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Naming a character… I need your help

The following passage is from A Spent Bullet. The setting is a barn in Bundick, LA. in September 1941.  Our character, named XXXXXX, is a high school senior, country boy, wants to join the Army Air Corp and fly, and is fighting with his daddy over this.  I’m looking for just the right first name as well as a good country nickname.

Send me your ideas.

* This story was related to me by Beauregard Parish Kirby Dickens who said it happened to him.

The soldier just appeared out of the mist at the barn where Ben and XXXXXX were milking .  It wasn’t unusual to see them anywhere and no one seemed too worried about their presence.  As soon as the soldier said,  “Hello Now ” XXXXXX knew this was a city boy.

This was confirmed by the soldier’s astonished question,  “What in the world are you doing?”

Swinging his body around on the small three-legged milking stool,  XXXXXX said,  “What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m milking our cow.”

The soldier, scrunching his nose up like something was dead, said,  “You mean that’s where milk comes from?”

“Sure.”  It suddenly occurred to XXXXXX that this guy wasn’t kidding; he was serious.   “Where are you from?”

“The Bronx.”

“Where’s that?”

“New York City—the Bronx. It’s where the Yankees play.”

“Oh, that explains it.  Y’all don’t get your milk from cows up there?”

“Sure, we do, but it comes from a dairy.”

“Well, this is where it starts.”  In one motion, XXXXXX expertly aimed a teat at Jasper, their barn cat, and directed a stream of warm milk in its mouth.  He followed this with his left forearm shielding his face from the cow’s manure-encrusted tail.

Nominations so far:  Silas/Si,   Jacob,    Billy,  James (James was most popular name in ’41.)  Maybe Kirby?

Also, good input on the city boy’s ignorance being a little “stereotypical”  maybe soften the passage.  Your input?



About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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5 comments

  1. The most popular name in 1941 was James, but I believe I’d go with “Billy”.

  2. Hey Curt! He seems like a “Luke” to me. I love the website!

  3. Sorry Curt- It’s morning in Kabul Afghanistan and I’ve had way too much coffee– I’v got a bit different name suggestion, I ran into a British guy named Classon (Clas for short). I like that name and (Sorry again -Coffee) perhaps the kid was named from someone in Ben’s past, like a british guy named Clas from 1914-1918 when Ben was in WWI(There would be the requistite flashback to Flanders field with poppies in bloom where this friend now rests)- which would explain his reluctance to agree with the kid joining the Army Air Corp. (Would somebody please explain these silent “P”s to me). Ok- I got that out of my system! I have read two of your books by the way– It looks like I need to pick up a couple more when I get back to La. Take care

  4. Name the character;
    Earl
    Dale
    Tom
    Ray
    Ricky
    Chuck
    Bobby
    Allen
    Tim
    Frank
    Bill
    Joe
    Don
    Neal

  5. Enjoyed hearing you at Dry Creek for the January Fish Fry. Just read “A Good Place” and thoroughly enjoyed it. Are you available for speaking engagements on Sat. mornings? specifically March 13 or April 10, University Baptist Church, Lake Charles, LA, 11:30 am Senior Adult Fellowship/Lunch/Speaker. Thanks.

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