Before they passed away, my grandparents’ home in Arkansas was the hub of many family gatherings. Several years ago a group of us were there for a visit, including: my cousins Laura and Betty Anne; my Aunt Linda; and my mom and I. When that bunch got together there was always a lot of game playing (Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, etc.) and much general silliness.

One afternoon the focus of our attention centered on a man named Feester F. Fitzpatrick. Something about that name – Feester F. Fitzpatrick – struck us. Try saying it without a smile on your face. I honestly don’t remember if this was someone my great-aunt knew (“Oh, you remember Feester don’t you? He was Mytle’s neighbor’s friend.”) or if we simply saw him in the phone book; all I know is that it was determined that we simply had to know what that “F” stood for. [Yes, I’m aware that the last sentence ended with a preposition, on the day after the 100% language arts grade. While I’m at it, I’ve also decided that I will occasionally start sentences with conjunctions. It’s my blog and I’ll conjunct if I want to and break grammatical rules at will.]

We couldn’t just call and say, “By the way, Feester, what is your middle name?” Surely a bold move, but lacking the proper degree of finesse. And silliness. And we were all about the silliness. [I will take this opportunity to remind you that these were grown women involved in this caper. I was in my mid-twenties at the time, and everyone but my younger cousin either was, or was old enough, to be my mother.] Instead, we called him under the guise of survey takers. I think my cousin Betty Anne, a wacky Texan, actually made the call. I don’t remember what “survey” she took, but it required his full name. Supposedly, he would receive a carton of Coke for his efforts.

You have to imagine this group of giggling women dying of suspense while Betty Anne completed her survey-taking as professionally as the finest Gallup pollster. Success! And then we knew: Fay. Feester Fay Fitzpatrick, in all its alliterative glory. I confess that afterward we suffered an attack of conscience about the Cokes, and we almost bought a pack that night and left them on his front porch. Occasionally, I’ll remember Feester with a smile, although a twinge of guilt about the Cokes remains.

Thanks for letting me share my silly story.

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