Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jack Frost, no longer nipping at your nose

Among the obituaries in the Roseburg News Review in Roseburg, Ore., on April 24, 2007, was the story of the late Jack Frost.

I thought it was cool (pun intended) that Jack W. Frost, who died at the age of 82, served with the Army in Sitka, Alaska, on the Aleutian Islands near the end of World War II.

But I was surprised to see that Jack's parents gave him that wintry moniker. After all, his dad's name was Jack A. Frost.

I thought, "Didn't his dad know he'd be kidded about his name all his life?"

It's one of those things that we assume has been around forever.

While it's true in this case that the character Jack Frost has its roots in folklore that predated the modern Jack W. Frost's 1924 birthdate, I'm not certain that folks back then would have had the same kind of reaction to his name that I did.

I know Jack Frost because of Mel Torme's "A Christmas Song" with the lyric, "Jack Frost nipping at your nose."

My kids (grown men now, I should point out) would know Jack Frost from those Claymation stories about Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus that are shown on TV during the winter holiday season.

Names - and words, in general - can mean different things to people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds and interests and at different times in our history.

Deep thoughts on a snowy weekend in my neck of the woods.

1 comment:

Kay Powell said...

I had the AJC write an obit on Icy Snow Barfield, 103, on the basis of her name alone. It was a cool story, too. Her daddy delivered her in a log cabin in 1895 during a rare Georgia blizzard with 10-foot high snow drifts. Her named her, too.