Thursday, July 2, 2009

What's in a Name?

"That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet."

Today the ASHA website was updated, and my new name officially went into effect. Pendleton speaking here.

Now that I have had it changed, I have debated whether or not to reveal my birth name, and have decided against it. It is a shame I have lived with for many years and I am happy to put it behind me. It may have been cute sounding when I was merely a silly colt, but the meaning of it goes against my moral standards, and my good sense So, as they say, I have put my behind in my past. But, since it is important, let me tell you how I came to have my present name.

When I came to live with this family, they knew I would someday find a name more befitting my personality. So they hesitated to give me a nickname and just left it to work itself out. Because my most distinguishing feature was my color, I became known, in general, as The Grey Horse. It was very important, this distinction of coat color, as I was specifically chosen for it. You see, three generations ago, this family bought a first horse.

Mom and Star

That horse was a Saddlebred, and he was grey. For many years they had fond memories of Star, and for many many years they looked for a horse who would remind them most of the horse that started it all. A horse who was not only tall and grey and handsome but who was also exceedingly smart and kind and noble.
Then they found me.

Star 1945 12-13 yrs old. William Pendleton 2005 2 yrs old

It really doesn't come as a surprise that we resemble each other, as we come from the same family of horses. Both of us have a good deal of Harrison Chief blood in us, although, understandably, mine is quite a ways further back than Star's was. Harrison Chief was Star's Great Great Grandsire. He was my Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandsire. 7 times. But that's not all. He was and my Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandsire 16 times, and my Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandsire another 8 times. If you look at my pedigrees, almost all roads lead to Harrison Chief.

So I came home to live with them when I was just a youngster. Sometime during the first winter, my Mom began calling my "Billy". Brita wasn't much a part of my life at the time, but she remembers visiting me in the winter time, and that in my first New York winter ( grew up in the south), I had gotten very shaggy, and had long chin whiskers rather resembling a billy goat.

As I grew older, my Uncle Dad came to live here and married Mom. In his previous life, he had owned Appaloosas. He could see that as a Saddlebred, I was a much more dignified and well educated creature than a mere Billy goat, and he began to call me "William". This name suited us all just fine. However, Brita continued to call me "the Grey", or just plain Grey because the name was short, and rolled off the tongue better than William or Billy.

The years passed, and it came time for me to go to the horse show. A formal name had yet to be decided. You can't rush into these things, as a name may only be changed once and then you really are stuck with the consequences forever. Many were tried out, but fizzled. Nothing was decided and I went to the horse show under my old name. That fact was swept under the rug and ignored.

Then last year, Mom brought up a name she thought might work. Since I have become a hunt type horse, and like to model my habits and manners after the formal English life, an English sounding name was sought. Mom had always dreamt that one day she would have a fancy grey standard poodle as a companion, and that it's name would be Pendleton. When this was mentioned, it struck Brita's fancy. After all, our family matriarch that we knew as Grandma, had much admired me as well as the wonderful woolen fabrics produced by the Pendleton wool company. She had instilled in all her family, an innate love of material and finely woven fabrics. Brita remembered that the first nice riding coat that Grandma ever made her was made from Pendleton wool. When Mom grew up, she and Grandma made much of their own clothing. If a Pendleton woolwas so much prized, she must have gotten her fondness from the name then. Even I appreciate a good plaid blanket, and when I take the trouble can be quite the natty dresser.

We tried that name on, and it seemed to fit me like a well cut jacket. So, I had collected many names. The one I leave behind, the descriptive nicknames "Billy" and "Grey" used by my family, and the new, more dignified and meaningful one Pendleton. One day when I was feeling a bit mischievous, Brita scolded me, and as women will, she dragged out each of my names and strung them together... "why William Pendleton Grey... I can't believe you did that!" And it was decided on. But, I was not in favor of having all my personal names called out to me in public each time. That is more a private affair. I would prefer to be formally addressed, not by my "Christian" name William, but by my surname as is proper English tradition.

So, today, for the first time ever, I address you officially as Mr. "William" Pendleton Grey. And when I go to The Fair this summer, I will be competing under my new, carefully chosen name "Pendleton".


Leah said...

congrats Grey! What a wonderful dignified name you have. :)

GoonrGrrl said...

Love it!! Congratulations on your sporty new name, Pendleton! (And I learned something - I didn't even know Pendleton the company was still in business.)

Quattro's name change will follow as soon as I can think of a third one to submit. I'm racking my brains but OUT of ideas. I'm pretty sure I'll get my first choice, but I want to submit three that I can actually live with in the event the first two fail. :-P

randi said...

My wishes to you man, a great name to a great friend

Julie said...

Love this post!!!

Pam sent me tons of pictures to use when I tell her story. I will try and post a bit on it every day.