November 18th…“HOW DID YOUR PARENTS CHOOSE YOUR FIRST AND MIDDLE NAMES?”
Nathaniel Bradford Noorlun COULD have been my name, but not. It was just one of many possibilities that my dear parents cogitated upon during my mother’s pregnancy as 1953 rolled on and early 1954 emerged. The great William Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You see, there’s a LOT of importance in what we’re tagged with for a name.
Through time immemorial, nearly every set of new parents have wanted to help set the destiny of the new life given to them by forging a combination of first and middle names that would embody the hopes and dreams they have for the tiny new life laying before them that God graciously bestowed as His gift and reward. Even the Holy Scripture celebrates this in the Book Of Psalms Chapter 127 and Verse 3 (New American Standard Version)….”Behold, children are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” So, even though I was hollerin’ up a storm, in those early days of 1954, my cherished parents had my best interests at heart by getting my life off to a good start with a good name.
Farming was a rewarding, but rugged profession for our father, Russell, that oftentimes resulted in injuries to his spine, shoulders, etc.. The daily rigors of heavy lifting, wrestling obstinate animals and muscling cumbersome machinery ……all the above took their toll on our hard-working father’s back. To find relief from those pains of farming, our dad periodically traveled to the city of my birth, Blue Earth, Minnesota. In a quiet neighborhood of that fair city, there resided a chiropractor by the name of Doctor Elliott Eugene Collison. Dr. Collison practiced his profession out of an office within his home there. Dr. Collison must’ve been a man of high moral fortitude and character because our farmer father greatly admired this kind man who knew how to adjust our dear daddy’s back to alleviate his pain and let him return to a healthier life on the farm. For, as anyone knows who’s been their own boss, there’s no “calling in sick” on a farm; you work through the pain until the job’s done. The glowing way that our dad talked about Dr. Collison, you’d think the man was even better than ice cream, itself. Dad’s admiration for his care-giver led him to share with the doctor one day…. “Ya know, Doc, if I ever have another son, I’m gonna name him after YOU!!!” It’s quite a compliment to know that your name will carry on into another’s generation by the way you lived your life in THIS generation. On top of all the attributes and accolades that this dear man of chiropractic medicine earned, it should also be known here that he was COMPLETELY BLIND.
Our dear mother, Clarice, liked the flow and significance of the name, Nathaniel, for her new son. The meaning of this autograph is drawn from the Hebrew language and means, “Gift Of God”. As she pondered that first name for me, she considered it to be a bit lengthy, so decided she’d shorten it to Nathan, which, in Hebrew, means “Gift”. Being the empathetic wife she was, she knew how much our dad wanted to call me, Elliott. As she pieced and arranged those names in her heart, she felt that Elliott Nathan Noorlun just didn’t have the “ring” to it on a birth certificate, so as a final compromise, of sorts, she and Dad agreed that Nathan WOULD be my first name and Elliott my middle. After all, it DID have a better flow in pronouncing my life “tag”.
True, it HAS been a bit of a life challenge for me, over the years. There it was, I had a first name that I didn’t use, unless forced to do so in school or business dealings, yet, I always had a special feeling of being recipient of a cognomen related to a fine man that my father admired greatly. Looking at it lightheartedly, I tease folks that they can call me anything they want, just don’t call me LATE FOR DINNER!! 🙂 So says the appellation of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.