A number of people have asked us over the last month if there’s a story behind us naming our new little girl Indiana Boon. Yes actually, there is…
Indiana: My first reason for choosing the name is because of two of my favorite movies. No, neither one of them are about Indiana Jones. They’re “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” I don’t just like those movies, I’m crazy about them. I think both films embody small-town values that are nearly lost and also the power of ordinary people with extraordinary dreams. They moved me and inspired me when I first saw them, and they do the same each time I watch them now. Both films are set in Indiana. Besides that…if you look up Indiana, it means “land of Indians,”and Joey has lots of American Indian blood in her heritage, as do I, though the Irish in me is what’s visible most in the mirror. But honestly, the main reason we chose that name is because Joey is from Indiana. Alexandria, Indiana. She was born and raised in the same farmhouse where her mama still lives. Other than our house, where we live now… Indiana is where we call “home” when we make a trip home. I wrote the song below a few years ago about Joey’s childhood and how much it shaped her. When you ask her about growing up, she will quickly tell you that she had the greatest childhood and wouldn’t change a thing. I didn’t have that childhood. Most of me wishes I did. My mother struggled to raise five kids by herself on miscellaneous jobs, welfare, and food stamps… in trailers, and run-down houses in small towns and big cities. We lived in dozens of homes in nearly as many different states. Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Nebraska… Joey has roots that I will never have. They are firmly grounded in her faith and in the simple values she learned growing up in Indiana. I don’t have those things naturally, I have to work at them daily. But I do have wings that Joey never grew. My tattered wings take us places I, and we, never dreamed of. Together, Joey and I fly incredibly high, but still have roots that run deep in the vows we made to each other and God. We want that for Indiana and all of our children.
Boon: There is a small cemetery in the field behind our farmhouse. It is where Calvin and Sarah Hardison, who built our house back in the 1800s are buried. Some of their children are buried there also. One gravestone is for a four-year-old boy named Orlando B. Hardison. He died in 1862. When I bought this farm, the stone was already broken in half, laying pieces on the ground. On that stone is a poem written for their little boy. It is so beautiful. You can tell that it is hand-carved, partly because one of the words “pride” is misspelled “pried.” I love that. In the poem, they call him their “precious Boon.” We have no idea what happened to him or why he left this world so young. I would guess that he was born in our old farmhouse, or at least right here on this land. And to honor him and those who came before us, we gave our little girl the middle name “Boon.” Before Indy was born, actually right after we found out we were going to have a baby, we had decided that boy or girl, our child was going to be named “Indiana Boon.” The day she was born, I posted a picture online that had her name below it and I spelled her middle name Indiana Boone (with an e, like Daniel Boone, which I thought was correct). Joey reminded me that their little Boon, didn’t have an e, so she didn’t think ours should either. And so it doesn’t. I love that too.
“Beneath this stone in sweet repose
Is laid a father’s and mother’s dearest pried
A flower that scarce had wake to life
And light and beauty ere it died
God in his wisdom has recalled
The precious Boon his love had given
And though the casket moulders here
The gem is sparkling now in Heaven”