tell and the bounty of written goodies she left behind (journals upon journals, skits, life stories, and on and on and ON!)… the more I realize that I’m a lot like her. And “a lot” is an understatement.
“Sometimes when you tell stories, you can leave some details out you know,” my husband once hinted with trepidation. I guess he’s right. Except for ONE thing: no I CAN’T leave some details out. It’s impossible! It’s like being born without that special part of my brain that filters out Things Other People Don’t Care About But That Matter Monumentally To Me.
My great-grandmother Alice had this trait, and my aunt and I giggled at her description of the Christmas Eve night that my grandfather became engaged to my grandmother. It was 1953.
“Christmas Eve 1953 Eugene presented Eleanor with a diamond ring. The engaged couple spent a happy evening at Eugene’s home. There were present Grandfather and Grandmother Smith, Maurine Smith, Ross, Sarah May, Steven, baby Keith, father mother (I love that she left the comma out between herself and her husband), Floyd and Doyle. It was the first time in years that the family had all been together for Christmas. Doyle made a pleasant old Santa and hearts were as gay as the lights and tinsel on the tree.”
Oh heaven love her.
And that paragraphs brings me to my next subject: Eugene.

I love Eugene.
We all have people in our lives -they’re more IDEALS than actual people, sometimes even if they’re living and breathing smack dab in front of us. Eugene is my Living and Breathing Ideal. He’s flawless unto me. He’s everything a Grandpa should be in my book.
And he has a full head of hair.
And he plays the organ.
AND he faithfully watches Lawrence Welk every Saturday at 7 pm.
Best of all: he doesn’t talk. Did you hear me? He possesses in his single soul the ONE trait I spent half of my childhood TRYING to adopt. Futile days, those. Blindingly futile.
It just makes me admire him all the more.

Eugene is patient. And he’s clever. I mean, he’s REALLY clever because he has more common sense than the entire Continental Congress put togethah.
I guess I’ve waxed rhapsodic long enough for you to get the point. And maybe I’ve waxed rhapsodic long enough for prepare you for what’s coming next… I want to name my child Eugene.
Wait, wait, wait… STOP that. Stop that judging.
Let me guess. When you hear “Eugene” you think

But when I hear Eugene… I think of the most honorable man on the modern earth. I think of a steady hand and a clean soul. Before I get all “gay and light as the tinsel” on ya… let me just say: as I was discussing it with my husband in the wee hours of the morning, I felt a strong something-or-other from the depths of my growing insides that Eugene is just… right.
I decided to do a little research. Grandpa doesn’t talk much, but he answers questions really well.
“Grandpa,” I said to him during a commercial break of the NBA finals (vital detail, that. right?), “Where did your name come from? Did Nunna just like it a lot, or are you named after someone?”
“Oh I was named after someone. The poet. Eugene Field.”

“I’ve never heard of him,” I confessed, the literate within me groaning in shame.
“We used to study him in school… Mother really like his poetry,” he said. So I did what any Information-Age Bot would do, I whipped out my Smart Phone and googled Eugene Field.
Oh wait. I HAVE heard of Eugene Field, apparently. So have you, no doubt.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
Never afraid are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three,
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home:
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folk thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:—
And Nod.
~Eugene Field

“And do you like your name?” I asked. I HAD to ask because I’ve had grandparents specifically instruct me NOT to name my children after them.
“Making a 5 year old dot three i’s in one name is just cruel,” confessed my grandmother G.G. (Virginia).
“Yeah, I always did. Good, strong name,” he said.
Good, strong name.

Flynn Rider disagrees.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And frankly: names can always be changed in the event of one taking up a life of crime.
Though I still think he makes a much better YOUgene.

And here’s the part where I say this: a huge part of me is convinced -utterly CONVINCED -that if I have a Eugene, I’ll always have a Eugene, even when Eugene is gone. Gosh, I hate even TYPING that sentence, and not because it doesn’t make any sense at all but because I don’t want to think about not having Eugene. Ever.
See my head? It’s buried safely and pleasantly in the Utopian Sands of Denial.
Bring me an iced limeade while you’re up, will ya?

I’ll bring this post full circle by saying that I was named after Alice (aka Nunna aka Eugene’s Mother). My name is Alicia. Knowing that I carried on the name (so to speak) of someone like Alice really gave me something higher to aspire to. I didn’t want to sully it, you know. I’ve never heard a single person say anything negative about Alice, and I don’t want to disappoint that legacy. I’m proud of it. I love it when people ask me where my name came from -there’s no shame. Eugene would ALWAYS have that because Eugene, as I mentioned before, is downright amazing.

I must make one last Eugene Confession. I’m hoping that if in the event what I’m sprouting is of the male variety, he’ll turn two and look something like

Who wouldn’t want to kiss those cheeks on a sleeping boy after reading a drowsing rendition of
And Nod.

Then again: it could be a girl and this post would be all for naught. Except for the bit with Grandpa’s kinda-baby picture. THAT bit is timeless.
Incidentally, this movie is also timeless:

Stayed tuned for a Father’s Day weekend report which I’m working on titling. Right now it’s between “Most Wonderfully Full of Fun Weekend Ever: my in-laws are the epitome of awesome” and “You Think You Can Do These Things But You Can’t, Nemo: a summation of a pregnant woman’s inability to realize that spending time with family is more important than making a homemade potato salad.”

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