Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
I never liked my first name.
My father told a story about how I got my name that my mother never contradicted. She had wanted to name me Mary Kathleen. He preferred Bridget Corinne, with “Corinne” having been his grandmother’s name. They compromised on “Bridget Kathleen”, planning to call me “Bridget Kay”. After completing the paperwork, my father got to writing the various permutations of the four names on a cocktail napkin at the bar where he drank. He and his buddies decided that “Mary Corinne” looked better with “Corley”. He went to the medical records department at the hospital where I was born, and worked his Irish charm on the clerk.
Their accounts differed only in their respective estimations of how long it took my father to tell my mother what he had done.
Throughout my childhood, kids teased me about almost every facet of my being, including my name.
“Mary, Mary, quite contrary,” they’d snicker.
“Mary had a little lamb!! Baaaa baaa baaaaa!” they’d sneer. They would let up on my name only long enough to point out my freckles, my funny walk, and, later, my flat chest and fat, unfashionable braids.
I planned to change my name after my parents died. In the meantime, I dropped the “Mary” in college when I worked for a doctor’s office in which four other staff members already claimed the name. I started using “Corinne”, and have done so ever since. I never got around to a formal change, and most of my siblings still call me by that awful name which I do not like.
I drove home a bit later than usual today, having stopped to get the pizzas for the Community Dinner. Clouds hung low over the island. A light spring rain had washed the dirt from Jackson Slough Road. As I made the last turn before the uphill climb to Brannan Island Road, a sight greeted me which I would never have seen on my commute in Kansas City. I stopped on the shoulderless levee road, rolled down the window, and started snapping pictures with my cell phone. I didn’t notice a truck coming behind me, but true to the politeness of the Delta, the driver simply changed lanes and drove past me. He didn’t even honk. I flicked my hand in thanks, and he nodded toward the rear view mirror.
Eventually, I too continued on my way, a little lighter of mood for my brief moment of connection with the larger world.
It’s the twenty-sixth day of the sixty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.