So we decided to stay in Port Hadlock with Devin’s parents for a couple of weeks to figure out the best way to continue with our Hunt. It’s not like there will always be bunches of blackberry bushes around to help us, after all!
Staying in Port Hadlock has been hard on Devin—his uncle Taren is SUCH a jerk! I’ll be glad when we leave, but I feel bad that Mrs. Sitka will be the one stuck with him when we go.
Enough about that, though. I promised to tell you how Barry chose his name!
See, what happened is this: Once we got back from the Hunt and replanted him in a nice roomy pot instead of that nasty old water bottle he’d been sitting in, he decided he really liked living in the human world.
He kept saying, “This is great, so great! I just know you made the right choice in bringing me with you! And soon I’ll grow the most delicious blackberries that you can imagine!”
After a while, we realized we needed an an actual name for him because “blackberry bush” is kind of long. Plus, it felt a little rude to keep calling him “it” all the time even though plants have really complicated reproduction strategies. (Some plants have male and female parts, some have just male or just female parts, and there are even some that have different generations that are male or female. I’m not going to go into the details because honestly, it’s super confusing anyway.)
I felt kind of bad about making him choose between “he” or “she” because there are a lot of humans who don’t want to be labeled one way or another, and I sure didn’t want to hurt Barry’s feelings if that’s how he felt about his gender, if you can even call it that when we're talking about a plant!
Luckily he didn’t care, and when I explained the problems with human language and how we're kind of stuck with “he” and “she” or "they," he said, "Oh, elf, that's just silly! So silly! Plants just choose what they want to be called and that's all there is to it!"
So whew! Crisis averted there! However, helping him choose a name was a totally different story!
Mel got online and started looking up popular boy names, but he hated most of them. “No, no, no, elf! That isn’t right,” he’d say. Sometimes he’d laugh. “Hahahhahah!” Whoever heard of a blackberry bush called Joshua? That just won’t do! It just won’t do at all!”
Trey is the one who suggested that we brainstorm names starting with “A” names, and then go through the alphabet. Andy, Aaron, Alex, Antone, and Albert were all no-gos so we moved on to the B names. “How about Bert, Bart, or Brad?” Marcus asked.
“No—he’s just sighing,” I said, translating for everyone.
“What about Benny or Benjamin?” Aleesha suggested.
“Oh, no! We’ll never find me a name,” the blackberry bush said. “This is terrible! Just terrible!”
I tried to reassure him. “We’ll find you a—”
Mel interrupted me. She had a huge grin on her face, and of course, Trey couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. “I got it!” she said. “I’ve got the perfect name!”
The blackberry bush slumped over and said, “It’s no use! It’s no use at all! Oh, don’t let her say it and get my hopes up!”
Of course, Mel couldn’t hear a word the blackberry bush said so she just blurted it out anyway. “Barry!”
“See! I told you! Didn’t I tell you? Oh, it’s no use—” he started to say.
“Wait! What was that? Did you say “Berry”? Is that a name? A real name? Berry is the perfect name for me! I love it! I love, love, love it! It’s perfect! It’s extra perfect! It’s super perfect! I knew we could do it! And of course she’s the one who figured it out! She’s so smart! She’s the smartest elf I ever met! She is! She really is!”
It took us a while to explain that “berry” and “Barry” were slightly different words. First we had to explain the human alphabet and how some words can sound the same but have different meanings. but he really didn't care...except that the conversation got him interested in learning the alphabet.
He can’t spell a thing, mind you, but he’s a rock star with letters now and has even learned the basics of typing. He tells us what he wants to write and we tell him what letters to press and when to add a space. The other day he spelled his name all by himself, too!
So there you have it—the story of how Barry got his name!