We have halls of fame for athletes, alumni, musicians and politicians, among others, but is there one for nicknames?
If so, I hereby nominate my hometown of Hitchins in Carter County for enshrinement in that place of honor.
In fact, I’ll put it up against any other community in the U.S. for having the most colorful, perhaps even the strangest or most unusual nicknames.
I learned most of the nicknames as a young boy and picked up some of their given names later. But I have no idea even today of what legal names actually appeared on some of their birth certificates.
I do remember telling my parents that I felt slighted because I didn’t have one of those nifty nicknames.
From an original list of about 50 nicknames, I’ve selected 15 to share.
I offered a year ago to buy lunch for anyone in Carter County who could provide the correct last names of the entire list. Fortunately, no one got closer than 13.
As a bonus, I also received several suggestions for another nickname column.
I am prompted to use this recycled column today because one of my hometown characters recently passed away. He didn’t make the list but two of his brothers did.
The persons who carried or still carry these nicknames are good folks and I certainly intend no offense to them. I just like their nicknames.
Some had nicknames you might give a beloved family pet like “Boots” or “Hound Ears” or “Pooch.”
Some had nicknames related to their size like “Chigger” or “Moose.” Or perhaps to their food preferences like “Jelly” or “Soda Pop.”
Still others carried nicknames of two-word combinations like “Red Leather.” Some names were short like “Pud” or “Toggy.”
Others were musical like “Fiddle” or related to work like “Shovel Up” or to a boyhood job like selling “Grit.”
But the grand prize winner had a nickname that may have been unique in the entire world. I have no idea how or where it originated or why it stuck with him.
The man who had the winning nickname was a likeable person who seemed to have many friends, one of whom is the runner-up in this best nickname business.
No. 2’s nickname was “Ramcat.”
But I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. The hands-down winner is:
One final note on nicknames: I once thought I had the nickname of “Baxter” as a kid because I clearly recall hearing neighbors say, “here comes that little Baxter now.”