G is for Green as a surname (ABCW)

“a medium light hue of greenish gray similar to asparagus, but lighter”

Mr. Green Jeans, Captain Kangaroo, 1960
When Green is your last name, you have heard every joke there is about it. “Mr. Green Jeans,” a character from the Captain Kangaroo children’s show, played by Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum, when I was growing up. Green tambourine, a song by the Lemon Pipers, a #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week in early February, 1968. “Green, green jelly bean,” whatever THAT is, and others too mundane to repeat.

Kermit the Frog was right: it’s not that easy bein’ Green. “It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.”

So when my wife and I were thinking about first names for our now-teenager, among the MANY rules I had was that it could NOT be a SHADE of Green. And there are quite a few of them.

Hunter Green – “a color that is a representation of the color worn by hunters in the 19th century” – terribly out of date, though in fact that there are at least three prominent people named Hunter Greene

Kelly Green – “the name derives from the fact that the surname Kelly, as well as the color green, are both popular in Ireland” – Besides being gender non-specific, my hangup at the time, the Kelly Song from the TV show Cheers was rattling around in my head

Laurel Green -“a medium light hue of greenish gray similar to asparagus, but lighter” – I’m not that fond of asparagus.

Olive Green – “the shade of dark yellow-green found on green olives. It has been commonly used by militaries around the world as a color for uniforms and equipment.” Give peace a chance. Moreover, Olive Oyl is Popeye’s lanky girlfriend.

Paris Green – ranges from pale and vivid blue green to deeper true green. It comes from the inorganic compound copper (II) acetoarsenite and was once a popular pigment in artists’ paints”

For ABC Wednesday

G is for things beginning with G

I suppose I could have gone with gray.

greenland_map_220Leslie, part of our ABC Wednesday team, posted this on Facebook. I’m lazy enough to stretch it into a whole blog post.

“The last name game: Use the first letter of your last name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real places, names, things, nothing made up.”

1. Last name? Green.

2. An animal? Giraffe. I could have gone with one of these, but it was the first thing I thought of.

3. A boy’s name: George. The obvious choice, other names notwithstanding. My wife and daughter’s distant relative is Prince George of Cambridge. Plus, for some sort of linguistic reason, it is the name I’m most often mistakenly called.

4. A girl’s name: Gina. The first name that came to mind, as opposed to these.

5. An occupation?: Ghostwriter. I think I could do that. Here are other options.

6. A color? Green. I suppose I could have gone with gray. Actually, I couldn’t.

7. Something you wear? Glasses, because I do. I almost went with gloves, which I also wear a good deal of the time. Or galoshes, which I think is a funny word. Some other choices.

8. A beverage? Green tea. Since I don’t like gin, all my obvious choices had two words – ginger ale (drink it when I’m sick), grape juice (reminds me of Communion), grapefruit juice (drank in lieu of orange juice in the 1970s). More ideas.

9. A food? Green grapes. Grapefruit, graham crackers, and green beans were contenders. Other options, though adding “grilled” to food I think is a bit of a cheat.

10. Something found in the bathroom? Germs. Literally, the only thing that came to mind. Hadn’t thought of these.

11. A place? Greenland. There are, of course, tons of these, so I limited the list to countries. I first thought of Greece but settled for my homeland. Here are other countries.

12. A reason you’re late? Gridlock. Again, my first consideration. From this roster, the best ones start with the word “got” … a flat tire, in an accident.

13. Something you shout? Gadzooks. Seriously, the initial thing that came to mind, and there are plenty on this list that I have said far more often, including gosh, groovy, go away, get out, get away from me, goal, golly, Gesundheit, and good grief.

14. Something you hate? Greed. Didn’t find a list I liked. Gossip is another option. I suppose the universe of G things might apply.

15. A band? Green Day. There are lots of them, and Genesis, the first book in the Bible, actually came first to mind. Or the Go-Go’s, who I saw perform a few decades ago. Or something from this compendium. But let’s pretend that I’m as GREEN obsessed as I feign to be.

A song from those three groups, the ones I most associate with each group:

Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

The Go Go’s – We Got the Beat

Green Day – American Idiot

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

Surname of Green

Sometimes the surname Green can be of Irish origins.

St-Patricks-DaySomeone in my office recently asked me the derivation of my last name. I instinctively knew it was rooted in Great Britain and/or Ireland, but I had not looked it up in a while.

This is what I found HERE.

Recorded in the spellings of Green and Greene, this is one of the most widespread of English, and sometimes Irish, surnames. It is usually of pre 7th century origins, and derives from the word “grene” meaning green.

As such it may be topographical for a person resident by a village green or even a place called Green, or as a status name for a young man who played the part of the mystic and fertile “Green Man” sometimes known as “Jack in the Green”, in the May Day fertility celebrations. In this context “green” was symbolic of youthful ardour, spring, and the re-growth of nature.

Sometimes the surname can be of Irish origins, and a translation of the ancient Gaelic given name “Uaithne”. As this also means “green,” it probably has the same basic meaning and origin as the English form.

Green is the 37th most popular surname in the United States, I’ve read multiple places.

Truth is that I’m not certain of my English and/or Irish roots, though surely I have one or both, based on family lore. But on St. Patrick’s Day, I’m willing to yield to the wearing of the green, just in case.

My Life In ABCs

So why do some people call me George?

This seems like a suitable abecedarian follow-up to ABC Wednesday, which I did on Tuesday. Here is something from a Thursday Thunks from a few months ago, which I’m actually doing on a Thursday, which is unusual.

“This week is going to be easy… just one question. Ok, well maybe not so easy. Take each letter of the alphabet and describe something in your life… don’t skip any!”

A – Apples. I like them, especially McIntosh and Macoun, which is a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey Black; not as tart as the Mac.
B – Beatles. My wife got for me the Mono box for Christmas; it’s only in the later albums, Revolver and the white album in particular, where I really hear the difference between that and the standard recordings.
C – California: almost certainly the state I have flown to the most. When I visited my parents in North Carolina, I sometimes have gone by car or train. But seeing my sister in San Diego, it’s by air. Also flew to my niece’s graduation from Berkeley a few years back.
D- The Defenders. One of my favorite Marvel Comics (Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, the Hulk, and others) and one of my favorite TV shows (E.G. Marshall and a pre-Brady Bunch Robert Reed as father-and-son attorneys).
E – I like eggs poached, fried, scrambled, deviled, boiled, or in an omelet. The salmonella scare hasn’t reached New York state – yet.
F – French. the language I took in high school. By my third year, I was pretty bad, so my skills are rather rudimentary.
G – Green. Last name, also a favorite color.

When I’m giving my name, I say “Green, like the color,” and about 30% of the time, I’ll get the response, “Is that with an E?” which is really confusing, because it actually has two Es. What they mean is whether there is an E at the end. NO, it’s LIKE THE COLOR.
H – Hockey. I actually saw it played once live, in Albany. It was an exhibition between USA and Sweden, i think. It’s a much better sport in person than on TV.
I – Ice cream: strawberry is my favorite. I’ll generally pick vanilla over chocolate.
J – Jigsaw puzzles: I have an amazingly little patience for them.
K – I know way more Kellogg’s cereal commercials than anyone has a right to.
L – My father AND my sister are both named Leslie. This caused ME some difficulty. Since people knew my father had a child named Leslie, they would assume it was me, and folks at church called me Little Les, which irritated me greatly.
M – Mourning. I went to more funerals between September and November 2004, three, than I have in some whole years.
N – Night. I used to be a night person before I started going out with my now-wife; now 10:30 p.m. is really late. Can’t even make it to midnight on New Years Eve anymore.

O – Odetta is the late folk singer who, along with Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger, had a large effect on my father’s music.
P – Paris. If I had a chance to go to one foreign city, it would be Paris.
Q – I usually did well on surprise quizzes in school as a kid, especially in math.
R – Roger. My name. So why do some people call me George? Just a couple of weeks ago, a colleague who’d known me for years asked for George Green. It must be the J sound, the common letters; oh, I don’t know. Also, even my grandfather spelled my name Rodger.
S – I have two sisters, no brothers. I used to wonder what it’d be like if I had had a brother, though not for a long time.
T – I like tea, but I don’t drink coffee. Actually, i don’t drink tea that much either unless it’s cold out.
U – There is this couple from my old church that returned to Mongolia, then came back to the United States. She works for the United Nations, maybe 160 miles away, but I haven’t had a chance to see them again.
V – “Villain” is one of those words I have to think about, lest I spell it incorrectly, as “villian”. “Nuptials” is another, which I want to spell “nuptuals”.
W – When people come up to me on Wednesday morning and tell me, “Well, the week’s half over, we’re over the hump, it’s almost the weekend,” I cringe inside. I’m more receptive on Thursday morning, though I do worry about people wishing their lives away.
X – I believe the first X-rays I ever got, aside from dental, were on my left knee in 1994 when I had torn my meniscus.
Y – I have no particular skills with the yo-yo, or for yodeling.
Z – The only zoos I recall going to were in my hometown of Binghamton (NY), the Bronx (NY), and San Diego (CA).

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