Surnames carry reputations

Surnames are a pretty big deal in Eastern New Mexico. They connect you with a family, good or bad and help connect us.

I met a guy working a booth at the N.M. Ag Expo this year who was wearing a co-worker’s nametag. He wasn’t from the area but he had a last name in common with a big local family with members in Curry and Roosevelt counties.

He took the nametag off, not because he had anything against the family but because he got tired of explaining, no, he wasn’t related to any of the locals by the same name.

I can relate with the fellow. More times than not, when I offer someone my name it touches off a query of: Are you related to so-and-so and how are you all related. It really breaks the ice but I’m not always up on what my third cousin twice-removed is doing or where his kids are going to school.

Lots of times, though, people that don’t know me from Adam will hit the Lotto the first try and name my parents in the roll call. Then you have a connection you can build on and generally in a matter of minutes we’ll both be reminiscing old times.

I’ve got to admit I’ll use the same name game on other people. If I recognize the family name, they’re usually going to get grilled. I’ve run onto lots of kids of classmates that way, even one in the family the booth guy was trying to disassociate himself with.

I’ve also had people hit me with a surname that made them immediately suspect to me. I’m not proud of that and I shouldn’t let my acquaintance with their relative color my opinion of them. I sure wouldn’t want them to do that of me.

My surname has helped me through gates to quail hunt and it’s gotten me cussed before I could even state my purpose. Once it even got me out of a traffic ticket.

Several years back the high school kids across the country had a popular phrase that even made it to T-shirts and got yelled at basketball games. “Who’s your daddy?”

It always made me laugh when I heard it, because I heard it all my life growing up. I’ve always been pretty proud to give the answer.Standard text. Utopina 10.5/12 leading, ragged right