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What exactly is in a name

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POSTED: April 29, 2014 1:00 p.m.

I was traveling down Highway 20 last week on the way home from a mini-vacation with my family. I say mini-vacation because like most getaways, they’re too short! I usually drive separate from my wife and children because at some point I have to return home early for that thing they call “work.” Plus, somebody’s got to write this article.
Anyway, Highway 20 runs east-west through the panhandle of Florida, and while I was driving I noticed a sign as I was crossing a small bridge. The sign read, “Dismal Creek.” I commented to myself how odd a name for a waterway. It must be a very dreadful little creek. The Medieval Latin origin of the word, “dies mali,” literally means evil days. Yikes! How unlucky of a name is that? I’m happy to report I made it across that bridge and home safe.
There are plenty of places in this world with some unusual and quite possibly unlucky names. Take for example, Scratchy Bottom in England. Really? Or how about Lake Disappointment, Australia. Maybe they should have called it a pond if it is so disappointing.
Then there is Satan’s Kingdom. Yes, there are actually two villages with this name: one in Massachusetts and the other in Vermont — how would you like to tell people you live there? And Hell, Mich., had a winter storm earlier this year that actually froze the place over. Can’t quite figure why towns so far north where the weather is so cold would have these names.
Then there’s Nasty, a hamlet in Hertfordshire, England. I’ve never been to England but I actually grew up in a hamlet in Pennsylvania called Hometown. Now see, that’s a nice name to give your town. My hometown is Hometown. OK, that could be a little confusing.
For all the mountain climbers there’s Mount Despair. Not sure I would want to make that my first climb. And then we have Mount Slaughter and Mount Terror. It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
How about Hooker, Okla., as a name for a town? I’m sorry but I’m not raising my daughters there. There’s a place in Oregon named Idiotville. I’m not living there either.
Peculiar, Mo., and Embarrass, Minn., are two very unique names. Embarrass is one of the coldest places in the continental U.S., where the mid-winter temperature will drop to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. It has been known to snow there in June. OK, I’m done complaining about our weather here in Bryan County.
Chicken, Alaska, is not where I want to spend my dying days, that’s for sure. And Boring, Tenn., sounds, uh, pretty boring. So does Dull, Scotland. Dead Woman Crossing, Okla., hmmm. Gee, there has to be some better names out there for all these towns.
I have never been to Hawaii, but I have heard it is beautiful. There’s a place in Maui called Poopoo. I’m sure it is nice. I just couldn’t bring myself to say I live in Poopoo — or even near Poopoo.
Alright, that’s enough. Sorry for that last one but I couldn’t help myself. I did find the name of a place my wife would like. It’s called Hot Coffee, Miss. That sounds inviting. As for me, I think I’ll stick with good ol’ Richmond Hill, Ga. I kinda like the sound of that name.

DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. Contact him at 912-531-7867 or visit him on the web at www.thesuitesatstationexchange.com.

 

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