LEWIS D. CHANEY, the D stands for Dewayne, a variation on my father’s name David Wayne. Growing up, most my family and really close friends called me by my middle name. In the days before caller I.D. I could narrow down who was calling me by what they called me when asking to talk to me.
I hated my first name growing up. I didn’t feel like a “Lewis”, the skin of Dewayne fit just fine. I loved where it came from though, my grandfather, Lewis Elliot Chaney. He was a Lewis, a Lew…Pappy. Quick with a joke, lover of women and life, a creative, an artist, a leader who was able to make friends quickly.
He once told me “Take care of your name, it’s all you’ve got” meaning do the right things, be honorable so when people speak of you they do it well.
I imagine there are some who speak my name with a string of obscenities spewed venomously, but I believe far more don’t because I have worked hard to protect my name. As I began my professional career at 22, I learned to like the name Lewis…the sound when close friends who called me Lew…and the variation that was the result of a computer login that many adapted, LewChan. Some still call me that. It’s probably my favorite.
I like to think that when my name comes up, I am thought of as the person with the sense of humor who lifted them up; a creative who entertained; a leader who was able to make friends quickly. I hope I reflect the image of my grandfather’s name that he protected when mine is uttered. I hope to protect mine so someday, when I am part of the ethereal mist, when someone speaks of me to my kids that they can hold their heads high and be proud.
And I want them to protect their name.
Protect yours, it’s all you’ve got.