When I was ten, my family and I visited my grandmother in Tampa, Florida for the Christmas holidays. I remember sitting on her front porch one dusky evening after dinner with my dad–my younger sister in his lap, and me in a rocker to his right.
I wasn’t accustomed to time spent like this with my busy father and something moved me to sing “Silent Night.” Being a pretty fair soprano in the school choir, I sent clear, sweet notes into the night air. My father must’ve enjoyed this little offering because he said to me, “That was nice, honey.” Unaccustomed to praise, I soaked up the compliment and the magic of the moment, as we sat quietly together.
Wanting to prolong the intimacy, I brought up a subject dear to my heart—horses. I had just finished reading “Black Beauty” and I asked my father, “Dad, if you had a horse what would you name it?” “Oh, honey, I’m no good at things like that,” he replied. But I insisted. “Come on, Dad. Just pretend. What would you name it?”
He stared out into the evening and thought for a moment. “Limpid,” he said. “Limpid?” I asked, perplexed and disappointed. All I could picture was some limping old nag. “What does that mean? Why did you pick that?” I asked. “Oh, if I had a horse it would be beautiful, like a limpid pond.”
I was disappointed at his choice, but kept it to myself. No matter. Soon, my mom called us to come inside and it was back to business as usual.
I found out years later that my father had chosen my name. Cecilia. Looks like I got off easy.