Still Daniel – Like in the Bible

My grandmother and my dad

It’s Thursday, but Norm is still on a break, and I’m sticking with my no-Norm-no-doors decision. I’d also like a break, so I thought I’d warm up some leftovers. Not leftover doors, but a post that ran back in the early days of this blog, when only a few of you were familiar with me. Like good leftovers, I’ve added a few fresh ingredients and tried to make it look like a complete meal.

This is from 2013, back when WordPress had a daily prompt. I normally ignored the prompt, but this one – “Say your name” – was compelling. It brought me to one of my favorite stories about one of my favorite people, my paternal grandmother.

Sita, as she was known to all her grandchildren, emigrated from Syria to the US right around 1900. Her education was obtained hands on while: raising eight children, starting a business, helping her community build a church and surviving challenges that would have emotionally crippled most people (you can read about that, here). Like many immigrants during that period, she insisted that her children learn to speak English, but she never quite mastered the language.

By the time I was born, my grandmother owned a small apartment building outside of Pittsburgh, PA and both my father and one of his sisters lived there. Between the two kids, they had four children: Melvin, Bonnie, my brother Bruce and finally, me, the youngest child of her youngest child. My grandmother thought that people should honor God in their lives, and the easiest way to do that would be to give your children biblical names. Thus , “Daniel, like in the Bible.” Dan, Daniel, Danny to a few highly respected relatives and friends, it’s been a good name. The Bible character I’m named after was a hero, and while I’m no hero, the name has held up to that image.

Let’s face it, Nimrod was a significant character in the Bible too, but I think I’m better off with Daniel. I have never not liked my first name. I am not fond of my middle name, and our family name, depending on who is using it, either has a silent ‘i’ or a silent ‘o’ but I’ve only briefly toyed with the idea of changing that.

When I was about 8 years old, my grandmother went on a short vacation to Atlantic City, NJ. She wanted to bring something back for the four grandchildren that were also her neighbors, and she decided to get us sweatshirts with our names on them. These were handed out on her return to three curious faces, those would be “Brut” “Barney” and “Melbin” spelled just the way we could all imagine her saying their names to the sweatshirt man.

Of course, when she told him my name, “Daniel,” she added “like in the Bible” as she always did which guaranteed the correct spelling. We were all made to wear our gifts, as a gesture of appreciation, but I had no problem with that. My brother says he was OK with ‘Brut’ but I’m guessing Barney was a bit miffed.

No doors, but I did borrow a few more of The Editor’s pictures to mix in with mine.


  1. I too was given a Biblical name – not sure that I live up to Ruth’s kindness in being such a good daughter-in-law to Naomi, but I’m certainly a loyal friend :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Once, when I was out of the room and voted in as Chair of the Christian Education Committee At our church, I was tasked with leading a Bible study in the Book of Ruth. She was a good woman and I like the name!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your Grandma Sita stories. Poor Bonnie indeed. Lol That’s a rich family history, Dan. I love your photos. What kind of bird is Snoopy? So pretty! And, is there a Woodstock as well or is it a single parent? Happy Thursday, doors or not. Mine has been a bumpy week. I’m ready for this train to pull into the Free48.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the sweatshirt story. I have friends who have an unusual last name that had a sexual connotation. Both of their sons legally changed their names when they got older and before they had children. :-) The Editor has skills. It is hard to capture a Cardinal and a rabbit and those are great shots. And, it’s a given, Miss Maddie looks beautiful and content. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Judy. I should use her photos more often, she gets some great ones. Out last name is just confusing to others. My ex-wife wanted to change it. I’m used to it, and no bad connotation that I’m aware of 😏

      Maddie and I just returned from our walk. I’m off today. Hoping to get on the roof before it rains.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think Sita would have been okay with my name. The sweatshirt, not so much. My shirt would say one of the many names I answer to when picking up takeout because no one can understand “Faith” – Dave, Fate, Amy, Fay and Sith are all possible options.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I could have known your Grandma Sita. I know I would have loved her. Great memory of the sweatshirts. Lol. What a wonderful family. I don’t see anything unusual about your family name, or how the name ‘Faith’ can be mispronounced.

    I knew a girl who married a guy whose last name was Crapps. They had a son. They named him……wait for it……Shoot. Yup. Shoot Crapps. Wow! Your name sounds so ordinary now, doesn’t it?!!

    LOVE the photo capturing the sprinkler. I think if the sun were at a slightly different angle you would’ve had a rainbow! Baby snoopy is precious as is the bunny backed by those beautiful flowers. Like those fog shots too and the cardinal. But Maddie is the best of the best, as always.

    Hope The Editor lets you share more of her photos. She takes great photos.

    Glad to see Globe-Trotting Granny is still booking it around the park. God bless her.

    With any luck you may get in some decent DIY time before the rain hits again today. I love rain, but this is getting tiresome.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. Shoot Crapps? My name is fine now 🙂

      Sita was a wonderful woman. Not “educated” but packed with wisdom gained through experience.

      The Editor has a very good eye for what would make a good photo. I will start sharing more of hers.

      I’ve been working on the roof since 8:00. Making good progress on little detail stuff that has to be done.


  6. Dan, this is such a great post–great photos, too! I always have to chuckle at the problems people create for spelling the simplest names. Whenever I tell people my name is Lois, they always come back with, “OK, L-O…..” Every darn time. You’re a good man, Daniel…like in the Bible. I like that.


    • Thanks Teagan. She was so sweet, and she loved us all so much. My wife got that baby bird (I don’t know how). I’m working on the garage again. Trying to avoid the rain.


  7. I love this story. My husband’s grandmother was the only survivor in her family of the Armenian Holocaust and made of tough stuff. She eventually migrated to America where she was “matched with another Armenian” and they raised 5 children. She never spoke English, but insisted that the children all learn. They all had Armenian names, but were called by their English translation. My MIL’s name is Vard, which translates to Rose. Can’t imagine having Vard printed on a sweatshirt, but Rose would look quite nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those people, particularly those women, were so strong and such great role models. I can’t come close to matching my grandmother, but that’s what she wanted. She wanted us to have a better life and she was willing to sacrifice for it.


  8. Nice post. I’m glad to hear stories of your grandmother and her name as well. In India, Sita is the beloved wife of Lord Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayana. She symbolizes purity, self-sacrifice, dedication and courage. So, you’re the Dan like in the Bible? Okay, I’ll reveal some secret of mine here. When I was born, my father named me Sheriyarjee. I know it’s tough to pronounce. But here’s how it is pronounced (Share-year-jee). The ‘jee’ factor makes it even worse for an 80s kid. Basically, the word jee is a mark of respect like. So a literal translation of Sheriyarjee would be Respected Sheriyar. Oh, the name Sheriyar means King. However, two days later my aunt came to know this and she didn’t approve of it. (Thank God). She found it very old-school and she decided that my name would be registered as Sharukh (a king’s face) and the jee factor was nowhere in the picture. My name is found in Persian scriptures and history. Shah Rukh is also a mythological bird in Iranian literature. The funny part is that I never liked the name Sheriyar after I heard the story from my mother but in a surprising twist my brother-in-law is Sheriyar. So, the name somehow stays in the family circle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like your name. Thanks for this story. It’s funny how these things come to be by tradition and prevailing opinions.

      Sita is Syrian for grandmother. Her name was Edna. We never knew her by anything other than Sita.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Always remember and never forget: a rose by any other name would still have thorns. Or something like that.

    Really a great piece; thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bought the bird house a few years ago. It’s designed to attract Blue Birds. It’s deep, but it has a wire ladder for chicks to climb up.

      Snoopy (we call her that cause she sits on the roof) just fills it to the top with grass and twigs. She brings in a pretty big pile of stuff, but has no interest in having a lower level. I empty it in the fall. She fills it in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. These were handed out on her return to three curious faces, those would be “Brut” “Barney” and “Melbin” spelled just the way we could all imagine her saying their names to the sweatshirt man.

    I worked with a guy whose last name was Shirley. A little genealogical work revealed that the family name was Chorley. But that is not what the clerk at Ellis Island heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this post! I wish I knew more about our family history. It seems to be a combination of distance from extended family while growing up, not actively telling family history around the table over the years, and a ridiculously poor memory once I was old enough to really try to learn. Your Grandmother Sita sounds like a remarkable woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was a remarkable woman. Sita is Syrian for grandmother. Her name was Edna, but I don’t ever remember anyone calling her that. I’ve written about her several times. I think of her often.


    • She does not. She doesn’t have anything by way of a social media things, and isn’t likely to start, However, I think I’ll drop in on her camera more often in the future. She has been at camera stuff a lot longer than I have, and she’s always had a good eye for what would make a nice image.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dan – great post and I think I love Sita – I hope you have lots of other similar family stories. Daniel is a great name … my little brother used to yell AyeAye around the local shops when he got lost = trying to find me! Hilary isn’t the easiest (and now of course I have to advise one L)… yet I’m fine with it – I think I’m pure English. I agree the Editor is pretty good with her photos …cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The Editor takes great shots. Lovely story about your grandma. I don’t think there are any Janets in the Bible. Such a shame – I’ll have to write the book of Janet. Happy Normless Thursday – it’ll be tough but we’ll get through it!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. LOL! I’m sure Barney was miffed at the time, but is hopefully laughing now. What a great story about your Grandmother.
    My Mother gave all 5 of us Biblical names. I gave my son one too both first and middle, but He-Man picked Baby Girl’s name since I named our first child. He didn’t pick a biblical first name and since that’s all he cared about I got to name her middle name, and I gave her two…both biblical. 😁
    Funny thing…fast forward many years and my Mother who is into our family genealogy calls me up and says,
    ” Guess what! Your Great, Great, Great Grandmother’s name was xxxx!” The same name of Baby Girl’s first name’s short version and what we actually call her. Nickname technically. It’s neat how that worked out. Fate? Who knows.

    I loved the misty morning shots, and the Bunny, and OH THE CARDINAL! We don’t have those here. I really would love to see and photograph one…just once. They’re gorgeous birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure Barney got over it. She was a lot older than I was, she must have understood. The Cardinals visit the yard every now and then. I haven’t seen them, but The Editor and our neighbor keep close tabs on them. I love the picture of him looking back.

      It’s funny with names. I think it’s cool how your hubs picked one that dates back in your family – you had a connection without trying.

      My grandmother’s name was Edna, but I only recall people calling her Sita (grandmother).

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Poor Barney!! It did make me laugh, though. Reminds me of stories of my husband’s maternal grandmother. There were some tough people of either sex then (and only two sexes!) They worked so hard that it makes me feel like a slacker to think about it.

    I managed to not do doors this week, but we’ll be back next week, fresher from having had the break.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. I.. have problems with Daniels. I do. I’m sorry. I mean, you’re great, my favorite one (The only one I like). I can’t even narrow the problem down. Drama. And see, you’re not drama at all. I dunno. Anyway, it’s a fine name. It’s suitable for young and grown, nice and traditional.
    We’re big on names here. It’s a thing. The Bible plays a heavy role in names in my family, and not his, isn’t that odd given our backgrounds?
    ANYWAY, my one grandmother called me Silly Annabelle and the other one called me Joey. They spoke perfect English, they both raised four kids, they both read a lot. I was lucky.

    I can’t get over the cardinal The Editor shot. Dang. I still haven’t caught one. The other day, there was a female in the lot at work, and I stood out there just a few feet from her while she pecked at whatever, and of course, I didn’t have my phone. If I’d had my phone, she would have flown off.

    Love the trees in the sunrise. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for making an exception for this Daniel. I usually go by Dan, and I get a little weirded-out by people who call me Daniel. I try to avoid drama and I despise drama at work, and in the Steelers – yes, talking about you LeVeon Bell.

      I haven’t even seen the Cardinal couple this year, but she got two nice pictures. I love the one where he’s looking back at her.

      I’ve always like the name Annabelle. I liked it because of “Annabelle Lee” – Tell those other Daniels to straighten up or I’ll come kick their butts.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Its great knowing our grandparents and the love they give us even though it may be slightly misguided, it remains precious because it is true to them. I wanted to chuckle with you again on “That lady”. It will ever be imprinted in my mind as my dog Mimi gives me the same looks like “Do you see this?” Dogs are precious. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You’re very fortunate to have had rain. We’ve had a couple of showers in just over two months.

    These stories are wonderful. My grandmother (I only knew one as the other died before I was born) was as English as I am, so something like this would never have happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. So glad I didn’t delete the old posts in my Inbox! I love your story, Dan. Your family’s story is like so many in this country. I relate to your grandmother, of course.
    I too was given some kind of biblical name. Eve would have been better than Evelyne if only my parents had anticipated my move to the States.
    Which I use when I order a coffee or anything at a counter:)

    Liked by 1 person

Add your thoughts or join the discussion. One relevant link is OK, more require moderation. Markdown is supported.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.