hey hen

When I was first teaching my fifth graders used to call me Hen . I liked Hen .hen
A decade later a fellow teacher friend of mine began to call me Hen . We got to know one another during the nine day UTLA strike of 1989 ( ” Walk the Line in ’89 ) .

I don’t know anyone else who calls me Hen . The idea occurred to me to change my blog name from Hennessy to Hen . Nothing much more to it than that .

I can still hear those kids : ” Hey , Hen “. They probably thought it was cute and maybe a bit daring . It was daring with Sister Agnes around . I’ll tell you that much . One of the boys was chewed out by her for disrespect to a teacher for calling me Hen . I tried reasoning with her but , of course , got nowhere . I told her it was absolutely no disrespect to me to be called Hen by my students . A ” Hen” with respect was much better than a ” Mr. Hennessy ” with the opposite .

I’m not turning my back in any way from the Hennessy name . It’s a good quality name that has , I’ve noticed , gained some added respect due to the French cognac .

Yeah. Irish name but the cognac is French . That’s what I said .Irish epitaph

Years ago the Hennessy Cognac Company invited all the Hennessys in the Los Angeles area to a little shindig at a fancy restaurant in Beverly Hills called the Bistro . My brother and my mother and I all went . There were over a hundred people there .  Elegant  hors d’oeuvers were served and we were invited to taste , free of charge , all of their cognacs .

At some point in the proceedings the master-of-ceremonies stepped forward and made a little speech about how happy they were to host this great French family Hennessy . With the word “French” the room full of guests initiated a loud moaning grumbling protest . Immediately the French consul stepped forward and took over  . ” This great Irish family , ” he said , and everyone in the room cheered .” We are just so honored to have had you in our country for the last 350 years , ” he said , and everyone cheered again . The guy was a true diplomat .

The name Hennessy , actually , derives from the Gaelic ( anglicized here ) name Angus .  I forget the Gaelic spelling , which is much longer . Angus was a great king in ancient  times who fell in love with a beautiful woman . She had the odd habit of turning into a swan for months at a time , though , and she flew off . To put it mildly , the poor guy was upset . He recognized her , eventually , because one  swan in a flock flying overhead happened to be wearing  the same golden  necklace that Angus had given to the woman just before she had vanished . And one thing led to another , and so on and so forth , and they both lived happily ever after . She continued to transmorph , however  , but he learned to live with it . irish caricature (rude)

Aunt Mary used to tell that at some point in history Uncle James flew off to France and started making cognac . He must have been among the young Irishmen called the “Wild Geese” who left Ireland for other lands in earlier centuries. I guess you can take an Irishman out of Ireland , but you can’t take the Ireland out . Or , something like that .st pat 1 sham

Anyway , I’ll be Hen whenever I feel like it .  Or you can call me Angus . Call me anything you like , but don’t call me late for lunch .


Filed under humor

6 responses to “hey hen

  1. I’ll just bet that King Angus, after years of marriage to a sometime swan, eventually came to appreciate the vacations she afforded him. I mean, that gave him time to pour slabs and fix dishwashers and whatnot.

    And thanks for the info about Hennessy cognac. That was news to me. Like they say (whoever are they?), you learn something new every day; especially if you read Mr. H’s blog.

  2. Hey Hen – I like that. It’s one more letter than Hi Dan, but your writing is worth an extra character. Angus sounds a little to close to Agnes and I’m not sure you want to go there.

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