As we were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, my dad announced that he had a story he wanted to tell. I don't remember exactly what he said, something along the lines of AND IT COULD CHANGE LIFE AS WE KNOW IT, but he said it in a way that was much less dramatic and also right after he said it he started eating, so I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be the eight million dollars I was thinking would be nice for someone to leave us.
SPOILER ALERT: Yeah. There's no money.
According to the story my dad was recently told, his grandfather (my great-grandfather) had been run out of the state of Virginia “at the end of a shotgun” after getting a girl pregnant and not marrying her. The irony of the story is that my great-grandfather himself had grown up without a father, after his biological dad had done the same thing to his mother – gotten her all good and knocked up and then run off. (Are you following this?) So it turns out that my great-grandfather had not taken his father's last name when he was growing up; he'd taken his MOTHER'S name instead. Which goes against All Basic Rules of Lineage, right? Especially in the early 1900s, when there was no such thing as Keeping Your Own Name or Hyphenating When You Feel Like It or any of that Modern Identity stuff. Back then, everyone took their father's names, right? Carrying on the family name with pride and all that jazz. I mean, granted, he had every right to take his mother's name, what with the completely absent father and everything, but that means that the WRONG LAST NAME has been handed down for the last few generations.
In other words, we're not who we thought we were. Or... well, something like that. I'm obviously not an expert. In fact, the truth is, I really had no idea what my dad was getting at after he told that story. This is the same reason I don't like listening to jokes, because I'm too worried that I'm not going to get the punch line at the end and I'm going to have to fake laugh and I have a really obvious fake laugh, and then I have to pretend that I get it until I can get home and ask Dave to explain it.
This time, though, I wasn't the only one staring blankly at him when he finished talking. Please explain to me how this could CHANGE LIFE AS WE KNOW IT?
“That means,” my dad helpfully continued, “that our last name shouldn't be Palmer after all.”
Here's where the blank looks changed to buggy eyes.
“Our last name,” he continued, “should be...”
“PLEASE DON'T SAY CASSEE, PLEASE DON'T SAY CASSEE,” my husband interjected.
“Our last name should be... THRASH,” my father announced.
OMG, people. Thrash! My maiden name should be Thrash. It's like, the coolest last name ever invented in the history of the whole wide world, right? I'm not sure that if I'd been named Emily Thrash, that I could have given that one up when I got married. I would have hyphenated AT THE LEAST. I might have even suggested that Dave take MY last name (I ask you, who messes with someone named Dave THRASH?), but unless Dave's brothers get on the ball and get themselves some offspring, Dave would have been the last procreating Cassee on his side of the family; the last one able to carry on the family name. So I doubt he would have been game. Not that it matters anyway, as my maiden name won't change, no matter how much I picture the Safeway checkout boy saying, “Do you need anyone to help you to your car, Mrs. Thrash?” Wait, no, the Safeway guy would never ask someone with the last name Thrash if they need help. Someone with the last name Thrash clearly DOES NOT need any help; someone with the last name Thrash is a certified bad-ass.
So short of a surprise eight million dollar inheritance, this was the next best thing to discuss while gathered around the Thanksgiving table, right? Totally juicy gossip about long-dead people who messed up the family tree.
Oh, wait. Except for the part where my brother and sister-in-law announced they were expecting in July. (I bet they wish they'd gone first with that one.) (No, seriously, I'm totally excited to be an aunt again.) (And I totally think Thrash would be an awesome name for a boy or a girl.)