By Dick Ham
I was just thinking the other day about my name, Ham, and some of the funny things I’ve experienced because of it.
First of all, my family knew how to spell Ham. Evidently the others thought the addition of another M would add class. My family knew it wouldn’t help.
For many years, my mother taught children in Sunday school. One year, at the beginning of a new semester, she met a new class of boys and girls. On that first Sunday, she very carefully explained to them that her name was Mrs. Ham and that is what they were to call her. The next Sunday a mother brought her son to the class and laughingly said to mom. “You’ll never believe what Tommy told me.” Mom replied, “No, but please tell me.” The lady said, “Tommy came home from Sunday school last week and I asked, ‘Who is your new Sunday school teacher?’ He said, “Her name is Mrs. Meat.”
My dad worked for many years for Standard Oil of Kentucky. This company later sold out to Standard of California and used the brand name Chevron. Dad was in the City Sales Department, Petroleum Products Division. A man named Bacon was in City Sales, Tires, Batteries and Accessories. When weather was cold and calls for fuel oil were numerous, the telephone operator would give calls to whichever office had an open line. One day, a call was sent to Mr. Bacon and he had answered as they always did, “Order department, Bacon speaking.” The call was accidentally closed and the lady called back. This time my Dad received the call and he answered, “Order Department, Ham speaking.” The lady, who was already out of patience literally yelled at Dad, “What kind of game are you people playing, I just talked with a man who claimed his name was Bacon and now you say your name is Ham?” Dad tried very patiently to convince the lady both names were real but he was not sure he convinced her.
During the ‘60s, I served as Minister of Music at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington. It was during that time the church relocated from it’s original location at the corner of Woodland Ave. and High St. to their current location on Tates Creek Road. There was a Kosher Delicatessen in Chevy Chase, “Greenwald’s” The owner, Dave Greenwald was an Orthodox Jew. Dave and I discovered we had both graduated from the same high school in Louisville and we developed a very warm friendship. I ate lunch with him two or three time every week. He made the best Pastrami and Corned Beef sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. He sliced the meat and bread for every sandwich and they were fresh and fantastic.
One day, as I was enjoying a Pastrami sandwich, Dave walked over to my table and said, “You know Dick, I’ve decided, with the name Ham, you couldn’t even convert to Judaism.”
I saw a cartoon a few days ago, that showed two pigs. One said to he other, “Personally, I wish the whole world were Jewish.”
Trivia Answer – The songwriter whose first song, written when he was 18, was “Open Thy Lattice, Love” was Stephen Foster. He is much more known to Kentuckians as the composer of “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Trivia Question – Little America, abandoned in 1958, was in what far-off locale?
Thought of the day – Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.