From The Battle of Mabonigon
Although the title of this work may read The Battle of Mabonigon Professor Isaiah Buxley was correct in warning his readers (and I will do the same) that the title is terribly misleading. It brings to mind some chronological analysis of political events, discussion of armaments, and terrain analysis. I’m afraid that this work is nearly useless to historians and military strategists who would like to learn and write about the battle. Very little is mentioned of the political proceedings of the conflict and there is nothing terribly illustrative to the weaponry mentioned in the book. Even the landscape is only mentioned casually without true references to facilitate an analysis.
This is the story of a young man named Hans and what he did at the battle. In Professor Buxley’s notes he speculated that the original name of this was Hans at the Battle of Mabonigon, but that somehow the title got shortened. Maybe someone spilled something on it. Well, whatever the reasons the story has a name, a beginning, and an end. Once again it takes place long enough ago we can’t ask anyone who was around which parts are true and which parts have colorful facts. We do know that it started on a Thursday. When Alan used to tell it to his kids he always made sure to be exact about what day of the week it started on. So it was Thursday.
One might think it odd for a boy to be named Hans, but it wasn’t so odd when this story takes place. What was a bit odd is why Hans was named Hans. You see he was an only child and before he was born his parents had hoped for years to have a child come and bless their home. When they did get pregnant the two would stay up late discussing possible names. Usually it was Hans’ mother who would bring the subject up. Asad, Hans’ father, would usually just settle down in front of the fireplace. The evening’s meal would be settling comfortably in his stomach and he’d begin to close his eyes. Maiwand, Hans’ mom, would watch for her husband’s charateristic “long blink” and purposefully interrupt to inspire a conversation. It wasn’t to be terribly rude, or mean, but it was her way of being playful—a sort of married people flirting if you will.
On a Thursday night Maiwand started in a gentle voice, “Dear, what do you think of Elihu if it’s a boy?”
More asleep than awake Asad would reply with a rehearsed “sure dear” and go back to “resting his eyes.”
She’d then follow it up with a much louder, “Well, it’s settled then. I don’t know why we didn’t just agree to it before now. I’m glad you agree dear. I’ve been thinking about it all day.”
The inflection in her voice got him to perk up and realize he hadn’t been answering a normal question.
“What-what? What’s that dear? What did you just trick me into agreeing to? I didn’t agree to catching a moonbeam in a jar again did I because it’s already on my list of things to do and I promise I’ll get to it after I finish all the other things you’ve tricked me into doing.”
He smiled back at her. He knew it was a game and between the two of them he didn’t mind playing the pawn.
“We were discussing what to name our first child dear, and you just agreed to Elihu if it’s a boy.”
The flirtatious conversation continued until she got him awake enough to see the spark behind his eyes. Although he recommended several other names she remained firm that he had agreed to Elihu until she was done talking about it, at which point she said, “I guess I can think about it some more. I’ll probably ask you about another name tomorrow.”
Night after night the two would banter back and forth like this. Oh and some of the names that Maiwand came up with were hilarious. She went a whole week with made up names that were really real names spelled backwards. For example one night she got Asad to agree to Retep which is Peter spelled backwards. Another night she got him to agree that if it was a girl they’d have to name it Yeti which wasn’t backwards for anything. It’s just a short name for the abominable snowman and not exactly the sort of name you’d want a daughter to walk around with.
Asad thought the Yeti suggestion was so terrible that he went out and got a boy puppy and named it Yeti. “There,” he said, “now it’s a boys name for sure, and you’re not going to name any of my kids after a dog.”
When Hans was born Yeti was nearly potty trained and for a few weeks there was an overlap of messes to clean up in the house. Oh, and how he got the name Hans you ask? Well, it was quite simple. When Asad handed the baby boy to Maiwand she was happy and terribly exhausted. Having a baby is the hardest work anyone can ever do. She looked at the baby’s face and said “He’s Hans.” What she thought she was saying was “He’s Handsome” but being as tired as she was it didn’t come out right.
She asked a few minutes later what Asad thought he should name him. “Honey, you just told me his name was Hans. Don’t tell me you’re going to go back on your word after all the times you wouldn’t let me go back on mine?”
She smiled. Yes between the two of them she didn’t mind playing the pawn.