… Whatever His Name Was
By Jeff Salter
It happens I have THREE connections to this ‘holiday’ of Columbus Day. But let me begin by thanking Jillian Chantal for listing the variant names of our holiday buddy: Cristoforo Columbo and Cristobal Colón.
Now, to my connections.
1. As a person with some blood from both the Choctaw and Seminole nations, I think a few of my ancestors would view Monday as an observance of “Invasion Day” rather than celebrating the first non-Viking European to set foot on soil or sand after traversing the Atlantic Ocean.
2. My big brother was born on Columbus Day and, had my mother known the timing (at that time) of her first child, she swears she would have named him Chris. But she didn’t.
3. I have a long-time friend – since grad school days – who was later a work colleague for about a quarter century. He was born in Puerto Rico and his last name is Colón. After doing some genealogy research in the 1980s, he told me he was a descendent of Cristobal Colón.
“Who’s that?” I naively replied.
“He’s the guy …”
“The discovery guy …”
“A program host on the Discovery Channel?”
“No, the guy who discovered America. You probably know him as Columbus.”
“You mean the 1492 guy?”
As you can tell, I was occasionally slow on the uptake in the 1980s.
And, as you may have guessed: I made up this dialog.
Actually, my friend Mr. Colón wrote a poem about being in the ancestral line of the explorer by that same name. I don’t know how conclusively he researched the genealogy, but I’ve always been satisfied that he’s a direct descendant.
If I can get him to read this column, perhaps he will comment one way or the other.