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This year August will have five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays. This is said to happen only once every 823 years. The Chinese call it "Silver Pockets Full" – oh, if only.

Denmark does consider August a lucky month, and at one time names like August and Augusta were given to their children because of it. My great Aunt Ellen had Augusta for a middle name, but she wanted no part of it. My mother, however, born on the last day of August, loved the Danish tradition.

What is a name? It is what we make of it. There is such a wide variety of names and spellings, I would guess it could drive teachers crazy at times. However strange as names may be, children seem to identify with their name as they grow up – it is all how you interpret it.

Some names are descriptive of what parents want for their children. Sometimes it is in honor of a relative, more than likely from out of the past. Some initials spell words of meaning, some even have just initials for names – both first and second, but predominately second. Some have a "trail" of names, which are hard to write in the tiny spaces on applications, legal papers and such. 

My cousin Rich honored his son, Michael, by naming him after his grandfathers. Fortunately the names were such that they sounded great together. Michael Paul Richard Charles is a respectable moniker. Rich’s girls were also “four-named” – Molly Elizabeth Robin Christine and Melinda Eve Rebecca Caron.

More mothers have begun to name her child with her maiden name. I think that is rather nice and serves the real purpose of names to let people know who you are – especially in a community of many Scandinavian names. There are hyphenated surnames, usually seen with separated families.

Sometimes names can turn out embarrassing, but perhaps those who possess them take them in stride.

Though I barely touched on understanding endeavors and happenings, it brought many thoughts to mind of famous names from our community or famous names duplicated. A stranger remarked about there being a "Dick Tracy," and it started a chorus of others who have "important" names like John Glenn, John Wayne, Willie Nelson, etc. And of course we can't forget Tracy Tracy; Tracy Utpadel, who married Scott Tracy, giving her the name Tracy Tracy.

If you look in the telephone book you can still be flabbergasted by the lists of names like Hanson, Smith, Johnson, Sorenson, Thompson, etc., especially if one lives in a community of Scandinavian heritage. It is surprising how many surnames have catapulted, and one wonders where they came from. Some have always been used, but with the growing population and the movement of families, other names pop up and are taking their share of space in the name category. All of a sudden it seems like you're reading a list of names and – surprise – they don't just end with "son" any more.

My mother remembers when a Vietnamese family moved to our area some years ago. When the family went to register for citizenship, not only did they give their children different names, they also added "son" to the end of their surname because they thought it was proper. The father’s reasoning was that his children would have a better opportunity with American names.

We have seen changes in first names, as well. Back in the early days, and still today, many children were named after a grandparent, mother, father, etc. We named our first daughter Krista, after her great grandmother. When my grandmother was born in Denmark, her parents named her Krista, and she went by that name for five years. Then her family moved to the United States and when she started school her teacher renamed her Christine, as she didn't want the children to have so-called "old country names." She thought they should have a new American name, and she went by that name for close to 95 years.

The child with an abnormal spelling of his or her name will likely spend their lifetime automatically spelling their name when making appointments or picking up prescriptions and such.

Will there ever come a day when people will be named by numbers, such as U2?

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Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, August 14: David & Carrie Paulson, Mark Sorenson, Lucille Nechanicky, Gretchen Oswald Thompson, Peter Kasper, Leah Berg, Wes Neidermeier, Alison & Chad Muilenburg

• Friday, August 15th: Roger Wayne, Obert Osmundson, Kaye Dee Hanson, Nancy Nelson, Stephanie Peterson, Rhonda Shelton, Cade Shelton, Brian Warnke, Dorrie Horan, Michael Suelter, Larry & Kathleen Jensen, Kellie Benning, Brian Warnke, Maverick Harold Knutson

• Saturday, August 16th: Kaven Dean Vanhal, Haley Deml, Alexander James Dufresne, Mary Lerberg, Shayla Ann Marie Pachoel, Julie Arnold, Wayne & Marie Dobberstein, Harold & Janice Jensen, Mark & Diana Sundwall, Jeff & Julie Schlei, Donny & Gail Turvold

• Sunday, August 17th: Cole Brody Thompson, Katie Klemmensen, Julie Osmundson, Luke Wiersma, Carol Nelson, Dillon Matthew Kubiatowicz, Abbey Beaber, Jackie DeVrient, Sonya Peterson, Cheryl Spurr, Steve Ladlie, Daniel Whelan, Rod & Cheryl Thompson, Tira & James Smith, Tina & Todd Wangen

• Monday, August 18th: Ron Johnson, Rick Johnson, John Ross Vermedahl, David Klocek, Michael Ingvaldson, Kelly Schmidt Janning, Connie Robertson, David Rietsema, Gary & Kathy Anderson, Ryan & Jill Hanson, Tamara & David Jepson, Simon & Arlean Lee

• Tuesday, August 19th: Daxter Carter Lee, Jason Langlie, Michelle Peterson, Jennifer Popiel, Cheri Krejci, Ruth Enzenauer, Cynthia Grubish, Lois Johnson Aitchison, David Cooper, Alyssa Kay Jensen, Larry & Karen Carlson, Jackie & Travis Olson, Andy & Julie Arnold, Larry & Mary Ellen Walton, Kayla & Patrick Krause

• Wednesday, August 20th: Dale Nelson, John Scrabeck, Tammy Bergland Techau, Andy Christensen, Diane Cleven, Delbert Karsjens, Jozie Annamarie Johnson, Kim Jensen, Jamie Nelson, Larry Pierce, Tianna & Joshua Kubicek

May your day be filled with everything you enjoy the most.

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