Monday, June 16, 2008

What's In A Name

As a child, did you want to change your name? I did. And a lot of my friends did too. I remember sitting outside with my childhood friends imagining all sorts of better names. Most of them were not traditional names. We wanted to be called names like Chipmunk or Daisy or Leapfrog or Brook Trout or Dragon or Gray Girl. Don't ask me why. I may have understood our logic then but it has escaped me.

But I'm spending more time in Oba, Ontario. So Oba, population about 8 full time residents, has given me a sense of the ways of up-north living. In Oba, everyone's "real" address is General Delivery. The mail gets thrown off the train about three times a week. The Postmaster rides his 4-wheeler to the train crossing, catches the mail bag, and delivers the mail on the spot. If someone is not home, he just takes it back to his house to be picked up or delivered later.


Everyone in Oba, because they are General Delivery, gets to create their own address. My friend Sam is at #1 Shoreline Drive. This is not because his shack in Oba is on any shoreline. It's in the second row of houses back from the tracks. But because Sam spends so much time running the Oba River to Cameron Lake and back, often daily, he figures he has the longest “Shoreline Drive” of anyone in town. When Tex the old trapper was alive, his address was #13 Sled Dog Lane. As the dogs got older and died and Tex slowed down and didn't need to replace them for his work, his address became #12 Sled Dog Lane…#11 Sled Dog Lane…#10 Sled Dog Lane…


I've entertained Walleye Way, Pike Place and River Route, but they all seem too obvious, too ordinary. Maybe Wondering Woman Way? What do you think? I'm taking suggestions. I'm well aware that we manifest better and more in our lives when we name peg we hang our fishing hat on.