Touring with Terry

The Name Game

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I’m not much for naming things.  Both of my cats came pre-named. Still kittens, they probably could have adapted easily to whatever I chose to call them, as long as it came attached to food.  But why bother? Layla not only seemed appropriate to my sleek, winsome Russian blue extract, it’s the title of my favorite Eric Clapton song.  Vito, on the other hand, I suspected would be problematic. He’s a tiger with perfectly symmetrical stripes and a sturdy build. People think he’s a bruiser because he’s a big guy, but, in truth he is placid and a mama’s boy. With a voracious appetite.  Layla nibbles their vet-approved, grain-free, expensive cat food, self-feeding in delicate bites.  Vito gobbles his with one eye on Layla’s bowl and the other on mine. Cat hasn’t met a morsel he won’t eat. Turns out his particular passion is Italian. Not just the occasional stolen meatball, but pasta, mozzarella cheese, and, no kidding, black olives.  I should have called him “Slim.”

Speaking of Italian names, I am Maria Teresa Palma, for my paternal grandmother and the aunt who was my confirmation sponsor. That formidable woman dubbed me “Terry” at birth, the name by which I have since lived my life, despite the fact that it seems better suited to a petite, blue-eyed blonde than a brunette, operatic, hour-glass kind of gal. It got worse. The nuns anglicized me into Mary Therese, adding insult to injury by inserting the French h; school friends called me T-bone, countless clerks filled in Terri, and an obscure printer decided that Tess was a better fit on a standard business card.  

I had step-children, so of-course, one doesn’t rename them. I lived in a small jewel of a house perched on a hill above the Pacific that became “The Sugar Cube” thanks to a friend who didn’t seem to appreciate the fact that our house hung over a huge body of water. The kids named the pets; every car I ever owned was “Nellie.” I refuse to refer to my bosom as “the girls,” or to tag my garden plot “Sweet Repose.” Good decision since, this summer, my “repose” was invaded first by Japanese beetles and later by a swarm of yellowjackets that forced us to rope it off with yellow crime scene tape.  

Nope, not for me, the name game.  Until I needed help to walk. We already know the Motivo Tour is no ordinary walker. It’s an event. A rock star.  It attracts attention, both for its technological advances, and for its smashing design. First and foremost, Motivo Tour keeps me upright and pain free. It also adds a spark of fun to my circumstance. The Tour starts conversations, elicits admiration, expands my range of activity, and enhances my enjoyment. The Tour goes shopping with me, on picnics, to concerts, out to dinner. Tour is there for Scrabble games, doctor visits, garden chores, a walk in the park. It gives me a place to rest, a sense of security, renewed energy. My Tour has become a companion.  I decided it deserved a name. 

What I hear most often is “oh, you have a Cadillac.” Or a Mustang, or a Corvette, or a Roman chariot. I’ve even heard Batmobile. Apparently, some people see ears. Since my Tour is Salsa Red, I considered Chile, Taco, Pepper. The coolest Salsa name already exists: one young Motivo owner calls her Tour “Carla Santana.” Spice in motion. Perfect.

Nothing less would do, so my Tour remained nameless.

Lightning struck in the form of a teenager who opened the Westmont Library door for me one rainy afternoon. You’ve got yourself a Tesla, he grinned.

Say what?  You know, the car with wings. Well I didn’t know. But the “Tess” part rang a bell. It became a clamor when later I drove by a new luxury car dealership on our main drag. It was a Tesla dealership, and parked outside was a flame red Tesla, with its “wings’ raised for lift off. 

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing MY set of wheels:  

Tess LaTour!