My daughter called my cell phone and "Elisa Ward" flashed across the screen. However, her last name has not been "Ward" since she married two years ago. Still, I cannot find it in me to change it to "Jaouni." Names matter.
There are valid reasons for keeping her name the same.
• I gave her life and for 22 of those years she was mine.
• People should know she is part of our family.
• If I were in an accident, those around would know to call numbers listed as "Ward" on my cell phone.
• It’s easy to remember.
Most, okay, all of these are selfish in nature. Changing one’s name does not negate their past. I can add "daughter" behind her name in my cell phone to alert emergency personnel. And if I say it enough, her new name will be easy to remember.
In fact, a new name can open a world of opportunities. In my daughter’s case, she does not have to share her name. In my Google search I found only one Elisa Jaouni, her — pretty cool. Her new name offers access to new ethnic food and language. And she moves up in the alphabet—something she wished for all through school.
However, change is hard, whether it is your daughter’s last name or an agriculture company name.
I turned off Edison Ave. in Chesterfield and took a second glance to my left. In all my years covering Missouri agriculture, a Monsanto sign stood at this location. How does a company like Monsanto just disappear? After all, a street — Monsanto Drive in Creve Coeur — is named because of it. But in less than a day a Bayer sign took its place, signaling the change in ownership of one of the state’s leading agriculture companies.
Walking down Central Avenue at Farm Progress Show, I came upon a brilliant, unique display complete with lounging areas and a veranda. This company was there to make a statement. The Corteva Agriscience display signaled the name change in the agriculture division of DowDupont as it progresses to becoming its own standalone company. The very next day, the Corteva sign appeared at the Pioneer tent on the farm show site, signaling new ownership of this seed brand.
No longer hearing names that left the agriculture space, remembering the ones that took their place will take some getting used to. For some, like Corteva, it may take a little phonetic training (kohr-'teh-vah), and a lot of practice.
Changes will continue in life and agriculture. It is inevitable. How we react is up to us. Do we push back and leave a last name on the cell phone for two years, or do we embrace it with hopes of great things to come? I guess it’s time to press "edit" on my phone.