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Friday, August 1, 2008

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Picking a name and
saving a marriage

Maybe it was because the past few months at the Briggs household were chaotic.

Three young children, pregnancy with number four for mom, and open heart surgery with numerous field trips to Houston for Dad, made for some busy and tiring weeks.

And, we have never named any of our children before they were born. She-who-must-be-obeyed and I agree on one thing – we like to see the little rascal before we hang a life-long moniker on it.

But, in the past, we have had some names picked out by the due date – a short list anyway.

Of course, after three beautiful girls, neither of us expected number four to be a boy.

So, we had a short list of girl names when SWMBO had her first contraction, but were woefully unprepared for a new family member who more resembled dad.


Then again, maybe we are simply terrible procrastinators. SWMBO first started having labor pains around noon on Tuesday. With the three girls at a friend’s house we headed for Odessa, but upon arrival SWMBO informed me that she was not ready to go to the hospital.

She prefers to be able to walk during the early stages of labor, and once you check in to the hospital walking opportunities seem to diminish.

So we went to a bookstore.

Being a good husband I gave my wife some privacy and found the history and political isle hoping to find something to help while away the hours of labor.

Half and hour later I went hunting her and found her by following the worried stares of several store employees. She was in the self-help section and was reading one of the “How-to-have-a-baby” books like a freshman cramming for an exam, only pausing for an occasional contraction.

Next to Webster’s definition for procrastination mom standing there in the bookstore should be the illustration. Anyway, two days later, we were back, and this time it was the real deal. Our new son was born hale and hearty, and SWMBO emerged in good health as well.

“What are you going to name him?”

the nurse asked.

The silence was deafening.

“Lucy” seemed a poor choice suddenly.

And so it began.

That was 25 minutes into Friday.

Monday morning we found ourselves at home, with a baby, and no name save a half-dozen impromptu nicknames hung on him for lack of anything else. SWMBO and I were at an impasse.

The night before, in desperation, she had found a list of famous cowboy names and called me to the computer.

I started reading them off aloud.

“These are great!” I said. I liked them all.

“Those are the names of their horses!” SWMBO exclaimed before storming out of the room to cry or maybe plot my impending doom. Maybe both.

They were good names. I’ve been “Smokey” all my life and never met another “Smokey” except for a few of the four-legged variety.

“Smokey” always worked for me so maybe I’m prejudiced a little toward names often reserved for faithful canines and equines.

“Rocket” and “Trigger” seemed pretty good to me.

Actually I was pushing for “Maximus.”

That is simply a cool name. And you can go by “Max” for short.

“Virgil” is also a favorite of mine.

Both were vetoed in fits of pure irrationality on SWMBO’s part.

As we compared lists for the umpteenth time Monday morning, SWMBO said, “Who are you? I don’t even know you.”

I think she was getting a little frustrated, but gals can be a bit moody right after they domino and I did not let it worry me much.

We had to be back in Odessa to sign the birth certificate by 4:00 pm or Baby Boy Briggs would be written in government stone, and neither of us wanted to have to go through the process of erasing stone.

Finally, like blood coaxed from stone by a giant’s mighty grip, and under deadline, it happened.

Charlie Otis Briggs was named.

We arrived at the hospital about ten minutes before four o’clock.

My son is not named Maximus, but I am still married, and I was not brutally murdered by an axe-wielding, hormone-laden wife.

I’m calling it a tie.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise. He can be emailed at:

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