Just for fun, fit these names – Death by Chocolate / Misty Morning / Mountain Meadow / Razzle Dazzle Rose / Shirley / Snowball / Tickled Pink / Thor / Tickle Me Pink – into one or more of these categories: CRAYOLA CRAYONS ~ DESSERTS ~ PAINT COLORS ~ ROSES ~ WINTER STORMS.
Although I mentioned fun, the game is not as simple as the categories might suggest, especially when one name describes very different items. Allow me to illustrate.
PAINT COLORS (Misty Morning, Mountain Meadow, Death by Chocolate) ~ This interior design category contains perhaps the most creatively-named entrants. Misty Morning and Mountain Meadow certainly resemble the paint names on those little color cards at DIY stores – as do Barn Door, Ballet Slipper, and even Teal We Meet Again. Much more is left to the painter’s imagination, however, with Hugs & Kisses, Skipping School, and Anonymous.
Predictably, paint colors are based on marketing strategy. Much research and team input precede the assignment of names to the stuff we use to cover the walls in our houses. Paint companies attempt to evoke in their customers some sense of elegance, comfort, adventure, quirkiness, to mention a few – all of which leads me to wonder how Dead Salmon and Atomic Vomit ever made any list.
And then there is Death by Chocolate, which I have never knowingly poured into a paint tray. To me, this name has always alluded to the most decadent dessert imaginable.
DESSERTS (Death by Chocolate, Snowball, Thor) ~ Unlike paint names, desserts and their recipes are more likely to be passed from one generation to the next. Their names may be based on location: Baked Alaska, Texas Sheet Cake, Boston Cream Pie, Buckeyes.
However, the dessert category has its own set of oddities, if we take names at face value. Consider ladyfingers or the domed, frozen dessert known as a bombe. I will never forget the concern of a German exchange student, whose host mother whipped up Dirt Cake for our family potluck, and then there are the ever-popular poke cakes. Some Snowballs are small chocolate cakes covered with marshmallow fluff and coconut flakes. And Thor is a deep-fried pastry covered in a thick sugar glaze.
As for confusing dessert names, however, I continue to search for the definitive characteristics of a cobbler, a crisp, a crumble, a buckle, a pandowdy, a brown betty, a slump, and a grunt!
ROSES (Misty Morning, Snowball, Tickled Pink) ~ As much as I love roses, the extent of my knowledge about them has been mostly limited to the rambler roses in our yard on River Road, tea roses and cabbage roses whose names I have run across in novels, and the variously-hued roses I have received as gifts. Clearly, the names Snowball and Tickled Pink describe the colors of two roses. By the way, the Misty Morning rose is a peachy pink.
I now know that breeders register the names of the roses they develop with the American Rose Society. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of roses named for famous people such as Marilyn Monroe, Paul McCartney, and Princess Diana. A Dutch breeder once created a series with each rose named for one of the Seven Dwarfs. I like the sound of Peace and Knock Out as rose names, although I would be hard pressed to identify either of them. My favorite rose name is a German one: the Pfingstrosen in Ingrid’s garden each year were the peonies blooming back home.
CRAYOLA CRAYONS (Mountain Meadow, Razzle Dazzle Rose, Tickle Me Pink) ~ Tucked into my cigar box of first-grade supplies was a box of Crayolas, eight crayons with basic, one-word names. I soon lusted after the next box up, although I never progressed further than the box of 16.
How times have changed! There are now boxes of 24, 48, 96, 120, and 152 crayons. How could any child even lift that largest box, which includes metallic and glitter crayons?
There are, of course, also 152 crayon color names – far too many to list here. Names like Dandelion have been retired and replaced by Bluetiful in an effort to remain modern. Razzle Dazzle Rose, Macaroni & Cheese, and Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown along with Neon Carrot and Tickle Me Pink are cases in point. But what kid can really relate to Mountain Meadow, Sepia, or Antique Brass – or would ever choose Eggplant or Asparagus?
I am also not sure if names actually mean much to kids. If Susie wants a red crayon, does she distinguish between Radical Red, Brick Red, or Scarlet? Anyway, the paper where the name is printed will eventually be peeled away.
WINTER STORMS (Thor, Shirley) ~ Since 2012, The Weather Channel has named winter storms, much as the World Meteorological Organization names tropical disturbances during hurricane season. That first list, assembled by TWC senior meteorologists, was heavy on ancient history names.
Since then, however, Latin students at a Montana high school have suggested names, including Thor in 2015. I am not sure these names have generally caught on, particularly not with the National Weather Service. I myself did not even realize I was a winter storm this year until I saw my name in the corner of TWC screen as I flipped through channels.
But now that I am a meteorological darling, can a paint color, a rose, a crayon, and a dessert named for me be far behind?
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.