Friday, October 31, 2014


"What is right can never be impossible."
                                           Lord Mansfield in the movie Belle

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's in a Name?

There are only two of us left, my daughter and I. The last of the Stark family. The last of this Stark family. My name-bearer brother went home to be with the Lord almost five years ago. But that’s no reason to let our name pass away with him. This has been my name for lo these many years and even when I’m married to the greatest of men, I plan to keep it. So, I will be Stark-Whathisname. 

You see, I like my last name. They tell me its origin is German and that it means “strong”. What’s not to like? In English it is an adjective that means forbiddingly bare and plain, unambiguous and harsh, complete, without clothes, and rigid. As an adverb it means utterly, to the utmost degree. I like those definitions too, as I have been all of them at one time or the other in my life.  Like today, I’m feeling utterly and to the utmost degree. Yes I am.

Friends have teased me about my name. One in particular calls me Stark Ravin’. She tells the truth. I can rave about one something or the other on a regular basis. But she never adds the final tag -- “Mad" --  so I don’t believe that she thinks I’m altogether cray. That’s a good thing.

Those who have really wanted to get under my skin have called me Stark Naked, pun intended. I’m no  prude, don’t mind being disrobed for a doctor, masseuse or a lover, but otherwise I really don’t like people talking under my clothes, thank you very much. So while I am utterly, complete and unambiguous, the without clothes things doesn't set well with me; especially not in mixed company.

Most people add an “s” to my name, attempting to identify me, along with them, as the property of the Stark’s plantation. While my family probably was owned by ole man Stark -- after all, I am a Black American -- my ancestors dropped the “s” for obvious reasons: Y’all don’t own me no mo’. Hence, I correct anyone who misspells or mispronounces it -- S t a r k, no “s” on the end, thank you very much.

Now this may have cost me some extended family because most Starks are, well Starks, not Stark (naked and utterly ravin’). But some of my could-be-cousins still embrace me as such (shout out to Tim and Marva) because they get it: I can drop the “s” and still be in the bloodline. Come on somebody.

And if this sounds like a rant to you, so be it. After all, we’re talking about my identity here. All that said, I’ve decided to keep my name until God takes me out of the earth. After all, it’s a good name because He, knowing I’d be born for such a time as this, gave it to me via my parents. When He takes me Home, I’ll return it to Him all wrapped up in a pretty pink package with a big silver and gold bow and a beautiful handwritten note that says With Love to You, from Your Daughter, The Strong, Forbiddingly Bare and Plain, Unambiguous and Harsh, Complete, Without Clothes, Rigid, Utterly, To the Utmost Degree, Karen the Stark.

Needed a laugh today,