God willing, come June, our next grandson’s name will be Luke Michael Phillips. What a wonderful name. Luke, the Apostle, and Michael, one of the few archangels named in the Bible. Julie and Tim could not have done better.
Getting to that name, at least on the Jacobsen side of the family, was never destined to be a simple decision. Laura and I knew any final name selection always was going to be the Phillips’, as did Kelly. That does not mean any of us would let that decision be made without our oft-preposterous opinions.
Life in our home is one filled with debate, strong opinions, humor, laughter, tears and an amazing amount of fun on every front. Nothing is ever taken simply at face value. Our family dinners are a multi-leveled battle royale of every emotion possible. Laura grew into this hilarious insanity quickly and now swings away as a true verbal professional power hitter. There are moments, though, when I catch myself wondering what Tim thinks of all this given his quiet Southern demeanor? Fortunately, Tim is learning to survive and now gets in his licks whenever we pause for a breath.
Laura and I were in California when news came that the baby Julie carries is a boy. Immediately, Laura was Googling lists of names. We promised ourselves to not be as preposterous with our list as we had before the birth of our first grandson, Jake. Our list included very simple names such as Jackson, Dawson, Dakota, Jordan, Clint, Hugh, Lewis, Carson, Ryder, Mason, Karsten and Cosmo, which we texted to Julie. Surprisingly, the initial response was positive with only six names cut immediately.
One of the early casualties was Hugh, my initial favorite. My thought was that Hugh rolled smoothly off the tongue with a certain easy-going feel. Given how high energy Jake is every day, I thought maybe the next grandson might give everyone a few moments of peace with such a smooth name.
The emphatic response from the Phillips was that no child of theirs was going to have any ties back to Hugh “Playboy” Hefner. The thought of a grandson lounging in silk pajamas all day was enough for me to let that name go.
Meanwhile, Kelly was trying to bounce back from the crushing news she would not have a niece joining the family, a personal demand she made known to all. Trying to overcome her disappointment, she quickly locked in on Hunter. Sam was her fallback.
Before we returned to Kansas, Julie informed us Luke Michael was the likely name. It was not on our list, but we quickly agreed on the great choice. This all seemed so simple. Naturally, that would not last.
We were soon asked to decide between the names Hunter Thomas and Hunter Mason. What happened? Laura took the succinct but blunt path by texting back, “I still like Luke Michael” prompting Julie to reply, “That is not a help.”
My response, “You can’t name any family member the same name of a current KU basketball player” as long as Laura and I work at KU. Every KU fan would comment how the grandson was named after Hunter Mickelson. At least the time between our grandson’s birth and the playing career of former Jayhawk Luke Axtel would be long enough no one would remember.
Julie remained adamant. The time came to take this to a more enlightened mindset. I suggested they “just fill out the name to Hunter S. Thompson Phillips, to honor the great gonzo journalist” and a personal favorite writer from the glory days of Rolling Stone. We could call our grandson “Gonzo for short.” That set off fear and loathing in the Phillips household. You would have thought I suggested we all “shoot heroin directly into our eyeballs.” If you cannot understand all that, I suggest reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas immediately. When you stop laughing and come back to your senses, you will understand.
It was desperation time. I went back to Laura’s and my initial list. “What about Ryder? It would be a solid golf name.” Since Tim is an avid golfer and Jake will soon be out-driving me, I thought this might get some solid backspin and land close to the naming pin. The response was nearly immediate, “Tim says Hunter is good golf name too.” I responded, “but have you seen a photo of Hunter Mahan?”
Then came the question to me, “What was your father’s middle name?” This was going to be difficult. My father’s full name was Julius Godfrey Jacobsen. Never popular with him, my father’s formal name was the Rev. J.G. Jacobsen, and Jake to anyone that knew him. That name now blesses our first grandson.
My totally preposterous response was to use the middle name of Almighty to go with Godfrey. People in frustration over some crazy antics the grandson might inherit from me could just cry out, “God Almighty Phillips.”
The funny realization is that Julie and Kelly both were born without our knowledge of their sex. During name discussions back then, no male name was chosen. Only the names Julie and Kelly were ready when both entered this world. God knew. Julie revealed that even before the sex of their children was known, only boy’s name were discussed. Again, God knew.
Surprisingly, even after we were sure Hunter was going to be the name, Julie still pondered the name Luke Michael. The Biblical significance of those names won out. Ah, but there is still Jacobsen blood coursing through Julie and many more family dinners and text messaging sessions to come before June. Laura believes the name game remains far from settled.