Do you ever name inanimate objects? I never gave it much thought until I noticed a friend (and her family) had a name for everything. From their old van, “Green Machine”, to their BFI trash can, “Big Blue”. A lot of people give a name to their car, but a trash can? I loved the humor this friend had in naming her family’s belongings, and I decided it was a good idea. Rather than telling your child, “Put it in the trash can,” and then having to explain which one you’re talking about – you know, outside, or inside and which room. “Big Blue” kept it simple and everyone knew immediately which one this mom was referring to. My friend even has a room named “the green room” because the central color scheme revolves around green, and everyone knows which room she’s talking about because it’s obvious.
Our son had a friend from school come over for a visit when he was just entering middle school, and he rode the school bus to our house. We had not previously known this family, but this boy had many brothers and sisters. He entertained us with stories of everyday life at his house with all these siblings. They seemed to have a wonderful life together. When his mom came to pick him up, she was driving a big old red 14-passengar van. Well, you didn’t see that every day! This boy saw his mom pull up and said, “There’s Clifford,” and headed for the door. We knew immediately Clifford was not the driver’s name. It was the van that was Clifford, and in case you haven’t read the books, there are children’s books about a huge red dog named Clifford. What a hoot. I will never forget this boy and “Clifford”, the big red van. My quest to name our belongings began.
Are you good at coming up with appropriate, descriptive, concise names? Obviously, we’re not! We have yet to call a car by a name other than the brand or model. Shows our lack of creativity, I guess. The only things with names at our home are humans and animals in our care. We’ve been trying for over five years to name our farm. We don’t “farm” it, but we lease it for crops, and we have some horses on part of it, which might qualify it for a ranch type of name. And don’t think we haven’t had many conversations about the best name, one that we all four agree on. “Little House on the Prairie” is too long. “Hood-arosa” is weird. “Serenity Farm” is not quite right, but the place seems very serene after 16 years of congested suburb life. “3 James” describes the three generations of men with the first name of James in our family, my husband and his father, and our son. I really liked “The Funny Farm” and thought it suited us perfectly, but we would have been taking the name already used for another place somewhat near us. We talked about how our closest community of Trebloc is “Colbert” spelled backwards and couldn’t fathom even telling others the name of our place of “DOOH”, although it pretty well describes a major item to deal with around here, with our dogs and horses.
Recently I was thinking about a couple of doves we have at the barn. Their first nest was in the northwest corner, under the overhang that houses trailers and farm implements. The nest came down with the barn in the tornado last year, but the nest stayed there for a short while, four feet off the ground. Then they rebuilt on the side of the barn that was still standing, where they could build it high off the ground again. These are determined doves!
When the barn was demolished in order to rebuild, they had hatched eggs in their new nest. One of the construction men knocked on my door and asked what I wanted him to do with the nest. I got a hanging basket that had a vine growing in it, he took the nest down, careful not to disturb the almost-grown dovies, and we placed the nest in the basket. Wanting to be sure Mom and Dad Dove would see their dovies, I hung it on the fence close to the tree line but out in plain view, hoping they would continue to care for them. It started to rain, so I rigged an umbrella over them to protect them from the rain. DUH! Birds live in the rain. What was I thinking? Before dark that night, I moved the plant and nest to the fence in the tree line. I didn’t know how to best protect these birds. The next morning I went early to check on the dovies, and the nest was empty! We don’t know if a critter got them or if Mom and Dad quickly taught them to fly (they seemed big enough but no big feathers yet), or if they moved them to another quickly prepared nest. It was unbearable to think of them as food for another animal, so I “decided to decide” that they were moved by Mom and Dad Dove to the safety of a new nest, Dove family intact once again. Don’t you love a happy ending?
Pretty soon after the new barn was built last year, Mom and Dad Dove were back nesting in their original location. This spring, we had a fresh set of eggs, and we watched them at work again to safely hatch their new dovies. They’ve become part of our life, seeing them resting on the fence in the same spot every day, and I enjoy my view of them out my kitchen window. It’s been fun to watch them through the last three or so years, how they stick together through everything. I read that doves mate for life. “The Dove Nest” came to my mind, and it sort of describes us in a way. My husband and I, like the doves, have mated for life. We have had some storms, have had to move our nest occasionally, have worked to protect our dovies, and we’re still together. The “Dove Nest” name feels comfortable to me, seems like home. Only time will tell if we really use “The Dove Nest” name for our place. Like all other inanimate objects in our life, we’ll probably just continue to call it the most common, unimaginative but descriptive name, one that feels the most comfortable…“home”.