Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Raising Denver Part 1: In a Name

My son's name has a history. His full name is Denver Justice Wilde and he likes to make sure you know his whole name whenever anyone asks. He knows a little bit about the history of his name too and if you ask him, he might tell you. He is named after a dear departed friend I considered to be a brother. He considered the same of me.

In Denver Jr.'s family, the first son of a first son's name had to be Denver. It was the family tradition and reached clear back into the family's roots in old France. So, it's safe to say that the city has nothing to do with it. For that matter, when this tradition started, the United States hadn't been born yet.

Denver Jr. looked so very forward to passing his name on to another generation one day. That was not to be. We lived in Henderson, Nevada when it happened. He worked and extra shift in a video store for a sick co-worker. I found out about it when I went to pick him up at 11pm.

"Sorry, I'm doing an extra shift. It's good money and the other guy is sick."

Fine by me, we could use the money since we were about to get a new apartment to officially start of our Las Vegas living and adventures. We called ourselves the DnD Brothers and we had big plans. I bought him three Mountain Dews and got him some change for the night shift and went back to his grandmother's house where we were staying.

That morning, his father woke me up and asked if I was supposed to be picking Denver up. I had expected a phone call to wake me at seven am sharp but that didn't happen. The only thing I remember was waking up at five a.m. with a strange feeling that I should get in the car. I dismissed it and went back to sleep.

Denver Sr. and I drove my car out to the video store. We could see the yellow tape cordoning off the parking lot and building from blocks away. Denver Sr. caught on right away, but I didn't. Denial? Hope springs eternal? I don't know. Maybe the thought was just too much to consider. It took me innocently asking an officer how long they would be questioning my brother before I was given the messsage.

"I'm sorry, sir, but you won't be taking him with you anywhere. He's gone."

Gone? I fell back against my car and felt reality pulling away from me. I couldn't believe it was even possible. I had just seen him before midnight.

Two thieves, high on drugs, robbed the store in the early morning hours. A man and a woman. I still know their names, but I won't waste space with them right now. Since I was one of the last people who saw him alive who knew him, I faced his killers in court for two years. I identified my brothers body for the State of Nevada. They rot in prison to this day.

Needless to say, the tradition broke, but I decided not to let it stay that way. I told Denver Sr. that I planned to start the tradition anew. True, it would not be of the same family "blood", but family none-the-less.

I had three daughters and earned a stepson before he came and my wife agreed that his name would be Denver Justice.

He made quite an entrance into our world, three months early, two pounds, lobster red and screaming with quite a set of lungs for his little size. I've seen all my children come into this world and each one had their own way of making their presence known. Denver's was the loudest.

That was just the hairline beginning of my adventures with this little man. Oh how I had no idea what I was in for.

No comments: