SOUTHERN GHOSTS

Who says we have only one life upon this earth? I know about a few Southern ghosts who still walk among us.

Some of us are fortunate enough to live more than one life. Iíve heard it said that as long as someone remembers us we live on, if only in a memory. I believe that is true.

The Bible is proof of that in more than one sense. Among its chapters are vast records of genealogy. Those whose names are recorded there continue to live on many millenniums after their bones have turned to dust.

Our ancestors picked up on those people listed in the Bible and named their children after them in their honor. Many people we know have biblical names. Others were named after friends, phrases and nature scenes during the sixties. Sky, Flower.

When my oldest brother was working as a pharmacist in a small town, he encountered a few odd names while filling prescriptions. One lady came in to purchase medicine for her twin boys. Orange Jell-O and Lemon Jell-O. It appeared she had seen the words printed on a box and she just went with it. However, Iíll give her credit for not pronouncing the names like most of us would. Orange Jell-O became O-Ron-Jay-Low and Lemon Jell-O was pronounced La-Mon-Jay-Low.

Then there was the lady who was lying there giving birth to her child when she looked up and saw a sign with her last name on it. Her last name happened to be King. When asked what she wanted to name her baby she replied. Nosmo. Iíll let you figure it out.

When my daughters were born, I insisted on naming them after family members and ancestors much to the chagrin of my wife. Our oldest, we named Amanda Alice after my great grandmother and grandmother. (Amanda Rebecca Aldridge Cockrell and Alice Usula Cockrell Foster) My middle daughter, Rebecca Suzanne, was named after my great grandmother and her aunt (Amanda Rebecca Aldridge Cockrell and Marilee Suzanne Mercer Wilks). By the time our youngest came along I was giving in to my wife on the name thing. We named her Leah Catherine because my wife liked the name Leah, and the Catherine was after one of my greats-greats, Catherine Barnett Allgood.

We ended up calling our girls Amy, Becky and Carrie. After all, a guy has to know when to compromise. My wife was happy, I was happy, and the girls are happy. But, I did squeeze in a little family history in there and that was my goal in the first place.

As a writer I have carried that naming thing one step further. The genealogy bug has carried on into my latest endeavorÖ fiction writing. In the last year, I have written two books that have yet to be published.

Should they ever see the light of day readers will come across names like Barnett, Fields, Shelback, Bennett, McCray and many more from my family graveyard of names.

When trying to figure out who my characters were going to be in the stories I thought it would be fun to resurrect the dead and let them live a little once more. Some of them are now successful lawyers, doctors and just ordinary men on the street.

Then there are the characters I was granted permission to name after a few of my Facebook friends, neighbors, my children, my wife and some old girlfriends. Others were named after kids that I shared a seat with on the bus as we made our journey to school when I was a boy growing up in Mississippi.

I thought they would get a kick out of recognizing their names in a book someday should I ever hit the big time. For the time being, it appears they are safe in their anonymity. I have yet to publish those books.

As for now, buried somewhere in the Library of Congressís massive collection of manuscripts a few of my ancestors, acquaintances and friends will live on in a new life.

They are living a life much different than the one they lived while walking upon this earth. For a few it will be a life they could have only dreamed of. For others they are fun loving characters readers will fall in love with. But, the fact is, we all have a chance to live again upon this earth if only as a family namesake or a character in a book.

Death is not necessarily final for a few of us and I have been having a lot of fun resurrecting a few Southern ghosts.

If you are at all familiar with the movie, Sixth Sense, you are familiar with the line, ďI see dead people.Ē Take a look around you. How many folks do you know who are named after someone who was a limb on your family tree? If you do then you can never tell anyone you havenít seen a ghost because the person they were named after is living on in the memory of their name.

Some day you may live again when someone names a child or a character in a book after you. When it happens you will join the ranks of a few friendly ghosts.

As for me? I was named after my paternal grandfather, (Richard) Louis Algood. Where the Richard came from is only known by my long deceased aunt, Mavis Foster. She was the one my parents allowed to name me.

Perhaps she named me after one of her childhood friends or a movie star she happened to like. That part of my name will forever be a mystery.

I am still enjoying being named after the grandfather I never knew. He died twelve years before I was born. I was always told he was a fine man and that is encouraging because being named after him I would be a Southern ghost, too.

~ Not Necessarily The End ~

_______________
Rick Algood
January 16, 2011

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