Getting married brings lots of changes to one's life. The most obvious, a new last name. For most of my life I was convinced that I would not change my last name. Or at the very least, I would hyphenate. Seriously. Well, enter Nicholas. This crazy fellow turned my world upside down and inside out. He was and is everything I am not. The day after we met I told my best friend A that "my heart was in trouble." Flash forward to 2013, Nicholas proposed and eight short months later we walked the aisle. In preparation for the wedding, we completed the obligatory marriage license documents. Towards the bottom of the form, it asks about the bride's new last name. With no hesitation at all I wrote "Born" in the last name field.
Yes, in the blink of eye I abandoned a long-held conviction with no regret at all. To this day, I don't know that I can explain my change of heart other than it was just right. Perhaps the words of the Avett Brothers will give it a little more context, "...theres was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name." Right on, huh?
I still love and respect the idea of a woman choosing to retain her own family name or hyphenating. I thought I'd be in that club but it turns out I really love being Mrs. Born, plain and simple. Though, just because I now sign another four letter last name doesn't mean I am any less of a Pope. I am the last Pope born into my Grandpa's side of the tree. With or without that name on my driver's license, that's still my place and still my honor.
In observance of Memorial Day, I think it's only fitting I introduce you to the dapper man who gave my family of origin its name. Kermit Pope served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 1940's. He'd suffered polio as a boy and was left with one leg shorter than the other...in other words, a ticket right to rejection from the Service. But, my Grandpa had a sense of obligation like no other, coupled with family pride, so he fashioned a wood block to wear in his shoe so that he could qualify. He was a member of "the Greatest Generation" and is still one of the greatest men I've ever known. He owned and operated a pharmacy for over 40 years after his service and was a dedicated community leader before serving your community was cool.
Being a Pope means a lot of things, specifically dedicated involvement to many things and people in the communities we co-exist in. But being a Pope also means you must LOVE potatoes. No questions asked. Period. My Grandpa often said that his girls (he had 1 grandson and the rest granddaughters) would have potatoes coming out of their big ears (inherited trait from him) if someone didn't take away our spoons. This favorite starch was a staple (sometimes in multiple forms) at big family meals. And every time I have a serving, er I mean a heap of, incredible potatoes, it makes me feel a little closer to my family.
On Saturday of this Memorial Day Weekend, I cooked potatoes. Gasp! That's underwhelming, huh?
These were not any just ol' taters... they were crispy salt and vinegar potatoes. Tangy, salty, and utterly swoon-worthy... Do yourself a favor and visit Climbing Grier Mountain's blog for the recipe. I feel like this food blogger and I would hit it off just splendidly. Her family owns restaurants (i.e. Harry's and Bourbon and Baker) in Manhattan, KS (aka The Little Apple; aka one of my most loved cities). It's a total bonus that she makes AWESOME food and shares the details.
Here's a snapshot of our rendition of Lauren's recipe. Gosh, pixels can't even do them justice.
Potato. Patato. Papas. No matter how you say it, they're delicious and they're a food of my family. Reflect some this holiday weekend on what matters most and why we're able to enjoy the things we do. And most of all remember, be who you are and adore what makes you, YOU. If it means a few extra calories, so be it.