Where are Hugh?

Where are Hugh?

A California intern gets a lesson in back-country naming conventions
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Jul 01, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

About a year ago, our new intern, Dr. Emily Berryhill, showed up here in Lamesa, Texas. She likely never considered how different culture in West Texas would be compared to Tulare, Calif. When Emily shared the following story with me the morning after it happened, I laughed so hard, tears dribbled down my cheeks. I wish you could have seen the puzzled look on her face as she asked me if the following was common practice in Lamesa.

The rest of this story is penned by Emily herself. Picture in your mind a face ?lled with wonder as she told me a story that typi?es how people in this part of the sticks think:

Hugh's on first?

The story began where stories normally do—in the moment. This moment happened around 10 p.m. on a Friday night. A rusted-out Ford pulling a sandstorm-beaten two-horse trailer pulled into the clinic parking lot with a colicky horse.

The truck door creaked open and out stepped a man, probably in his late 60s, with a rather large belly supported by rather large pants and their required suspenders. He walked into the barn to meet Dr. Dustin, who was on call for the evening.

"I'm Hugh Davis," the man said jovially, with a strong West Texas drawl. "I'm here with the colicked horse."

Dr. Dustin looked up from his writing, clearly with a strange question on his lips, but he started asking about the state of the horse. Once the horse was in the stocks and the initial exam was done, curiosity finally won out and Dr. Dustin approached Hugh.

"Are you the same Hugh Davis that was here several days ago with another colicking horse?" Dustin asked.

"Oh no, son!" he chuckled. "That was Hugh W. Davis, 'W' for Walker. He's my brother."

Keep it in the family

After a minute, Hugh continued, "I'm Hugh L. Davis. 'L' for Lloyd. We got another brother named Hugh Q. Davis, 'Q' for Quincy. And our father was the original Hugh Davis!"

Dustin and I tried to control our expressions and choke down the laughter threatening to overtake us.

"Wow!" Dustin said. "So how'd that happen?"

Hugh replied matter-of-factly. "Well, son, I guess after one of us was born, Mother got tired and fed up and just decided she might as well make sure at least one of us came when she called!"

Eyes twinkling all around, Dustin, myself and Hugh No. 2 continued treating the colic.

A couple of hours later, our current Hugh creaked open his Ford door and heaved himself in for the drive home. As the headlights of the beaten-up trailer disappeared into the night, I finally had time to think about exactly what had transpired.

What could have possessed the wife and mother of four children to lump all her men together by name? Dressing your kids the same is one thing, but sticking them all with a single name? At least Mrs. Davis had enough creativity to come up with Walker, Lloyd and Quincy as middle names.

Perhaps the creativity was a little misplaced, or maybe I'm just not nearly smart enough to see her vision. In any case, I sure would have liked to meet her and have gotten the whole story behind the Brothers Hugh.

Some things you can't make up even if you tried.

Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.